Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yoga Ruined My Life.

The Goddess of Never Not Broken
A couple of weeks ago I was explaining to a friend how my body has lost its formerly epic ability to process alcohol. I was volunteering to be the designated human for the night because I knew that I couldn't get drunk anyway: it just hurts too much anymore. He then asked a question that I couldn't articulately answer because I hadn't considered it: "How do you cultivate that?" I pinned it on my morning green smoothie habit (those damn dandelion greens, cleaning my liver up!) but this has been happening for awhile now, this loss of my ability to have fun.

When I look at it honestly, I can see that this all started when my yoga practice got serious again five years ago. It's the yoga, man! That glorious sweating and stretching, bending and twisting, gleaming and beaming! That bitchin' vehicle of self-awareness that has made my body so sensitive and me so sensitive to my body that I can no longer live as I once did. Yoga ruined my life.

The initial layer peeling was disorienting, to say the least. I seemed to be having a nervous breakdown; my boyfriend at the time agreed. Life was so much move ALIVE and I felt it all, all at once, all of the sudden. Everything that wasn't working had to be addressed immediately because it became impossibly uncomfortable to live with incongruity. It was an interesting period of transition that hasn't really ended but evolved as I continue to peel layers back to reveal more of my truth...and put layers back on...and pull them back off.

My yoga recalibration has been rife with duality. I went to class a few years ago right after happy hour. I've gone to happy hour right after taking class or teaching on several occasions. I've slept with men who were all wrong for me for all the wrong reasons. I've gotten too little rest, eaten too much or not enough, been mean and rude and wildly irrational. I've pondered how long I could last walking this line before I wavered and fell to one side or the other for good. While there's no real end goal in yoga, I've considered that I could be progressing so much faster if I didn't take so many back steps. I've heard that sometimes the only way forward is backward, but come on! This is getting ridiculous.

Life is going to change you. How you are changed depends entirely upon how you perceive what you're being offered. Yoga ruined my life, yes, but in all the right ways. It ruined me for alcoholism and anorexia, emotional and physical recklessness, and all manner of self-sabotage and harm. It gifted me with a wondrously vital experience of life in my body that comes at a price which I am still learning to pay. In exchange for all this incredible clarity, I have to give up how I lived before and learn a whole new way of being. This process is uncomfortably unfamiliar. It's alienating. It can be tiring. I am comforted by the knowledge that everything is changing all the time, even the mountains, and that I'll be on the other side of this someday, stronger, smarter, braver, brighter, truer...and this, this future reality is worth the present effort.

It's the effort and struggle in the present that make the future so valuable when it's finally reached. Stretch into it. Let your life be ruined so it can be made better.

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