Thursday, March 10, 2016

When Looking at Facebook Hurts

This morning as I looked at my Facebook page, I felt pain. I continue to see people posting pictures of themselves in the perfect yoga poses, and today it hurt. I've been sick with an infection for a long time, my body has become weak and my depression has gotten much worse, my yoga practice has suffered. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that it hurts to see people physically progressing in their practice as mine continues to deteriorate. I don't want to be the person who resents other's strengths and accomplishments and yet, right now, I am that person.

While I watch other people grow stronger as I grow weaker, I forget what I teach my students and I forget what yoga is really about. The physical practice of yoga is one very small part of what yoga actually is. Yoga is a way of life, a philosophy, an ethical system. Yoga is the cessation of the wanderings of the mind. Yoga, ultimately, is union. I've forgotten those things and been sidetracked by flashy yoga outfits and nearly impossible yoga poses.

I feel as though life is passing me by and sometimes it's hard to stick around here. This week I attended a bipolar support group, my husband came along. We talked about how I've used social media to give hope to others. What I didn't say and wish I had said is that, unfortunately, I don't think it is appropriate for everyone to be as open and honest as I've been on Fb, blog, etc. But it is the right thing for me to do.

When you feel diminished by other people's achievements, know that you are not alone and try not to beat yourself up for feeling envy or jealousy. I'm not going to conclude this by wrapping it up nicely and placing a red ribbon on top and saying to bask in your own accomplishments, because quite honestly that's not how I feel right now.

I'm not sure why I'm here, or what motivation there is to stick around. All I know is that I am here, alive on this earth, and often times it's a real bitch to stay. The only thing, other than friends and family that comfort me, is knowing that I am not alone in this struggle and I am grateful for those people who also strugge and make the decision, daily, to stay alive. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Beauty and Blessing of Mania

The day after I was admitted to the psych hospital, I woke up full of emotion, tears flowing from the deepest part of my heart. I realized how much I love the world and I ached with the realization that I had voluntarily left the world behind to be locked up on the third floor of a psych ward. The first time I saw sunlight, I was brought to my knees with gratitude. My mind was filled with all of the things that I wanted to do after my discharge. I wanted to learn to cook and sew, take another editing course, play tennis, write, teach yoga, plant flowers and the list went on and on. Only now, a year and a half later, with hindsight, I can see that all of that passion, drive, and raw emotion was a product of my manic mind.

So, my mind was racing and I was manic, but does that mean that my experience should be discounted? This morning is when I realized that my tears and passion were coming from mania. However, along side that, I have the awareness that there was something about that state of mind and the heightened sense of gratitude that I was experiencing that brought me closer to my Source. Yes, most of what my mind was producing was useless nonsense. But the sense of gratitude and aching to live my life wasn't a dance with madness, it was dancing with the Divine. 

There is great pain and beauty in my illness. My emotions run deeply, probably deeper than the average person. And that depth is both blessing and curse. As I write this post, both emotions are at war within my mind and body. I can only hope and pray that the awareness of blessing wins out today.