There's something cyclical afoot ... each June, as my birthday comes, I make a declaration that I'm going to make things very different. I put plans into motion, and set an intention to radically change my life... and each year, those radical plans end in "disaster" and "failing." Inevitably, I end up crawling back to my life, humbled.
This summer has been no different. Once again, I've repeated the quest that ended in failure.
I can't say that I feel royally defeated, because of the clarity I have about the imperative to have a certain quality of life, I haven't backed down on myself. In fact, I've picked up the pieces and quickly got back into my upstate swing of things. A year ago, heartbreak was the catalyst for a year long crisis of faith and, well, I totally gave up on me. I don't feel this same defeat right now. Just a bump in the path, a big crazy speed bump and a pot hole that literally dislodged some things.
I'm writing this post from Ananda Ashram. If you haven't been here before, the best way to describe it is... a yoga camp for spiritual seekers with a magical vibe and chillaxed atmosphere. I came here once before, last year just after hitting a large life sized pothole that left me broken. I wasn't really planning on coming here this weekend, in fact it was a spontaneous last minute decision ... literally, I booked this trip on Thursday night.
On Friday, I ended my harrowing week emotionally exhausted. Complaining to anyone who would hear, "I'm fried, I'm beat." I wasn't sure I was really up for coming here. I knew I 'd be surrounded by a bunch of yogi's getting their dose of hari krishna vibes and I wasn't entirely sure I was up for the woo woo chatter. So if I wasn't in the mood for the hippie dippie new ageness... why come here? Because I lead this choice with my heart rather than my mind, and my heart knew I needed a moment of retreat and renewal. To concede, I needed a good helping of what these people have... a little bit of crazy, and a bunch of answers to life's big questions.
The highlight of the weekend thus far, is the amount of quality time I'm having with older women. While I'm feeling immensely let down in my relationship with my mother... the universe has decided that I needed a bunch of wacky old ladies to share their wisdom, guidance, love and stories about their journey. While I've tried to keep to myself, the universe has made it a point to put this fabulous woman in my path. In my dorm room, I share dwelling with a woman who has experience great love and the loss of her great life love. At lunch I sat alone, thinking I would dine in silence, instead I was joined by a woman who insisted on sharing her journey of 40 years on the path. A lady sat with me and shared her vision of love for me, that she saw my struggle and advised me how to open my heart to possibility. On my way to yoga class in the afternoon, I met another woman who spoke honestly about her relationship with her daughter and gave me a rendition of her greatest lessons. At dinner I met a woman who is a spiritual therapist who shared her story of loss and renewal after Hurricane Irene. While writing this blog, two different women came to talk to me about their journey. All of these woman in their senior years have been imparting their wisdom, their openness, and their love upon me, some stranger. It's like they were put in my path to give me what I need, the love of an elder.
I don't feel like I've been filling the expansive hole left by not having a parent, but more like I met the right teachers I needed to meet this weekend. Lay women with life wisdom. The work hasn't been in the classroom, or on the cushion or the mat... but in the company of women who felt compelled to share bits of their journey with me.
So a few lessons I got from them:
- Expectations will never serve you, when you let go of your preferences, you'll enjoy life more fully.
- Meditation (quieting of the mind) is essential for mental and physical health.
- When you truly love yourself, you open your heart to possibility of being loved by others in all capacities.
- Everything and everyone you meet has a lesson for you. (one said everything happens for a reason but I don't totally prescribe to that philosophy. however, I like translating this as there are lessons to be learned and connections to be made with every human being on this earth)
- You can always start again. It's never too late to start over.
- The practice never ends, there are always new lessons to learn.
I still have one more day here, to chillax and enjoy the delicious vibes of this place, and for that I am grateful. The most important thing I need to take away from here is the value of taking good care of me, because when I do, I can feel like 'this'. Rested, refreshed and capable of showing up for my life. Honestly, it has been months (since my mom's stroke and maybe more) since I felt like I was showing up for myself. I deserve to be accountable to myself, I deserve to be well cared for by ... myself.