Starting Over

I’ve been playing with this idea of starting over. Six weeks ago my life flew apart. I had some decisions to make. Things were changing. Can you really start over at 44? Can I begin again with kids, exes and a truckload of baggage? While my kids ground me, they also anchor me to relationships that sometimes I’d rather not have. Mother-in-law.

So I’ve struggled with this idea of starting over. It terrifies me. I’ve been frozen in indecision. I suppose I could be looking at it like it’s freeing. I’ve tried, believe me. I would love to feel free instead of feel fearful.

So, after struggling for awhile I finally looked to my yoga practice. Yes, it should be simple and automatic to fall easily into my teachings. Some of them I do. I know to get on the mat. I know to listen deeply. I’ve learned to lean into the pain. I eat well, I dress comfortably, I believe in my body’s wisdom. And yet, I often find the need to  struggle, be uncomfortable, resist and wallow before I look deeply into my practice.In this way I accept my humanness.

So today while reading and meditating I remembered two things about the teachings. First, that yoga is transformation. Transformation is always happening. So while I may like the grand title of Starting Over this is no grand experience. Rather, we are constantly changing and transforming. Hollywood likes to glorify it, Think; Eat, Love, Pray, The Holiday, Pretty Woman, Sweet Home Alabama, even Gone With The Wind. Don’t we just love Scarlett, standing in the dregs, declaring that “tomorrow is another day.”? We believe in the power of the new day. We love thinking each of us has within our power to wake up and turn it around. We love to watch women struggle and turn their lives around. We love to feel good about it. We love the happy, feel good ending. What we don’t like to focus on is the fear.

The fear can be huge. The fear can be debilitating. The fear is uncomfortable, messy and yucky. Yoga has taught me that being messy is good. Not something just to tolerate, but something that we want to run into. Big thinkers like Seth Godin and Brene Brown remind me that messiness is where we’re productive, where we’re creative and we’re innovative. Am I going to change the world because I’m scared? Maybe. But undoubtedly I am innovative in my own life when I’m terrified.

So the answer? Am I Starting Over? I’m not completely sure. This I know.

I will survive this difficult time. I most likely will have a better life because of it. I will lean into the fear and feel the now of the moment, cause there’s nothing like fear to bring you into the present. Change is inevitable and constant. It’s the willingness and openness to do something different that connects us to our higher good.

Probably the biggest thing yoga has taught me is to do what I know. Every day that I feel lost or scared I know to meditate, to connect, to get on the mat. Every day that I sit in meditation, every day that I get on the mat I’m a little bit different. I come to the practice with beginner’s mind. With the same earnestness I approach transformation with beginner’s mind. So, I guess in a way I really am starting over.

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Right Now, I’m Okay.

I was checking my blog, from your point of view and reread the quote at the top of the page. Do not dwell in the past….oh, yeah. Do not dream of the future….oh, yeah. Be present….oh, yeah. It’s silly the things we forget, isn’t it. It’s silly how often I have to remind myself to just be present.

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So while I’ve felt this underlying thread of fear during the last month, I look around and I realize that actually in this moment I’m okay. The past few months have been scary for many reasons, the near future is scary because it’s an open road and that’s uncomfortable for me. But right now, as I sit on my messy bed with too much coffee eating my belly and my 7 year old playing Star Wars on the floor everything is okay. I don’t fear for my safety or my sanity in this moment. I’m not worried about what might happen in a few hours. I’m not even worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Thanks to good friends and family my immediate future is pretty secure.

Ask me about next month? I’m terrified. However, I can take a deep breath and come back to the moment. Right now I’m okay. The breath can only be in the present. Anytime I choose to practice focusing on the breath, I can only be right here, right now. Next month will come soon enough and if I can string together enough right here, right nows I can get to next month feeling okay. And when I get there that moment will be okay too.

So for right now, I’m okay.

A Month Later…

I thought I knew how my life was going. I thought I had a plan.  In a moment it changed. It shifted along a fault line when I packed a bag, called a friend and left, son in tow, in the middle of the night. It was a good choice in the moment. A necessary choice with tough fall out. So here I am. I’m 44. I just upended my life. I’m figuring it all out all over again. I’m scared. I’m also free.

It’s  been a tough month. I left with $21 in my wallet. I thought I had nowhere to go and didn’t know what I was going to do. But friends showed up. Friends took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Friends are still doing a lot for me. I was scared and feeling alone, stupid and embarrassed,.

Today, I’m feeling grateful. Today I’m still scared because I haven’t had a lot of open roads in my life. I got married young and while I don’t regret any of my life, I’ve spent a lot of it thinking about other people. Now, it’s time to think about me.

This lesson pops up for me over and over. I believe that your lessons keep poking you until you really get them. This time the lesson is pretty hard to ignore.

When my life has gone astray, as it has so often in the past five years, I examine what yoga has taught me.

Yoga has taught me to sit still, to be open, and to listen. The next step? I don’t know quite yet, but my experience and the experiences of so many before me says that the answer will come. I will know it by the flutter in my heart and the peace in my belly. It will resemble that feeling I have when I come to the mat, but it will come from an idea, a word, a thought.

Yoga has taught me self-care. It doesn’t come naturally, but yoga has taught me how precious my mind, body and spirit are, collectively and singularly. So laying on the couch indulging in Halloween candy and a Nikita marathon might seem attractive, but it’s not good self-care for me right now.  Self-care is a concept that eluded me for a long time. I was very used to seeing in black and white and the concept that sometimes walks and meditation and practice and herbal tea are good self-care and other days Nikita is called for was hard for me to accept.

But yoga has taught me to see the grays.

So once again I find my life in disarray and finally, I think the lesson is clear. I’ve lived my life too long for others. For spouse, kids, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents, friends.  Each time there was a detour I thought that I was making choices for me. Each time I was deluding myself. In all honestly, I’m not sure that I know how make choices just for me.

So it’s not pretty. It’s embarrassing that I find myself here again. I feel too old to be starting over and too old to be learning this lesson. Yoga has taught me to be human. I’m slowly learning what that means. I’m slowly allowing myself kindness for making mistakes and even making the same mistakes again and again. I’m actually listening to the words that I’ve been teaching for years. It’s about the journey. It’s about the choice I make in this moment and not necessarily where I end up with it. I’m letting go, opening up, accepting and loving.

It’s scary, but it’s freeing.