Archetypes, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, Dichotomies, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Facebook, Faith, Family, Fear, Health Issues, Higher Education, Jail, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, Nostalgia, privilage, PTSD, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

day one-the story behind my blog

I started my blog originally because I fancied myself a mildly talented non-fiction writer and I often am my most artistic during my darkest times.   The boyfriend I had at the time and myself named the original blog “New American Exile” as we both felt marginalized from American culture.  The blog went in conjunction with a zine we had started by the same name.  It fizzled out in one issue.  And that relationship got real abusive, real fast, and went down in flames more than fizzled.

I rose from the flames and wanted to bring back the blog because writing to me is so rhythmic, it helps me to notice all the details around me, to capture the face of a lover, to smell what only bloodhounds know of, to feel like a newborn baby.  It helps me to heal and to show others the rawness of human existence.  I started the blog under the name “fire or phoenix” in April of 2014 after I, the phoenix, had burst, once again, into metaphorical flames after ending a period of sustained sobriety.  My first entry:

i live in fear.  i live in confidence.  i chew the skin around my nails to shreds thinking about how i fucked it all up.  but we’ve all fucked it all up.  we are all fucking up together.  i’ve lost my words for months now and my yoga practice has fallen to the ditch where the beautiful wildflowers of summer grow, healing yarrow and miraculous dandelion.  there is much to be said for falling to the wayside with the wayside dwellers.  my life is not to overanalyze or to feel hurt by her or him but my life is to connect to others like misplaced branches of veins spurting blue and red blood because what is real is not gross.  what is felt is not wrong.  i am not here to feel sorry for myself and hate my existence because my thighs rub together.  whats really important, here.  whats really going on with my privilege.  whats most real right now is the rhythmic panting of my breath and steps as i run, run, run in no direction but simply closer to who i might be, who i really am, and the essence of us all.  today is the first and the last day, the beginning and the end.  today is god. 

This entry highlights my journey into trailrunning and my journey into recovery in which I allow myself to fuck up, to drink, to eat hamburgers.  I still find myself ashamed and embarrassed at my lack of self-control, but that is the old bird conceptualizing her life from a different space.  And so, as I constantly reinvent myself, I am a great many things.  I am the flames.  I am the bird.  I am.

“A mythical bird that never dies, the phoenix flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it. The phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration”.

Master Lam Kam Chuen.

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Mindfulness, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

yoga and the wounded healer

Coming back to the subject I’ve thought about over and over. My falling outs, meltdowns, burning of bridges, loss of friends, passing the point of no return, crossing the Rubicon, nailing my colors to the mast. I’ve dealt with some shit. I’ve caused some shit. Acute conflict felt from the edges of my heart into the corners of my soul.  I caught myself in a moment with another when I began to talk about this stuff. Eyes glazed over and the gaze becomes distant like trying to talk to my father right after work, staring at the coal dust in his eyes know he might not hear me through his own clouds and questions.

I’ve sometimes heard that being a leader comes with people you love hating you a little more each day. No matter what decision is made, there will be an angry soul who is convinced the devil is running the show. Then I wonder if it’s not just my silly little ego to call myself a leader to protect me from the thought that people really don’t like me. That I’ve been banned from spaces, from hearts.  Big, universal, hurt.

I also know it takes two to tango. Yoga attracts wounded people. Every person I talk to in yoga has come to the practice because of abuse, a crappy family life as a child, their own or others’ mental illness, social isolation, family life as an adult, bereavement, life-threatening physical illness and a whole wide gambit of crap. These wounded healers, these who take issue with me, have their own wounding experiences and two wounds don’t make a healer.

I wonder, too, at the lack of integration in yoga and search for the old souls, the professionals, the ones who have spent years letting it all sink in. Then I get caught up in teach more, achieve more, get more students, buy more leggings. What if we all took a class, sat on it for a few days. See what happens. Or what if we fight, let it runs its course, and tolerate the anxiety of growing together. What if we stop being ashamed at the way we treat each other, acknowledge our wounds and evolve toward greater cohesion and solidarity.

Instead of wondering when my soul became less human or less beautiful, I can wonder how another’s wound has affected vision and perception. And through the vulnerability of suffering and universiality maybe we can self-reflect, look outward, and meltdown in a way that leave puddles of our own gorgeous human essence.

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

T.S. Eliot “East Coker,” from *The Four Quartets*

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

there is good, there is evil

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.   I feel junior high spring dance insecure—hunched in the shoulders, standing in the corner of the gym in my socks with my pants too short and my pointy bra creating uncomfortable tic tacs in my silk shirt.  I look at others hoping they will notice me for me, and stick around for the anxiety of growing with me. But, as in junior high, I don’t know who I am.

I’ve had the same situation occur twice now—I have walked away or was asked to walk away from yoga studios for reasons that won’t matter in time and that I can’t understand because the discourse, the vulnerability, the connection is gone. There is no space for reconciling, and it’s not for me to convince anyone of my worth. If I’m not seen with compassion, I am not seen. But, I can’t separate that it’s somehow me being asked to step away from yoga.

Of course I have mommy and daddy issues. We all do. Families are hard. But there is space in the family to mess up, to do crummy things, to make a mistake in earnest because the love is there. The non-judgment is par for the course. The daddy issues run deep. I miss my deceased father more than words could ever express because he really accepted me. Anger, idiot moves, and all. I miss my mother too for who she was and for her letting me grow.

It comes down to the only thing I know—my experience. I know more and more I don’t know much but I came to yoga because I was accepted. I was allowed to sweat buckets, to cry, to suck at poses, to show up a few minutes late. I don’t think everything is love and light. There is dark space in the universe, there is dark space in my heart.

To teach what I know is all I can do. And the lessons I impart in yoga aren’t how to wrench your spine in a backbend, wrench your neck in a headstand, or tear your ligaments in eagle. It’s how to sit with yourself (the self you might hate, if you are anything like me) for a few minutes without running away from your body or your breath. I can teach how to sit with the shadows, how to let emotions circulate through the system.

I am driven by ego. I am driven by compassion. I am neither compassion nor ego, I just am.

 

 

“I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I am neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, there is evil, and here I am.”

Ram Dass