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ZOMBIES AND OTHER GATEKEEPERS

Very often I feel depressed. It is not a very happy thing to confess. I wonder why there is a wave of shame as I say this. Even as a child, when tears would come, (and they came very often), I was ridiculed by them. Somehow crying and feeling miserable made others miserable too. But stronger than shame are those deep feelings of sadness that seem to rob life away from me. They come and hijack my desire to do, to move, to create. When energy to live life in its full velocity and intensity is down, the word that comes to me as a name for it is depression. It is a scary word. The images that come usually include a sense of loneliness, of stagnation, of abandon and death.

My sadness and depression seem to take me to other places though. They take me to a space of darkness that I have grown fond of. When one speaks of darkness, our imagination takes us to images of monsters, ghosts and zombies.  These creatures succeeded for many years to keep me away from crossing their locked up fortress. The avoidance of them came in the urgency to find laughter, friends and success. The inevitability of depression has kept me very close to these gates, and as I see these creatures closer to me, the friendlier they appear to be. The eyeless drooling zombie who promises to take away every loved being from my side is the one I fear the most.

So one day I decided to have a conversation with him. He couldn’t look at me straight in the eye for obvious reasons, but he leaned forward as a sign that he was interested in what I was petitioning.

-Would you let me in the fortress? I asked.

He smiled mockingly and opened the heavy gate. As heavy as it it seemed, he was very proficient in his ability to slide it to let me in . He smelled me as I walked past him and followed me in. Shivers.

My heart raced and my breathing grew shallow as I feared dying in that instant, so I turned around to see how close the zombie was to me, just to find that there was no zombie behind me and all I could see was a beautiful sunset and a orange and purple colors of dusk. The soft colors brought my breath back to me and I stopped to take it all in.

Crossing the gate of my fear and befriending my monsters have brought me to beauty. The pain of loss, the pain of cancer, slow death of angel face to a disease too difficult to mention has been a hard thing to carry. It has been difficult to try to understand how the choosing goes. Who gets cancer? Who gets to live more than 2 years? Who grows and who dies before learning to walk? I have never found answers to these questions.

Murder beats it all though. There are no words that can describe the horror of such an act that robbed the most perfect mother from my side. As much as I know I will never recover from these losses, in my fortress, which by the way is no fortress at all, I have found a boundaryless space of grass that invites me to wander and wonder without the demand to arrive at any place or be anything or anybody. I get to ask all these questions and have the answers come to me in a soft breeze of Truth expressed in the images and sounds that this space brings to me.

When early morning comes, I walk out and I am greeted with sounds of birds and roosters.  I wish I was more knowledgeable about birds to tell you about the variety of what I hear. I also wish I had more technology awareness to have you hear my recording of this morning´s greeting.   They speak to me of a new day, of a new beginning, of all that is before me that is familiar and yet so new. Sounds that welcome me into the adventure of what I am willing to create in a space of both the predictable and the unpredictable. They teach me that there is no way of knowing what will come, but our true nature makes us sing our own song, for today, and only today.

I take a deep breath with that realization and my gaze turns downward. I find the exuberance of a blooming so magnificent that words are too limited to express the image. Every tiny bloom making its way to express its full potencial. Every other bloom making way for each one to form precious bouquets that would only be possible with the existence of each one. Aren´t they telling me to accept my space in this world and to contribute to the masterpiece of humanity as a whole in my ability to bloom along with others, not more, but nevertheless, not less either?

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I take a walk on the beach. Yes my ocean is there before me bringing the salty mist that reminds me of the taste of tears. Waves crashing constantly, some small, other big. Some calm, others fierce. They come. No force can ever stop them. Like life. Some small waves, some big. Some calm, some fierce. Why? No reason. Just the way of life. No one at the choosing booth.

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As I sit with this realization, I look to my side and I have the cutest being looking at me with an investigative gaze. He lets me pet him, he doesn’t seem to be afraid of me even though he doesn’t know me. He has no judgment and no paradigm that speaks to him about me before his experience of me. We granted each other an experience of each other. I inevitably fell in love with him, to the point of wanting to own him. He followed me for a bit, and I feared hurting him when I had to abandon him. I stayed for another while until he decided it was time to continue on his way. I watched him walk away. He didn’t look back. We had had our moment. We had had our experience of each other. Love wants to possess, and he taught me to love and let go.  I do hope and wish he had a nourishing moment and significant as what he was for me. I will never know what I meant to him, but what I am sure of is that he seemed to be fine with letting go.

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I return to get my early morning lime water and I find that we are out of limes in the kitchen. After a moment of freak, I walk to the lime tree to see if they are in their offering time.   Ahhhhhh the delight I find… Offering is their word. “Take me and serve yourself”, they tell me. Oh what a lesson.

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What is my existence about if not one of offering.? I understand now how service is what I am in this world for. Sometimes sadness and grief are all about my pain. Pain and suffering dissolves with such ease once I focus on using myself for service. Pain doesn’t go away but I seem to be able to carry it with more ease.

The brightness of sun makes my dark place pretty bright and colorful. It turns everything around me into a display of shapes and color that inevitably makes me smile.

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Pain will never cease. Of that I am sure. I have learned that monsters, ghosts and zombies are my illusion that keep me from confronting my fears about having another one of life´s waves be huge and bring me to the ground again. I understand today that I have no power to either predict the size of my next wave nor the power to stop it. In my walk through life I will stop more and look down to the blooms making space for one another. I will allow an open door for new friends, for as long as they remain, and I will continue to learn to say good-bye, until the next hello.

Sensitive.  We all are.

I know that I am. I also know that because of this, I will be a trigger to others and others will be triggers to me.  There is no way of predicting, and even less, controlling how and when we will be triggered.  Life seems to be a battle ground in which we are constantly wounded without having a place to heal.

A few years back when I was being trained as a yoga teacher, I was introduced to a fascinating world that I had no idea existed.  I was struck by the immensity and depth of it.  I was totally captured by the essence of the philosophy and grew eager to learn how to offer it back to others. Savasana, the final posture of practice is said to be the most important posture of all.  It means corpse pose.  The moment in which we die to the present moment so we may be reborn into the next.  A moment of surrender, of acceptance of things as they are, a moment to trust that we are being held by an energy greater than us.  A moment in which we lose control and rejoice in our mere existence.  A moment of allowing ourselves to just be.  The instructor holds space for the practitioners, and becomes the time keeper and the one who leads the “dead” back into a renewed life.  The instructor has the honor to offer that rest space and uses his creativity to construct a taste of the sacred. I was deeply touched when I became aware of the sanctity of the moment.  I had seen people leave class before the time of savasana by thinking that excersise was over and “resting” was not only unnecessary, but a waste of time.  I must confess there were times when I thought the same, but I stayed as a sign of respect for the instructor.  As I stayed, I grew more fond of the gift that it is and I am totally devoted to savasana today.

Anyway, during my training, I continued with my personal morning practice.  The instructor that I went to for my daily practice led us up to savasana and then he would walk out of class leaving us there to awaken on our own.  All of us practitioners would get up after what felt like ages, noting that there was evidence that we were leaderless.  This went on for a few days and I began feeling very uncomfortable.  I felt disrespected in what I had learned was a sacred moment. His walking away felt like an abandonment.  It felt as if he was careless about the holiness of the moment.  I wanted to share my feelings with him but I was hesitant as I did not want to offend him.  However, I wanted to express my dislike of the way he was managing savasana.

I decided I would write him an email.  I remember I was mindful about my potential to be a trigger to him.  I knew how hard it is to get negative feedback from a student, so I chose my words carefully. What happened next has many details that i will spare you with, but in conclusion, I was expelled from his studio.  One of the things he told me was “what an EGO you have”.   In his mind, I was a student who had to be respectful of my teacher´s wisdom.  Telling him that his ways were not in sync with what I was learning insulted him as he felt I was outsmarting him.  Although this was never my intention, it became evident that my actions had been hurtful and massively misinterpreted.

“What an EGO I have”.  For many days (weeks), I ruminated over this phrase.  In my mind, I strived to convince him and the world that my petition had not come from ego, that it had come from my desire to receive a gift that I had grown hungry for.  Ego, ego, ego.  In many ways i tried to eliminate it, I fought it, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have it. In my mind I practiced endless conversations with with my teacher convincing him that he was wrong, I even practiced court room dialogues attempting to be ruled NOT GUILTY.

G U I L T Y.

The verdict came soon enough.  It was an inner veridict.  I did have an ego. I still do, and will continue to have it until I die.  I understood its purpose.  My battle had to do with my hurt and from what I interpreted as an unfair treatment.  He had his personal reasons based on his personal standards, and my standards collided with his.  I was trying to convince him to teach in my preferred style, and by my doing so I offended him.  His ego protected him by expelling me from his studio, and my ego protected me from feeling rejected and abused.  I wanted to tell this story in full detail, accusing him of his wrongdoings.   I wanted the world to be his jury and to rule against him. I felt hurt.

In that instant when I realized i was hurt, was when the understanding came. Ego was yelling out “IT HURTS”.  Ego wanted the blessing, it wanted to be held. I did not want to feel abandoned nor forgotten.  I had a moment of clarity.  I finally understood that ego plays an important role in my life.  It protects me.  It is up to me to be able to listen to his childish language  that attempts to communicate that it needs caring.  The type of caring that ego is urging for is kindness.  Ego comes forth in aggressive ways.  It fights when it feels hurt.  However, in its darkened way, it urges us to look for our wrongdoings so we may choose the enlightened option.  It alerts us.  It tells us that something is wrong, that darkness is close.  it is a call to our awakening desire of seeing the light within us.

I am grateful to my teacher.  I learned that indeed I do have a friend called ego who will constantly be on call nudging me onto a gentle, compassionate way of being.  I understand it is the only way to be able to offer the same to others.  Everyone is thirsty for kindness, ego protects us from the hurt that our sensitive selves feel.  It relentlessly offers opportunities to choose.  Today I choose kindness, gentleness, compassion, and acceptance of what is different.  Thank you ego…my friend.

And I continue to enjoy my time at savasan.  Well… when my agitated mind allows me.  Sometimes my mind wanders and appears like the photo below…but I continue my practice, day in and day out…so I find the peace within where only light resides.IMG_2956