There is something healing about finding and re-reading old pieces of writing. Present day me reaching a hand to the me who very much stood here once, and still does in some ways – although, ah, how changed!
How time allows for shifts and growth and expansion even when we fail to notice its subtle unfolding.
And so I thought I’d share here words I hold within my heart still; a memory, a diary, a journey tracing the darker depths as well as the golden heights.
For isn’t such a journey this very thing we call life?
When my thoughts feel muddled, my pen never fails to set me free. I am she and she is me, and this is her story.
The following post was written in January 2015.
You have to keep walking, no matter what. If you don't, it's a living death. You're just standing in one place dying. - Cheryl Strayed
I keep falling over during yoga.
During the gentle poses, during the tougher ones.
My balance is all out of whack. I swing between feeling angry at my body, angry at my mind, angry at the ideas I hold inside my heart that I’m constantly struggling to birth; and a deep, deep sadness.
I’m either cursing or crying as I stumble into each position, as I try to anchor my body to my breath.
During Reiki I am gently advised to water my roots; to let the tears fall. I welcome them, when they come.
As I join my hands together at my heart, I spy chipped nails, patterns creating tiny continents.
I wonder when I will begin to feel stronger. I struggle, but I remain on the mat.
I’d like to think I’m tenacious; that I’m fighting a good fight with anxiety. I’m slowly beginning to embrace the new.
But then, always, the soaring high into heaven, heart full of good intentions; the plunging down into hell, heart full of grief, frustration, bitterness.
I keep going, even though I’m tired. We all have to keep going, don’t we?
Even though we’re tired.
It’s as if my mind and body aren’t quite sure if we’ve reached breaking point yet. Should we dust ourselves off, resume warrior pose and breath on through? Or should we collapse on the mat, tears falling as our breath runs away with itself?
Between the two, back and forth, jealousy slips in, snaking her way around my ankles, snaking her way across and along my legs, wrapping around my torso, travelling towards my heart. Her cold, tight grasp, as she whispers
why me? Why not me? When. When. When.
Jealousy, wretched and ugly, seductive and sinful. Inking across my skin, slowly tattooing self-pity, fear, guilt, failure. One after the other, colouring in.
As I sink into extended child’s pose, I think of anxiety, my anxiety, stemming from me; persistently blocking my way towards the things my heart longs for the most.
I am frightened, but I want to work. I want to work so that my husband and I can begin building our home. I want to work so that one day we will be in a position to have children and raise our family. And I want to work, because I have potential, gifts to share, and so much to learn.
Looped, looped again, backwards, forwards. It always sounds the same, whichever way I play it. Slowly, quickly, it never changes.
I’ve trapped myself from within, and what if I can’t ever find my way out?
My intention is forgiveness.
My intention is freedom from past.
I watch others moving forwards and I feel love, admiration, hope. Twinges of jealousy, waves of guilt. People who have fought similar battles and who have managed to march on, conquering certain fears one at a time. I look forward and I look back, and I feel inches from my starting line.
I descend into a forward fold, hands grazing the mat.
The guilt, the guilt at not being able to see. Because I know change falls to me. I feel my way blindly and still, and still, I stand here.
I lack the tools – do I? I search,
not long walks,
not self esteem,
not goal setting,
not avoiding avoidance,
not talking therapy,
neither the doctor,
nor the psychiatrist,
nor the psychologist,
At other times, not yet,
pulling me forwards into the next pose, the next breath, the next stretch, the next footstep.
As I lengthen into mountain pose, I wonder why I’m still breathing.
Why I’m still making a conscious effort to breath into every movement.
Surely I can think my fear away?
Surely if I want it badly enough?
You say nothing stays the same and I need to be brave, but behaviour patterns, thought patterns, seem burned into my skin – every fibre of my being afraid – and I am still here. Jabbering on, same sentences reworked and desperate, my very own Groundhog Day, parroting what came before.
And I must love ‘yet’, because she sings a song graced with promise, perhaps.
Unsteady, tenuous balance. I create space. A little more room, for kindness, compassion. For tenacity.
When I am finished, I roll my mat, rest it against the wall. I will return tomorrow, and I will move body and mind forwards through tender moments of stillness. I must take steps, however small.
Even if only the length of a yoga mat.
Because, yet -
perhaps, this mat, the longest journey of all.
- 22nd January 2015