hearts don't break minds do. these words echo in my mind. i try to make sense if it - as if it were a puzzle that once solved it would give me some sort of satisfaction.
hearts don't break minds do. five simple words. i remember first hearing them at the boston yoga journal conference almost a year ago. i walked into a panel, late, took a seat near the back and just listened. matthew sanford, a man who's name i was not yet familiar with, uttered these words in response to something, which i of course cannot recall now. now when these particular words choose to hang on at the tip of my thoughts. i remember scrawling these words across one of the pages in my notebook when i heard them. finding a morose intrigue with the statement but it seemed important enough to make the attempt to come back to this thought later.
now, almost a year afterward, i am working my way through matthew sanford's book, waking - and i am perplexed as to why these words come to me now, why they won't stop calling to me, interrupting my day-dreaming. hearts don't break minds do. i keep repeating it to myself. i haven't looked at that page in my journal nor really thought about that statement since i wrote it down. i hadn't thought about it, until i started thinking about it.
these five words consume my thoughts for the entirety of my walk home from central square to inman. i let the words knock together in my mind and roll away only to have them spin back to the center of my attention. i speak quietly to myself "hearts don't break mind's do." i can't decide if i find comfort or sadness in the statement. i tuck my chin back into the collar of my coat and try to focus on navigating the icy sidewalks.
a moment later: "hearts don't break minds do" i mouth to myself. five simple words i think to myself and pick up my pace towards home.
as i sit here in between my click clicking on the keyboard, i alternate clutching a steaming cup of tea with honey, and a wadded up tissue. mmmm. post-holiday/snow-storm illness. it's almost a tradition with me - go home for christmas and more likely than not, i will end up either ill or otherwise unwell, ranging anywhere from a nasty case of the sniffles, to going to the ER for a tetanus shot because a stray cat scratched me and my hand ballooned up to the size of a grapefruit, to not once but twice getting the 24 hour flu on christmas day. there's just something about this holiday that always leaves me somewhat low on batteries.
although i would much rather be curled up snoozing with my kitties, i have some serious updating to do. a few months ago i wrote to you all about the price of happiness. it became quite clear that i needed to make some big changes in my life and from that point forth things have percolated under the surface. and now with the new year approaching i am very pleased to announce that i have begun taking the next steps to teaching on a more full time basis. (!!!) after soliciting advice from fellow yoga teachers, mentors, family and friends i have received such an amazing outpouring of support. to take a step back from a full time job and guaranteed paycheck to work for myself in what can only be described as a very transitory business was a scary decision but, at some point, you have to follow your heart. as i started to share this realization with other people, i was greeted with stories of similar plights, or words of admiration, advice, encouragement and above all joy. joy that i have found something that sustains me. to all of you fellow teachers, mentors, family and friends - thank you for that. even in the darkest moments when i struggle with the "what if's" of the future - your support and enthusiasm for my path has given me strength. thank you.
i have been very lucky to work out an arrangement with my full time job so that now i will be part time with flexible hours starting 1/3/11. though there are still a lot of things still up in the air - i am so looking forward to having more time to search for openings, to take class, and to really developing my home practice. (stay tuned for more on that).
wishing you all a happy rest of the year and here's to new and bright beginnings for 2011.
i caught myself getting sucked down into the void today. the void of darkness, where negative thoughts lie... just waiting to tear apart any shred of positive, self empowered thought to teeny tiny pieces.
if you have read my blog, you might recall that since grade school i have struggled with self esteem issues. so, it can be very easy for me, even as an adult (and even as a yoga practitioner/teacher) to revert to a place where if i see someone succeeding (especially in an arena that i desperately want to succeed at as well) i turn that person's success into my failure. my failure to not work quickly enough, or hard enough, or maybe i'm not strong or cool enough... or a multitude of any other reasons begin to fill the void; offering up possible shortcomings - giving me some sort of answer as to why i am not worthy of the success another is enjoying.
as i sat there watching my mind sink further into the void of darkness, one of my favorite sutras from patanjali popped into my head: 1.33 "by cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains it's undisturbed calmness."
delight in the virtuous. delight! not simmer away into a pool of black frothy jealousy and wonder "what's wrong with me?" so as i settled on my yoga mat for practice this evening i gave myself the intention of happiness. nothing more, just happiness. happiness for the moment, happiness for being where i am and doing what i am doing. though those black frothy feelings don't just disappear because i will them to - but by setting this seemingly simple intention, i was able to practice with a quiet mind and a smile on my face.
and i realized it's simple really: just focus on myself, what i can do, and my own happiness. - someone else being happy doesn't mean that they are taking that happiness away from me - thankfully, happiness is not a limited edition item, there is enough in the world for me to have some too.
we all have our parts to play and will get what we are meant to have. little by little all is coming...
i came across this poem yesterday that is one of my favorites. back when i was in high school, my mentor teacher, norm vandal said in one of my classes to "learn to love the questions." i remember having so much trouble wrapping my brain around that thought when he said it. i liked answers. i feared the unknown. i had a plan, and i was sticking to it! little did i know how much this piece of wisdom would shape who i eventually have become more than 7 years later. norm was the first person who told me that i would make an exceptional teacher and actually made me believe it, and for that, i am eternally grateful.
even though i always remembered what norm said in class that day (i recall him using me as his "teaching moment" to illustrate how so many of us rarely do love the questions. and he could read me like a book and knew how uncomfortable uncertainty made me - which of course embarrassed little high school me to no end) it wasn't until years later when i was in college, that i came across this rainer maria rilke quote that everything seemed to click. as i read it over, i realized how incredibly yogic it sounds.
"be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. live the questions now. perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - rainer maria rilke
i sense i will be weaving in a portion of this reading into one of my classes. in the meantime: i hope that this speaks to you.
you know, i think winter gets a tough wrap. don't get me wrong - i am the first person to admit that i cannot deal with the cold. like. can. not. deal. and yes, i realize i am originally from vermont -- but here's the thing: i was cold in vermont too! it's not like that magically means i should be out snowshoeing in shorts and a tank top with a huge smile on my face in 20 degree weather. no. i was cold there too. and this problem has only gotten worse as i have aged, as the years have passed by my ability to suffer the cold weather has decreased exponentially. my teeth chatter uncontrollably in 50 degree weather, much to the amusement of my friends. my bones feel as though they radiate ice. which can be really amusing for me if i happen to accidentally brush my hand across another person's skin. first they cringe in horror then they stare at me, amazed that someone who has such cold hands could possibly, indeed, still have a beating heart.
as many of us remember from grade school, winter is the time for hibernation. which can be both literal and figurative. making changes and cleaning out the cobwebs just seem easier to do in the spring. but, i've never been one to let a season keep me from doing some major overhaul on the layer of clutter that has seemed to collect in my physical, mental and spiritual body. as you may recall from one of my earlier blog postings, i don't even like to make new year's resolutions because, well why wait for a certain calendar day to make a change? so in that spirit i have started to attempt to clean out my life.
like old pairs of jeans, my relationships and decisions have been pulled out of the closet, and tried on to see if they still fit, if they still serve me the way i need them too. am i just keeping them because i hope one day to be the person that this fits? should i still hold onto something if it doesn't fit now? the process begins. and as i start to discard the things i no longer have use for. it has not been easy and obviously there are always things that i probably should toss in the "to go" pile - but just can't bring myself to yet.
and maybe that's okay. maybe right now the most important thing is to just start to ask the questions and just hope that every little bit counts. life is a process and nothing is going to change in one day. no matter how much you might want it to. so all i (or anyone) can do is take one step, one breath at a time and just continue to believe and hope.
over the past month i have been doing a lot of soul searching. i have been overworked, exhausted and sick on and off for the past month. beyond that, i have also been dealing with my two newly adopted cats having a variety of emergent problems which resulted in two trips to the animal emergency room and multiple follow up visits to vets and animal hospitals. needless to say, stressful situations have been permeating my day to days.
all of this stress has been balled up inside of me, pushed down and survived through - so i could stay afloat. so i could keep working 50-60 hour weeks. so i could always be where i needed to be when i needed to be there. always. needless to say, my body has reacted and it as not (as you may have guessed) in a positive way. i've been having some very troubling symptoms the last 10 days and after seeing a doctor yesterday have learned that the best case scenario is that it is all due to the stress i have been going through. worst case is... something i am not quite sure of and not quite prepared for but, they are running a bunch of tests and here's hoping things improve, otherwise a bunch more tests await.
my body has made it clear to me that what i am doing, over extending myself, is not going to fly. so here comes the part where i start to do some soul searching. things are the way they are, so how do i do something about it? decisions have been made and some sacrifices are to come, but i am remaining confident that although it may be scary and it may go against what my brain tells me is right, but this time - i have to trust my heart. things will fall into place if they are right. and though i cannot see the full picture right now, perhaps i am not meant to, it all comes down to this: what is ultimately going to bring me closer to my truest, fullest expression of myself?
details will be forthcoming when the time is right. though, if you'd care to have a more in depth conversation with me about any of this - feel free to leave me a message.
i will leave you with a few quotes from my dad in my last e-mail exchange with him that brought me very much comfort and i hope they will you as well.
"when everything is said and done, it will be the things we should have done, but did not that we will most regret, not the things we should not have done, but did."
and perhaps my new mantra: "what greater responsibility could you possibly have than to be happy."