So what to do when you realize that you aren’t so great at compassion…in fact that you have a big problem choosing to drink when you are thirsty? Since I am someone who wants to be better at choosing love and life, I sat with my Spiritual Director and subsequently with my journal to try to listen to the message my body was trying to send me. The choice not to drink, to not meet the need of my body was not just a matter of making sure I had my water bottle with me or filling my cup at meals and not leaving till I finished. This was a harmful habit. When I wrote about it, the voice in my head revealed a familiar script. “You can have water later. Right now you need to get something done. If you do this next thing, then you can have the water.” And then, “Great job getting that done, but it wasn’t really that hard and there is much more to do. After this next task, then, maybe if there is time, you can have the water.” Except I never gave myself the water. Sub in whatever life giving experience or nourishment you want. When you can’t choose to at least occasionally give yourself something good, there is a big problem.
So I found myself thinking about what I wanted to choose and I realized that in many places I was carrying around old pain and I felt ready to set it down. I wanted to open my hands to joy instead of clinging to old bad habits. I returned to my regular yoga practice with a wise teacher. I made my way back to a place where I had worked specifically on this water issue before.
I had been to see a healer/shaman/Chinese Medicine person when I was ready to get pregnant with my second child. I had seen him till I became pregnant and then went on my way. The thing is, the space he worked in had totally intrigued me. I came in fairly soon after we started working together saying I realized that I hadn’t been in a healing space before quite like this. In my experience of western medicine, practitioners will touch you anywhere, but not talk to you about your experience/feelings/soul and you can go to therapy to talk, but they won’t really touch you. My healer would do dream work and body work with me as I explored and moved toward opening to receive another baby. It was a profoundly whole space and when I became pregnant, I left reluctantly. I felt like I was on the verge of learning something that I really needed to know.
When I returned to my healer, I did have a tight shoulder that wouldn’t release for weeks, but really I went back to finish learning wholeness and to let go of old pain so I could be open to joy. This sounds great, and it was, but any time we make a choice like this…if we are serious about doing our work, we have no idea what we’re in for. When you say yes to Life, sometimes what it demands back from you is death the of something else. In those first moments of choice I didn’t know what I was asking for. I just wanted to find some internal kindness, to drink freely. What do you say yes to? When have you said yes and it took you out beyond what you could imagine? As you look back on your own journey, what yes sparked you to set out into this path?