The Long Journey Home Part 3:
The Beauty of the Process
Everything has a cycle; a beginning, a middle and an end. At the end of any cycle is a new beginning. It’s spring. It’s New England and as I write this, it’s snowing so there’s that. The fog across my brain has been lifted. The inflammation in my body has subsided. My energy is starting to return. My body is healing. I’m starting to smile more. I’m laughing. I’m enjoying teaching and I love being part of my yoga community. I’m dreaming, I’m looking at the future. I feel a little Sully starting to shine through… Most of all my sassiness is back. I know you’ve probably missed that most of all.
I have always been inspired by the cycles of things. This 3 part blog has been a metaphor for the simplicity of the sequence of things. The end of my LA Life, my shaky return home and now a hopeful new beginning. But then every small cycle is part of a larger cycle. This is has been for me the end of a long 7 year growth stage, maybe my Saturn return was late -I am always late for everything?!?!
When I left Boston 5 years ago, I was a different version of myself and as I return back to it, I have realized how much I have grown and how much I don’t fit back into my old life. Ironically, that’s one of the reasons why I left Norcal is because I didn’t fit into that life either. This has been a huge growth spurt but I’m starting to realize just how colossal it has been, as I return home.
I made a huge choice to leave Boston. I had everything I needed, a place that felt like home, great friends, a great city, the freedom to be a part of multiple yoga communities in my city – the only thing I didn’t have and finally realized that I actually wanted was…love. So I left it all behind for love. Well, you know how the saying goes, you throw a big rock, you get big waves. Well I’m still feeling the ripples over and over and over…moving to new cities, new yoga communities, new friends, new doctors, new chiropractor, new acupuncturist, new bodyworker, new mechanic, new place to get your coffee or acia bowls YUM! You get the point. …All big decisions have consequences, but this particular cycle feels like a big beat down. I have been down before. I’ve taken risks in my life, I do all of it alone, I’ve never been afraid to fail and I’m NOT going to start now.
When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I went to teenage dance at my local yacht club. I hadn’t been before but my older friend Bridget was going and she was like 13. I can even remember what I was wearing. Some white and blue flowered top and baby blue suede gauchos. They had a dance contest for couples. Bridget entered with a boy and I didn’t know anyone so I entered myself, I told Bridget, “I don’t need a partner, they’ll slow me down anyway.” LOL!! I danced “The Freak” by Chic by myself! The prize for the winners was $5 each. Don’t you know that I slid that $10 in my blue suede gaucho pocket that night cuz that’s how I roll. I don’t like rules. I roll by my own rules. I don’t like people who try to change me or try to control me. That won’t go over well – which is why my last relationship didn’t last. You can’t change other people, everybody has their own rhythm and their own growth process. We have to give them space to grow and expand their wings in their own time. I’m growing and expanding but in my own time without someone forcing me to because I wasn’t good enough the way I was or more emphatically they couldn’t control their own emotional state so they tried to control mine.
I have failed many other times in my life. I tore my ACL my junior year in high school right when I was getting recruited for basketball scholarships… and the ones I wanted were taken away one by one… I came down to the finals of the New York knick dancers and I froze. After a million girls and 16 auditions, I made it to the last 6 girls for the LA premiere in RENT and I choked. I couldn’t listen to that soundtrack for years! 525,600 reasons to ball my eyes out! And I was down but I got back up and fought even harder.
This particular cycle has left me broken and I’m still picking up the pieces. There’s a part of me that is still grieving my old life in Boston, my farm life that never came to be that would actually be a better fit now – how’s that for irony! I’m grieving my LA life and that got cut short. And I look at my whole life picture and I see my high school’s friends kids graduating from high school and I think what the hell have I been doing with my life?!?! At this moment, I don’t have that hope, zeal or chutzpah that I used to have, this is not to say that I won’t have it again but I just don’t have it right now. But I believe grieving is a necessary part of growth, you need it all; the anger, the regret, the denial, the reflection, the bargaining, the acceptance. It’s not what you’re feeling and thinking, it’s the healing that happens underneath the surface while you allow yourself to go through the process.
Grief is a multi-layered emotion that has many stages. No one can tell you how it’s going to go, no one can tell you when you’re done or should be done. I lost one of my best friends because she thought it was time to get over my ex, she said, “I don’t understand, you were the one who left, it has been long enough, it’s time to move on.” Some people hide, some people push down their feelings, some people jump to the next person… we all express ourselves differently than others. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. You can’t rush a process, any process. I would never rush anyone else’s and I won’t let anyone judge mine. As one of my friends says, I’ll never kick them out of my heart, but my energy is no longer available in that way that it once was.
I haven’t had time to address these particular emotional pieces of this last cycle of things because I have been healing physically in so many ways from the accident. Even the body has a cycle, what happens at the top of the spine is going to have a trickle down effect in the lower back, sacrum and pelvis, which I am experiencing now. Which is one of the beautiful things you do when you’re at the end of something; you reflect, you fantasize, you bargain, you regret, you get stronger because you are grieving.
So here I am back where I began. Southie. In 5 years, from Southie to Occidental, CA to Mill Valley, CA to San Rafael, CA to Los Angeles, CA to Beverly Hills, CA and now back to Southie. Cue “Moving on Up” from The Jefferson’s. I write from my place across the ocean, in the same apartment complex where my grandparents lived. This is where I began to grow up, so it makes sense that this is the place I come for solace, support and a place to call home…. For now :).
So I’m letting this all go now… old grudges, my ego, my false layer of tough Sully. I’m too fragile now and my heart is too open. I don’t want to go backwards. I have been through too much to go back. I have so many tools in my toolbox now and my daily practice has helped me to stay steady during all these challenging transitions.
So…I start again, alone and so much has changed that I wish didn’t, and so much hasn’t changed that I wish it had. I thought there would be a parade at Logan when I came home. It hasn’t been quite the homecoming that I had hoped for ... everybody is in their own process of things too. This is all very necessary on a larger scale because this is all part of a larger cycle that still has to play out. Not every cycle has a happy ending, the ones you learn from the most, usually don’t have the happy ending …yet. And the best part about it is that not only do you survive but you eventually thrive. Because that’s the cycle of things. Nothing stays the same.
The path of the yogi is a difficult but beautiful one. We grow, we inquire, we dive in, we take risks AND we are given the tools to help us along the way.
Yoga Sutras 1.3: Tada Drashtuh Svarupe Avasthanam,
“Then the seer abides in his own true nature.”
It means to me that you have to have the experience, you have to go through the process, you witness yourself growing and expanding. No matter how difficult the process is - you have to go through it because you wouldn’t have learned it any other way.
“When carving stone, the sculptor removes everything that is not the statue. […] The art of revealing beauty lies in removing what conceals it. So, too, Patanjali [in the Yoga Sutras] tells us that wholeness exists within us. Our work is to chisel away at everything that is not essence, not Self.”
You could do the same for your life. What has been your process? What have you been through? Where are you now? Does recognizing where you are in your process, does it give you permission to be a little more tender with yourself?
We are already whole. We are already complete. When you reveal the layers of humanness, the divine has been concealed. And our work is to peel away the layers of protection that cover up our divine true essence.
The most powerful healing we can do is to allow ourselves to experience all the stages, all the parts of the cycle, the memories we want to hold on to, the painful parts we want to change, because it will change in time. just being the witness, changes our relationship to it.
I can sing the songs from RENT now, I can watch the Celtic dancers, I can watch college basketball without wishing it was me, because the best is yet to come.
Cue. Frank Sinatra or The Freak and watch me whip, nae nae and do the cupid shuffle out of this blog...