<—- I found this on Pinterest the other day. I absolutely love Pinterest and pin all sorts of things. Some snarky, some helpful, some yummy, some absurd. You can find me there if you want, but I have to warn you right here and now: not everything I post is yogic, not everything I post is healthy, and not everything I post is without controversy or the likelihood that it will piss you off. I am, however, the Yogini Outlaw and what you see is what you get. Anyway, back to the point…
I pinned that image to my board “What They Said,” and thought YEP, I AGREE WITH THIS TOTALLY! You see, my budget has been wildly overdrawn as of late. I suppose it’s more accurate to say that it had been. I am currently trying to get out of the red and in to the black. It’s a process and I have come to see, however, that the person writing the bad checks on my account wasn’t always who I thought it was.
I read this lovely piece today by the incredible Anna Guest- Jelley and was smacked right upside the head with a dose of reality. I haven’t been doing my morning pages. I haven’t been sitting as much in meditation as I know is good for me. I haven’t been spending as much time on my home mat as I know is helpful to me. This is a pattern with me. I start and maintain a lovely practice in all three of those areas for quite some time and then, somehow, for some reason, I start to let it slide. I forget. I skip it. I cut things short. I say, “Tomorrow.” What I realize is that it’s a circular pattern. I start when things are bad and write until things are good and then I stop. OR conversely, I start when things are good and then, when things take a downward turn, I decide I don’t want to look anymore and I stop. In typical yoga fashion, I have to go in both directions, don’t you know?
All of this rambling to get to the point. I know, a lot of words leading up, but remember the journey IS the destination, so stay with me. After reading Anna’s post today, I grabbed my journal and starting writing. I wrote about the feelings of failure I have for starting down the journaling path and then stopping. But then I realized something : it’s not failure because I keep coming back, I keep starting again. Okay then. I moved on to things I was worrying about. I realized that most of those things are tiny, insignificant problems and there are solutions to them all, so no need to worry. Alrighty, moving on…
But I didn’t want to move on. I hit a wall and I essentially wanted to plug my ears and close my eyes and start singing, “La-la-la-la-la! I cannot hear you! La-la-la-la-la-la! I cannot see you! La-la-la-la-la!” The big thing was waiting there, hiding somewhere between my fingers and my pen and I didn’t want to free it, didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to examine it. I had no choice, though. It was there, it was waiting and it wouldn’t go way.
I made the painful decision to forever exclude someone from my life a few months ago. Now, people do this all the time with friends, co-workers, acquaintances, hell, even spouses, but I chose to do it with a member of my family of origin. It had been a long time coming and the final straw came on Thanksgiving and the Ustrasana broke right in half. Enough. This person made almost zero deposits into my account and yet continually withdrew as much as they wanted without warning, without permission, without any thought to what it would do to me or my family. I bounce back and forth between saying it’s not their fault (this person has severe mental illness,) and saying it’s totally their fault (this person continually refuses to treat the illnesses and repeats the same hateful, hurtful,destructive patterns over again.) It doesn’t really matter, this issue of fault. Pain is pain and I had had enough, so as horrible and final and hurtful as it was, I cut the ties that bound us. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the part I didn’t want to look at. This isn’t the part that I was avoiding. THIS isn’t what I was hiding from.
What I didn’t want to face was my part in it all. Not anything that I might or might not have done (if you know anyone with severe and untreated mental illness, you know that there is nothing – ever – that you can do,) but I didn’t want to face my part in my feelings. It was so easy to just blame everything on the other person – the pain, but also the relief when it was gone. Today I faced the truth of it all – and it was ugly. The truth is that, when dealing with this person, I often did feel superior. I often did feel better than. I often did feel self-righteous and, at the same time, incredulous. I told you it was ugly. Far uglier, in fact, than the feelings of pain this person inflicted upon me. The relief I am feeling, I came to see this morning, isn’t the relief from this person’s actions, but relief from the pain of my own nasty, unyogic, unbalanced feelings.
I thought I was freeing myself from another person’s insanity. I was wrong. I was freeing myself from my own.
I have closed that account. No more checks will be written, no more debts to be had. When I think about the things that happened, I still feel pain. I still feel anger. I still even feel resentment. I might feel those things for a long time. It’s impossible to eradicate over 20 years of pain in a flash, but I believe it will start to fade, little by little, as the space between us grows, like a town blurs into the distance as you drive into the horizon. When the pain and the negative emotions arise, however, I’m starting to be able to let them come without putting my own ugliness on them. I don’t have to feel superior to survive the pain. I can simply feel it, acknowledge it, and move on. I can stop digging myself deeper into debt. I can start to, maybe eventually, see this person with compassion. I can hold firm to my boundaries. I can prevent myself from getting into the red again. I can forgive because forgiveness is not about the other person. As someone said, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” (I think it was Oprah, but she heard it from someone else, so I’ll stick to ‘someone who isn’t me.’) There is nothing that can be done to change what has happened and it’s very likely that, should I continue to let this person into my life, the future would never be any different than the past, but I can stop mourning what never was and start living in the moment, as things are, without the pain, without the ugliness. I can balance my emotional account, one journal, one look inside, one meditation,one deposit at a time.