There’s always a wound that makes you do the work you do.
Some pivot point in your life where you made a choice—or a choice was made for you—and your soul gets a wake up call. The work you do is an expression of the journey to healing you took for your own soul. Sometimes you don’t see it until many years later, but it’s always there.
As I am perpetually trying to refine my elevator speech, recently it’s become clear that the thread that runs through everything—from my approach to yoga, to how I mentor, to the books and articles I’ve written, to the workshops I facilitate—is embodied integrity.
There’s a reason for this.
A week after I turned 21, precocious and optimistic, I got married. Not even a year and a half later, I had an affair.
The simple story is that this was my subconscious’ way of obliterating once and for all a marriage that, though I dearly loved my husband, I was not sure I wanted to be in. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was a complex time with a multitude of complex reasonings and ramifications, and there is much I could say about all of this.
But what comes to the surface now for me is how horrified I was that I was capable of leading a double life. For 5 months I schemed, wove stories and looked people I loved in the eyes and told the fattest, meanest lies.
I remember the constant fear I wore as a hard layer of armor on my body. I remember how I felt like I was walking right on the lip of the deepest, blackest pit imaginable. I remember I lost a lot of weight.
But I remember very little else. My memory from this part of my life is shockingly vacant.
There’s a reason for that. I wasn’t at all in my body during this time. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel. To feel the heartbreak and fear of realizing my life as I knew it was a total illusion would have broken me entirely. To allow in the sweet and joyful and loving moments was to invite in a wave of shame and guilt. And so I just numbed. Everything.
And in numbing (as I know now—thanks in large part to Mandy Blake of embright.org), I lost my connection to all the resources available to someone who has embodied self-awareness. Namely intuition, courage, empathy, morality and the ability to attune to others and to respond to situations with greater flexibility.
I mention all of this now because in the last few weeks (which, might I just take a moment to say, have been knee-knockingly intense) I reconnected with someone who knew me during this time in my life. I haven’t talked to someone who knew me then (other than my family) for nearly 9 years, and I’ve never had the kinds of conversations about that time in my life like I have recently. Perhaps you can tell in my tone that it’s left me a bit stupefied. I feel both unmoored and profoundly located at the same time.
As I’ve been reminded of things I had no recollection of and of things that I tried for years to forget, I am struck by just how very much there is to feel in this life.
I am struck by how acutely one’s willingness to feel is what connects that person to what is true—in themselves, in another, in a situation.
I am struck by how the most seemingly lost moments of our lives are inherently filled with the answers we need and the next steps, even if only one at a time.
I am struck by the intimacy and vastness and interconnectedness of the world and by the heartbreaking way it seems to conspire in the favor of our wholeness.
I am struck by an immense wave of gratitude that I got the wake up call to come back to my body and for the mentors, guides and friends along the way who have taught me not only how to do so, but also the benefits of doing so.
And I am struck by a deepening commitment (not without fear) of living with even more embodiment and integrity.