Why hello! I thought I would pop in and give you all a little update from my life since I have been on sabbatical from the online world for about six weeks now. I just finished up my final papers and exams for the first bit of my second year of grad school where I am working toward a Masters in Clinical Psychology so that I can be a licensed therapist here in Oregon. My program is amazing. I am learning so much, and I have loved seeing clients at the local non-profit mental health clinic, Liberation Institute. Please continue to send folks needing care our way. My supervisors, and supervision group are amazing. I cannot imagine doing this alone, without the help of such a tender, and wise community behind me, holding my hand, and sometimes holding me up. Lots of gratitude for this part of my life, and just for being alive and feeling the air in my lungs lately. I have also re fallen in love with my own yoga and meditation practice. I went to the coast for a little self retreat, which was wonderful, and of course, I got the flu that is going around just like everyone else. Our poor baby immune systems.
The strange part of lately is that I have been noticing how being in this prolonged lawsuit has changed me; I constantly feel like I am doing something wrong. The way I grew up, my understanding was that if one is in a prolonged lawsuit, it means that this person must have really fucked up somehow. And, I have been unconsciously buying into this limiting belief in lots of large and small ways. It's in my conscious understanding now, which I am so grateful for. What I have come to understand in the last few weeks is that filming class after class without real rest during a global pandemic had become a way in which I coped with not only this feeling of having done something wrong, but with the uncertainty, and groundlessness in my life, and our in our collective state. I mistook work for safety, and lost connection with my own practice.
In my loving kindness meditations, which are a non-negotiable for me, I have come to notice that when I offer myself care, the first thought that comes up is about how I need to get back to filming, or I won't be okay. It's almost a panic in my body. In the spirit of meditation practice as a form of internal data collecting, this is some significant information to work with. How can I cultivate boundless, unconditional love for myself, my people, and the earth when my mind has made a link between creating an offering and being worthy of care in this life? If I create, then I am safe and the feeling of having done something wrong doesn't feel so potent. If I create something, only then am I worthy of love and care.
Honestly, it is a little embarrassing to express this to all of you because it feels like a repeat, like a lesson I should have already learned. Oof, there's that “should.” What I have come to understand from being with my therapy clients is that anytime there is a “should” on the table, that means there is a stuckness that is preventing them from being in flow. Usually it has to do with a trauma, a severing from themselves that has not yet been fully integrated.
Admitting that I am stuck feels vulnerable, possibly because it is indeed connected with my own trauma history. When I scan my life for this pattern of love and safety being attached to a doing I see my eating disorder: you will be safe and loved when you are super skinny. I see my brush with a cult: you can be loved and belong here only when you are fully committed, when you do what we do, otherwise, you will remain on the outskirts. I see my family system: you will be loved only when --------- (insert a multitude of things). And, I see my own trauma history: you will be loved and belong as long as you pretend this horrible thing didn't happen to you and just be fine. It's the just being fine part that has gotten me into trouble because when we are not fine, and pretend to be fine, that means we have found a way to cover what's really happening with work, sex, inner and outer violence, substances, other people, tv, busyness, food, exercise, you name it.
This link between doing, self-worth, and love is what I have been teaching all of you--that you are worthy of love just because you exist, and yet. And YET! Here I am, trying out what just existing feels like, and failing pretty miserably at the worthiness and love part, which, again, is good information when I am wise enough to be able to frame it that way. Another layer is being tended to so that I can grow and come back into my flow. And, this is part of why I needed to stop filming for a while, and take this sabbatical. I could never have seen this stuckness without taking a pause. And now that I can see it, I can work with it. And, this is what the practices of yoga and meditation are about for me, returning again and again to what's here, and being with it from a place that sees clearly, is wise, and is also deeply tender and loving.