My Journey to Awakening
I was once asked, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up? I didn't need much time to think about it for most days I wake with the same first response...
"I AM ALIVE. I get to live another day on this earth. Thank you."
When I was 26 years old my world got turned upside down. I was at a place in my life where my light was dim. I was consciously choosing to keep it that way for my own fear of who I would become and the journey it would take me to get to it. As I was making poor choices in my relationships and playing out self-desctructing thoughts and actions towards myself and others, I became numb inside. The thing with becoming hardened or unmindful to yourself is that the Universe will continue to speak to you. This language may come through other people, nature, accidents, job successes or failures, and so many other miraculous offerings. The signs are there, it's us who need be open to receiving them. It is almost like a gentle coaxing or sometimes not so kind but rather abrupt shout to the soul reminding you that "you are that" - you matter; your choices effect you and others and you are a miracle to be living this human life so WAKE UP!
Many will wake before others, many working to continue to wake everyday - living mindfully - and then some will choose to stay asleep, absent-mindedly walking the earth with a light dim to themselves and to others.
The very well known quote by Marian Williamson says,
"As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
I share this today of all days, because today at 3pm I am having a surgery. And though I have had this surgery before, when I was 26, and though the probability of any complications are low, indeed, I could not help but think this entire week leading up to this day, what if I do not wake up from surgery? What if it is all done in this lifetime for me? Am I ok with this? How have I shared my light with the world?
Let's take it back to 2006. I am the Director of a Wine Program and the Manager of a fine dinning restaurant in Kansas City. Working both morning and evening shifts followed by copious amounts of alcohol intake and bad diet (though I still managed to get my yoga classes in somehow), I was on a seriously uninspired road. I had been experiencing pain in my lower abdomen for several weeks and took the time to see a Gynecologist about it. They didn't really ask many questions and suggested I had an infection, prescribing me antibiotics. Less than two weeks later, at 10am sipping my Macchiato while reviewing my next wine order, I found myself doubled over in the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced. The pain did not subside and within twenty minutes, I was rushed to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, as my body began to hyperventilate, fingers curling in on themselves involuntarily, light fading. Silence.
I abruptly woke to the sound of loud voices, six of them, doctors and nurses, saying things like "possible fallopian tube baby". My clothes cut from my body, legs thrown into the uncomfortable gynecology stir-ups, bright lights beaming on my face, finally my vision came into focus. The largest needle I had ever seen was being injected into my arm. I couldn't feel it. My pain was so intense someone could have bit me and I wouldn't have known. An external ultrasound was administered to my belly. Nothing. "We need to do an internal ultrasound to see what is happening" is what I heard next. Then I saw my mom, flying in like a bird, face filled with fear. Her first child, the black sheep, the crazy one, the alcoholic entertainer of fancy wine and food, laid out naked with an unknown circumstance ahead.
I had a cyst on my right ovary, the size of a grapefruit completely rupture. My entire insides where painted with blood and I had been living at a contraction pain level for nearly an hour at this point. As the pain medication began to take the edge off and I was wheeled into the darkly lit room for my internal ultrasound, I began to cry, thinking "I am going to be awful at childbirth". Thankfully, the nurse laughed and told me different. She said she was amazed that I actually withheld that much pain for so long. One entire day later, I was still in the hospital awaiting my surgery to have the cyst removed and my insides cleaned out. I was alone and it was the first time in two years that I was sober.
The interesting piece about this placement of my life is that not more than three years earlier I was attending graduate school in Boulder, Colorado, having made the choice to not participate in any alcoholic or recreational drugs, and studying Transpersonal Counseling Psychology. Just three years before I was living an inspired and impacting life, mindfully evolving. The choices we make do shift our reality and drastically. I chose to leave graduate school to live in the "real world" as I called it then; I wanted to work relentless hours, and learn how it would be to live such a life. Honestly, I wanted to get lost and see if it was possible to come back. I felt deeply that to become a therapist helping others in the world find their inner light it was necessary that I too had lost and re-found my own. Looking back now, I am not sure this is or was the best thought process or decision to have been made. But it is in the past now and the consequences of such a choice have been one of my greatest teachers.
I remember the first night alone in the hospital, unable to get up by myself or to be free of pain medications and thinking how I didn't want this to be how my life was or possibly would end. Very clearly the answers to the questions, what if I do not wake up from surgery? What if it is all done in this lifetime for me? Am I ok with this? How have I shared my light with the world? came to light. Those answers in 2006 are not what they are today. I was scared then because I knew I had not lived the latest years of my life from my authentic and inspired spirit. As the realization of this came to my consciousness, it was the reason I dramatically altered my life after successfully removing the cyst, saving my ovary and literally clearing my root/sacral charka of any debris. I dove head first into completing my massage therapy program I had been flirting with for over a year, as well as began living a more holistic nutrient filled lifestyle. It wasn't an easy adjustment. There are always external stimulus (people, activities, etc) to pull you back into the unconscious realm of living.
Fast-forward to today. May 15, 2015. Nearly nine years later, the answers to those same questions are filled with an ease and a comfort knowing that everyday I wake with gratitude and a rich appreciation for all the ups and all the downs my life has had and will continue to have. I have a condition called Endometriosis. Though, I am extremely healthy in my life and have altered my way of living to accommodate a shining of my Light, it does not mean that I am pardoned from life's sufferings or hardships. Yoga teaches us to become aware, awake, so that we may choose our responses to the world and what we are presented with. Because of my practice, the relationship I have with my mind and body is more in synch, commuting daily and holding space for that relationship to deepen. It is through this, that I knew immediately something was wrong with my body. Within the week, I learned I have an 8cm cyst on my left ovary. I guess I just needed to balance out both sides. Catching this early enough to avoid any rupturing or further damage, my surgery was booked quickly.
This past week as part of my preparation for surgery, I consciously chose to attend different classes with different teachers throughout the area. As I normally have a home yoga practice, it was really refreshing to attend other studios, meet new people and just be really open to receiving messages from the Universe through other guides. In essence that is what we do everyday, whether or not, we are aware of this. We are each mirrors for one another and deep inside each of us we are the Divine, the Love, the Other. The amazing aspect of each of these classes was that each teacher, some I knew, some I did not, but none of them knew of my situation, all spoke on something that related to living a Real life, on waking up, experiencing life, being present for each moment and enjoying the ride. In fact, last nights class actually brought our attention to a visual of our own funeral and what would be said about us. I smiled inside during this meditation, maybe I did outside too. I knew this was a message from the Universe supporting me in my journey and comforting any concerns I had around my surgery. The interwoven connectivity of all beings is the Universe speaking to you. There are messages everyday speaking to you, yes YOU, flicking your pencil across the room like a 6th grade boy flirting with a girl, stepping on your toes to gain your attention, grinning at you through the person who danced their middle finger as you were turning right, the phone call that delivers news of your sister nearly dying in a car wreck as you arrive to teach a class. These are the Universe testing you, questioning you, challenging you to be aware, to be awake and to make the conscious choice to decide how you will respond. Who are you in those moments? Where does your light go in the dark times? Can it be present? Can you be here? Because this human life is short and it is a miracle you are here already.
I feel confident that my surgery will go well and I will come out healthier than ever, learning from this experience to help me shine my light even more. However, I want you to know how much you mean to me; how much you have shaped my life, even those I have yet to meet. This is not a goodbye. This is a hello. This is a hello to another day, another moment, another breath to live as a human. May you realize your greatest potential in life is to find your light and the greatest gift you can offer yourself is to share your light. You are important. You are a miracle. May the Universe's messages be vibrant and shake you to your core so that you wake up and join the inspired life!