Sunday, November 29, 2009

RIP - Pieces of Me

Rebuilding. I didn’t realize it would take so long to build a home with a good, solid foundation, but that’s what I have been doing for the past year – rebuilding from the ground up.
My old home shattered, fell apart, collapsed from a life storm, but it had slowly been crumbling over the years from many other life conditions. The hurricane swept my home away and took away everything I clung to, including my self-beliefs. This home could not simply be repaired; I could no longer live here safely and certainly not happily. All the mortar in the world wasn’t enough to fill these gaping holes in the foundation; it had to be torn down and rebuilt from the beginning.
Pieces of me scattered everywhere. Pieces I didn’t even know existed. Dark, ugly demonic-like pieces lay there claiming to be a piece of me. I couldn’t even pick them up and look at them. ‘No these pieces belonged to someone else, they belonged to the person who caused the storm in my home.’
But in the light of day, after the storm passed through and after the year it took for the dust to settle and clear, I could see that these pieces were indeed a part of me.I came to see that the dark storm lived inside these pieces and inside my home for most of my life. That these pieces were the cause of this destructive force.
And as I started to rebuild, these pieces just weren’t fitting in anymore, in fact they just kept hindering and delaying the rebuilding project making it extremely difficult to continue to build. I had to rid my home of these pieces of debris that caused my home to be weak and insecure even in the best of weather conditions.
A painful and arduous task to rid yourself of pieces that have been with you for so long, even if you have learned they are threatening your survival. They are a part of you, you believed them, you took comfort in them and they are so familiar after all these years that they feel right.
It feels like I am ripping pieces of my flesh away from my bones, reaching in and tearing out a living, breathing organ from inside of me causing me to want to hold on to them or else I will die. Yet this is exactly what needs to happen. A part of me must die, so that the healthy part can live … can thrive … can find peace.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Score 1 for the Devil

Why do we sabotage ourselves? We do things that we know that will hurt us or are not good for us, yet we do it anyway. Expecting a different outcome, but it is never a different outcome.
I put these ridiculous absolutes in my head that feed into my self-defeating story that if this person is doing this or if I see that, then it must mean I am (insert any self-defeating adjective here).

I use someone else’s behaviours to gauge how I feel about myself, rather than seeing it as something completely detached from me, nothing to do with me. And I rationally know this, but if it will feed my false self-beliefs, the self-defeating story of I am not good enough, special enough, loveable enough, I will believe it over rationale. And then I am on a role as I further feed my story with skewed perceptions of what I see or hear and make it mean something negative about me. “Oh my ex is still with that girl that he met just 2 months after we broke up, then I mustn’t be very special, I mustn’t have meant very much to him, he mustn’t have cared about me, she must be better than me” and on it goes….feeding the story, feeding the demons.
My wisdom and all the things I claim to believe and know about the human psyche goes out the window.

I claim to believe that we draw to us how we feel about ourselves, yet if I really believed that then that would negate my self-defeating story. I would see that he only drew to him exactly what he is, exactly what he always has. Someone that is codependent and insecure, someone that will tolerate being treated poorly.

I would believe that he just defaulted back to who he always was and how he has always been because he never did the hard work of facing his own demons, his shadows, rather he ran away like a coward and stayed in denial. If I believed what I claim to and believe what I know strongly enough then my self-defeating story would be squashed and I wouldn’t be tormented by my thoughts. I wouldn’t perceive his behaviours as proof of a negative self-belief. Yet I do. Thus, the demons have won this round.

The old stories and self-defeating beliefs are still winning. My inner demons are still stronger than my wiser, more evolved, esteemed self.

These demons need to be slain once and for all so I can LIVE.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. A time I usually look back on the year and reflect. Reflect on where I have been and where I am now. I'll start by saying that this birthday is better than last year's. Last year I was in a place of pain and confusion as I just ended a relationship with someone I adored. It ended suddenly, no time for falling out of love or getting tired of the person or arguing or not getting along. I felt alone, abandoned and heartbroken.

But the break up ended up being a catalyst for me in finding me. Leading me on a long and painful journey of healing as I began to realize where I was deeply wounded. A year of coming face-to-face with my shadow. Old wounds I had been carrying around unconsciously for my whole life and definitely what drew this person, this relationship to me in the first place.

I am very aware that it is my own wounds and ego that keep me stuck and holding on and that he was merely a mirror of my deep inner wounds. Wounds needing to see the light of day and be questioned and analyzed. An old story that needs to stop being told to myself. And, oh, did this person fit perfectly into my story. The break up fit into my story of “not good enough, special enough” even better. Yet he never said these things to me, in fact he adored me. All he did was be who he is: emotionally dysfunctional, codependent, insecure, fearful, cowardly and stuck. I am the one that made it mean something about me.

So, I guess I could say in the past year, where I have been is Hell. In my own dark, self-created hell. Where my shadow, my wounds, my fears, my insecurities, my obsessions and my codependency dwell. In hiding, yet were the silent but deadly drivers of my life.

Over the past year, I lost my relationship, lost my job, got rid of my car and moved across country. And where I am now is in a new home, a new car, new friends and in a new job that I love – teaching yoga. I am in a much lighter place, perhaps not Heaven or a place of peace yet, but I have escaped the captivity of my personal demons. I have the key in my hand to unlock this cage, now I just need to figure out how to use the key.

My ex wrote a very heart wrenching, soulful song when he escaped his substance addiction years before we met, called “Happy Birthday to me, I think I’m finally free”. My birthday wish is to be free of the deep hurt this relationship brought about in me.

Looking forward to my new journey this year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teach Me

What does being a teacher mean? Does a teacher have to be better than or know more than their students? Are teachers wiser and smarter people? More advanced human beings?

Even as a yoga teacher I have struggled with that question at times wondering if I am “advanced” enough to teach when I still struggle with some more challenging poses that may come easier to others, even if I can teach them well. If a student can get into and stay in headstand better than I or balance upside down on their arms when I cannot, can I then still be their teacher?

Yes I can, I realized. I believe a teacher is someone who guides you to find your own potential, challenges you to grow and ultimately guides you into your own self.

And I believe there are two types of teachers in general: those that inspire you and build you up and those that discourage you and tear you down. But both serve the same purpose: to guide you to you. To who you really are, to your authentic self. Both push you to grow and challenge you to reach your potential and find your own power within.

We can love and look up to those people in our lives that have encouraged us, recognized our potential and made us feel good about ourselves and we can despise or resent those people in our lives that have hurt us, broke us down and had us feeling like shit about ourselves … yet they are both catalysts for the same thing... bringing you closer to you.

A true teacher gives us the gift of ourselves.

And most times it is the hardest teacher – the ones we resent or despise - and the most painful lessons – the ones that hurt and bring us to our knees - that leads us down the right path. Our own path. Our true path. The path that leads us deep into ourselves where our gold is ... just waiting to shine.

There’s a Buddhist proverb that goes: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Know, that when you are going through difficult times that your teacher has indeed appeared. So pay attention, learn your lessons and you will be ready to claim your piece of gold.

Now I'm Gold

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy New Me

Just as today, November 1st, marked the New Year for the Celts: the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new cycle, today also marks an end of one cycle and a beginning of a new one for me.

One year ago today, I ended a relationship I really didn’t want to come to an end, but something inside of me told me something was unhealthy. His extra close relationship with his ex, although healthy in some aspects, seemed really unhealthy and bizarre in other aspects. And I knew it, felt it all along…but I tried to ignore it or allow his dysfunctional logic to override my own thoughts and feelings. Upon hearing that his ex was now sleeping over, so he could help her recover from cosmetic plastic surgery was the last straw.

Amongst the many other situations that I won’t bore you with, this was the two by four I needed to be hit over the head with. This is codependency, an unhealthy attachment, a non-letting go. I should have known there was codependency at play here, so I told myself as self punishment, after all he was an alcoholic and drug abuser for 20 years of his life and all during his marriage. She stayed with him through drama, selfish behavior, violent lifestyle, lies and whatever else goes on in those types of relationships. A part of him I had never known, but only heard about from him. It was only when he became sober, that she fell out of love with him and in love with another heavy drinker for 4 years. Yet she and her ex, my ex, kept on carrying on like a happy little family, or maybe for the first time as it may not have been so during their 16 year marriage.

Now living a platonic marriage? They would even celebrate each other's birthdays together and Mother's Day, Father's Day with their son, but still.... where is the separation in this scenario? Besides not sleeping together anymore or having "romantic feelings". Is it not just a platonic marriage now but still a marriage like, bizarre, unhealthy thing? No?! She even had a key to his place! And all the while she was living with another man and leaving him at home for these ex-husband excursions! So why did I not listen to my first instincts? I was so confused with my own thoughts and feelings (still am to this day). I suppose because I cared for him so much I pushed away my inner knowing. I should have listened to myself in the first place, continued the self punishing voice.

And this day marked my own descent into codependency, obsessive behavior and my own inner addict. A year where all my own deep, dormant wounds came to wake and wreak havoc with my life. Self-pitying, self-doubting and self-loathing. Along this dark, long, winding road I learned a lot about myself at an even deeper level than I had already explored. I seem to be low on self-value, self-respect, self-worth, self-trust. Why? Where did this come from and how has this affected my life? All these questions were answered through painful bouts of sadness and loneliness and immense inner turmoil. Old wounds, old beliefs and subsequent old patterns were exposed.

Dragged out of the comfort of darkness kicking and screaming into the harsh light of day. No longer able to hide and subtly control my life from an undetected place from deep within. Wounds and beliefs and patterns that now had to answer to these questions because they had nowhere to go anymore; their shelter had been exposed and demolished. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. I had to sit with them for a year, calm them, interrogate them and then embrace them and learn to love them.

So why did this happen? Why did this relationship, with this person whom I had such strong feelings for, such a pull towards and vice versa, end? Or happen at all? I conclude that it is because he had all the “right” qualities, wounds, dysfunctions to awaken my deep wounds. It was because he had some wonderful qualities that I adored and commonalities that we shared that drew me to him, but it turns out he had all the similar dysfunctional characteristics as the person who originally wounded me and lead me to create these false beliefs about myself in the first place ... so I learned through lots of deep, painful self-reflection.

And I realized I needed to be wounded in the same way so that I could process these dormant, life-stealing wounds with the awareness and wisdom of an adult mind. It’s like homeopathy; you need to be given the same poison such that a greater healing can occur. In retrospect, maybe I should thank my ex for setting me free … but I am not quite there in my healing yet. It is said that the people that hurt us the most are our greatest teachers.

My ex had all the key ingredients to unlock my self-created cage and set me free. Free of my wounds, free of my false self-beliefs, free of my self-created limitations.

Free to fly.

Let the New Year begin….