To whom it may concern,
Your life may feel strange today, perhaps it has for the last several days…or for as many days as you can recount. And yet, you only know it’s strange because you have seen days, felt days that were better. You’ve spent a day laying in the sun, watching the waves crash on the beach and knew that life was good. Breathing was easy because there were no invisible worries hovering over your shoulder as there seem to be now.
Do you remember that feeling? The weightlessness of happiness?
Can you write me three paragraphs about it?
Can you stop there or are you drawn to keep going, to make that reality feel as tangible as possible?
I am no expert, but I believe it is our job here on Earth is to know that feeling, which we likely remember from adolescence not adulthood, and make reality feel that way as much as possible.
This is why I practice yoga. When I flow, and create this energy within me, I feel the joy and freedom of a child playing in the backyard. I am 8 years old, the dogs are playing in the yard with me, and my dolls are sitting neatly on the stone steps of our garden. In these memories, my father is walking back and forth from the church, popping in to say hey to me on his way. My mom pokes her head into the family room window every few moments, looking over the backyard at her youngest daughter. In each of these perfect moments I create, I am alone. Surrounded by love, but physically by myself. Safety encircling me, while I build relationships with the four legged creatures and my imaginary friends. No one around me is there to criticize or cast judgement.
As an adult, this has served me. Physically, I have been transient. I have moved from Maine to North Carolina, to Georgia, to Pennsylvania…home has never been a place, rather a feeling of safety and comfort. I lost this for a time, while we lived in Atlanta. I was trying to scrape together a life of happiness and fullness without harvesting my inner-fields. In time, I have learned to build my nest, to play outside with the dogs even as an adult, but I have also built my tribe. I no longer feel alone, even by myself. I am encircled with love from all directions – a best friend in Denver, another in New Hampshire, and more in Georgia, Florida, Maine, Kentucky, California, Texas, Massachusetts….have I forgotten anyone else? I know no matter how great I fall, I will be caught and loved with tenderness by the universe and the beautiful friendships I’ve built into my life.
In the months of wedding planning, I have strayed from this mindful path and struggled to commit my body to the physical practice of yoga in the way I am used to. Today, I was awakened by the universe once again, and reminded of the work I am supposed to be doing. My written word, while natural to me and unnecessary to some, has reached others that are desperate to connect, to find a voice, to build their universe.
I woke up this morning, desperate to stay in bed, to continue the weekend despite the day of the week. I’m sick, I thought. I should stay home, sleep one more day, maybe finish the laundry and clean more. I check the time, 7:17 AM. Oh, I am meeting that guy for coffee this morning. Shoot, just another thing I’d have to cancel.
So I got up, and I showed up, unsure of what this coffee encounter would hold. We both participated in an online curriculum, and he’d found me through that network.He’d reached out, and asked if we could talk about life and work. We’re the only two alums in the city of Pittsburgh, and he was looking for the kind of deep conversation this program had instilled in us. I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to offer. I assumed he wanted career advice, and I didn’t know what I’d offer.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. He’s read my blog, and connected with some of the things I’ve written and shared. He’s been battling his own mind, depressed and unsure as he finds himself immersed in family chaos, and routine at work. He’s desperate for relief, and by sitting together for an hour this morning, we both found some I believe. I was reminded about the things in my life that make me feel alive: My family, my yogic journey, my conscious connection to the universal energies around us, my spirituality and faith, and most importantly, my writing.
“I’m too young to have struggled with depression and mental health for as long as I have,” I told him, “but I have a wealth of knowledge I would love to share.”
And suddenly I could breathe a little more.