Note: these are all Shivanautical epiphanies.
Which means? That I came to each of these understandings after doing some Dance of Shiva (bizarre yoga-related brain training that makes neural connections and generally results in you being aware of all sorts of crazy stuff you hadn’t realized before).
The other bit worth mentioning is this:
The thing with epiphanies is that they tend to seem painfully obvious once they’ve landed. So it’s not so much the information they give you as the experience of getting it in a visceral head-to-toe-tingly way.
This is about five and a half years ago. Just before I started my business.
I’d been through some pretty hellish stuff and I’d gotten past the scary and past the numb and now I was mad.
Really mad. At everything.
At … oh, the general fist-shakingly exasperating unfairness of the world in general and, mostly, especially, my world in particular. Among other things:
- The ear infection from hell that nearly killed me — and put me out of commission for the exact amount of time that was supposed to be my “finding a job so I don’t starve to death” time. Like my body had betrayed me.
- Being an unwelcome guest in an unheated semi-squat in East Berlin with a high-maintenance obsessive-compulsive drag king in the middle of winter in a neighborhood full of nazis may have its charm when you’re not deathly ill.
it wasn’t really all that much funall my stuff about not having safety and broken promises and not having a home outside of my head … was being reinforced.
- My broken heart. Betrayal betrayal betrayal betrayal.
- A heart I broke that did not deserve to be broken. Betrayal betrayal betrayal betrayal. With a side dish of agonizing shame.
- The asshat owner of the yoga studio in Israel where I’d been a teacher for the previous six months. The one who didn’t pay me for that entire time, and then decided to pay me less than half of what he’d promised.
Notice that at this point I hadn’t even gotten around to being mad about the crazy sexual harassment, that’s how pissed off I was about the money.
And the betrayal.
I’d left the bar world for the yoga world specifically in order to avoid being around people like that anymore and it turned out to be the same world: the unsafe one, full of people who’d screw you over to save on cabfare.
- The people who didn’t take me in when I lost my job and my apartment.
- The people who did and whose friendships I lost.
- My ex-husband.
- The numb of all that pain.
And that’s just the start.
I was so mad there was nothing I could do but dance.
After all, Shiva’s dance was sometimes called the Dance of Anger. And I had a lot of that to dance about.
Including my anger at the Dance of Shiva for a) being so damn hard, b) making me feel stupid by not being able to do it well, c) bringing realizations that seemed obvious in retrospect.
And that’s when the hot buttered epiphanies started flying.
The hot buttered epiphanies:
Insight #1: the patterns are all right there.
Whoah. There’s a theme to all this.
This betrayal thing is a narrative. The motif.
If I were watching a film about me I would want to shoot the director for making the symbolism so damn obvious that I can’t stop tripping over it.
Insight #2: the pattern behind the pattern.
Except THAT’S not the pattern. The real pattern at play is me seeing themes of betrayal everywhere and believing the truth of them.
The actual pattern is the perception of the pattern. The actual pattern is my ingrained belief that this is my only reality.
Insight #3: It’s all the same stuff.
All my exes? More or less the same person, if you’re just looking at my perception of how I get treated in life.
All my bosses? Not just the same person but kind of the same as all my exes.
And all my experiences have been reinforcing the same patterns of what is familiar.
Insights #4 – 8: What? What?! What!
What if I altered what was familiar?!
What if things can change?
What if I also found complementary patterns in my life? In other words, things that don’t suck that are going on simultaneously on a parallel course, along with all the hard.
What if noticing the good didn’t necessarily mean negating the pain of the first set of patterns?
What if it was all just additional information that expanded both my brain and my experience? What if my inner and outer world could talk to each other?
Insight #9: People are kind.
Or: there are kind people.
Like the friend I made who decided to help me before any of the yoga studios in Berlin would work with me.
He’d squatted an electric company building right after the Berlin wall had come down, and turned it into a beautiful nursery school. And he let me teach yoga and Dance of Shiva classes there without charging me for the space.
And when that fell through, he and his wife found another space and brought me in, again without accepting money.
All that without knowing anything other than that I needed support.
Insight #10: Support takes many forms.
Even when your perception of the world based on your experience is that there is no support, there is still support.
Insight #11: The job of my anger is to keep me from being sad.
Wait. All this anger is covering up a ton of sadness and loss. And fear of experiencing it again. But mostly sadness.
And I promised you half an insight too.
It’s only a half because it was… just an inkling.
Nothing I could put into words. In fact, I’m still not sure if I can. But it’s something like…
Commit to a mission and stuff starts to happen.
And it was a start.
Why I wrote this.
But because there are so many things we know and don’t realize. So many times when the pieces come together and you go oh.
And there is something about the oh that changes everything that happens next.
I guess I wanted to share some of the sense of that whole-body-perception. That lovely crackling sound of possibility.
And to plant some hope.
Because the thing you want (whatever that is or means for you) may not happen overnight, but getting ready to feel comfortable about getting there can happen more quickly than you’d think.
In those times of pain, it was yoga that kept me sane, and Shiva Nata that gave me the understandings I needed to learn whatever needed to be learned from.
So I could get from where I was to the next understanding.
Lots I could say about that. But mainly:
A lot of things are possible. More than your monsters and your walls know. And even with the loudest monsters and the tallest walls, there’s always an opening. In fact, there are all sorts of openings.
And … comment zen for today.
We all have stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We try to not step on each other’s stuff.