It’s about to get heavy. Time for some real talk. The terrain of the inner world is rocky, mountainous, and at times, treacherous, though incomparably beautiful in its vastness.
I have lived through sexual trauma almost my entire life. For a long time I pushed it out of my mind, denying that my anger and depression had anything to do with suppressing the emotions associated with those experiences. That quickly changed when I started deepening spiritually and opening up to myself. I’ve intentionally gone into the darkness, though recently I’ve felt an even greater expanse open up into my mysterious inner world. It’s allowed for what’s been festering deep within to bubble up to the top. It’s allowed memories to resurface and in some ways, re-experienced. The first time this happened to a significant extent, was at a 10-day silent retreat. On the 8th day, I remembered one very specific occasion of being sexually assaulted as a teenager. It flew out of my consciousness like a ton of bricks and I was overcome by complete grief, that I had never allowed myself to go through. I scream-cried in the dormitory where we had all taken a vow of silence. This was the beginning of my more serious meditation practice, and at the time I lacked the skills to deal with that experience with, well let’s just say grace. Once my meditation practice became more consistent and intentional, I dug up more from those dark depths about my youth. Damn. At first, it was horrible. I was horrified. I was sad, and angry. I felt worthless, ashamed, and faithless. I did not feel connected to anyone or anything, including myself. It was a time of darkness in my life, wherein I learned the importance of patience and kindness to oneself in those times that necessitate reflection and respite. Those old wounds just ripping open have been at times paralyzing, painful, and illuminating. It’s a necessary part of the practice to dig this crap up; to face your demons with equanimity, to diminish their power and hold on you. It’s an unavoidable piece that these things come up, but as a wise friend often says of this dark side of yoga: once something is seen, it is changed. So, while there are times I feel re-traumatized and I go through a great, wild emotional upheaval, there are other times (increasing in frequency) that I find peace, compassion, and acceptance. My observation has changed me. It’s a work in progress, and there are many hiccups along the way, but I really am proud of the work I have done.
The pain from my experiences manifests in a lot of ways that I am more aware of all the time, from anger and rage to deep depression. But, I think what’s even more important than how I feel because of those issues and scars, is what’s come of looking at and trying to move through them. Even though I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, and how to harness the pain in constructive ways, I know now the kind of strength, determination, positivity, and compassion I can exude. I’ve watched myself have one realization after another relating to this heaviness, and my longing to let it go. I’ve seen the growth that’s taken place, and it’s motivated me to keep going. It’s inspired me to see what i’ve gained and how I’ve grown. When I look back on those experiences, I cringe less or not at all. I don’t fear that part of my past anymore. I look at it with compassion and an understanding that I am ready to release that pain. What a gift!
It’s naive to believe that there is an end to this work. It’s audacious to think that one has it all figured out. I’m guilty of catching myself in those traps at times, my ego inflated and dancing ‘round like some wacky inflatable tube man. I now feel an increased sense of self and strength that I repeatedly channel into my intention to approach my healing journey with love, acceptance, and awareness. I know that I need to be patient, persistence, and kind to myself. I know that self-love and acceptance is a big part of my healing. I see myself, now in this moment, wisdom and heart intact. It’s in these moments where inspiration is guided by the heart, where the intention goes from being about my own healing to being about that of all the people who have dealt with these issues. It’s important to know that there are other people who are going through the motions of healing, the ebb and flow that meanders between optimism and hope, and a feeling of failure or distrust. Regardless of whether or not one needs healing on a sexual level, the acknowledgment that YOU ARE NOT ALONE is a very important thing to know and feel. It was important for me to know that there were people who had healed, who had learned about themselves and grown in huge ways. I have been inspired by people who have fearlessly, yet receptively, looked within; their movement infused, imbued with confidence and determination. It’s the authenticity of wanting change for oneself, not to prove of ones worth or importance, but to create a space of safety and healing within themselves so they don’t have to carry around that weight anymore. It’s the desire to feel better. To grow. To help and inspire others. I see it ALL AROUND ME. I am grateful and lucky to be around a community of people who work to improve themselves, in a variety of ways. I am endlessly inspired by what I see around me, and it has infected me. It’s strengthened me. It’s given me a sense of belonging that has allowed me to feel supported on my journey. It has inspired me to see my own divinity. It’s given me a reason to stop feeling like shit — to stop falling under that spell that tells me there’s something wrong, and I’ll never get better. If there’s something I could go back and tell myself, it would be this: There is nothing wrong with you. There were things that happened, perhaps even things that you did, that you look back on now and feel anger, rage, disgust, and sadness over. That is OK. But you are not those emotions, nor do you have to carry them around, or wear them like a badge. You are not the bad things that happened to you. You are not your scars, though I know you feel their weight. Keep doing the best you can. Be gentle on yourself, kind to yourself. Seek refuge in nature. Be with people who make you feel like you are whole, happy, and supported. Do things that feed your soul. Listen to music that moves you. Eat food that warms you. Be honest and authentic. Don’t mask your frustration, your pain with even more suffering. Release what is no longer necessary for you to hold on to. Learn about yourself. Remember, that you are always a beginner, and there is no rush to be more than that. You already contain all of the wisdom of the stardust you’re made up of, so let yourself feel your awesomeness. Give yourself permission to relax, to feel good, and to sleep in. Do not ever feel ashamed. I’m proud of you. I love you.
It is my deep and heartfelt wish that you may find peace.
I set the intention that I will move with awareness through the jungle of my mind, harnessing potential and personal power through equanimity, patience, and persistence. I set the intention to think, speak, and act with mindful compassion, from the heart. I set the intention to be authentic, and engage in thoughtful, supportive, and joyful connections.