Recovering from Hell

“Forgiveness is distracting yourself.” – Abraham

I rarely make plans with people anymore. Isolation, according to Doreen Virtue in her book Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, is my darkest yin quality. You could say it’s what happens when you have X-ray vision that can see through everything, or you could call it a symptom of post-traumatic stress. Both explanations are plausible. My work—that is, teaching yoga—gets all of my energy and attention, and the rest of it goes to me. Or, it’s my preference that my spare time and attention go to me. Because when you’re recovering from hell, you can’t be there for people the way that you used to be, and you certainly can’t be there for people the way that they want you to be.

My brightest yin quality? Understanding. If you have a permanent injury that affects your ability to work full-time, then that same bodily condition likely affects your social life. This isn’t something even the most well-meaning of people readily understand. And if the people in my life are willing to drain all of my reserves and then not help when I need a lift up in the world—or lock me into some form of codependent arrangement that isn’t sustainable given the condition of my body—then I’m left to assert boundaries. I cannot continue explaining myself. Explaining myself drains energy and requires me to argue for limitations that I’d rather not perpetuate.

Years ago, I was told by a studio in Victoria that I couldn’t teach certain classes because my teaching style was too similar to one of the owners, and this owner didn’t need competition from me. Then, before I moved to Vancouver in 2011, that same owner sat me down at Bubby Rose’s Bakery & Café and told me to my face that my life would get a lot worse before it got better. Interestingly, though (and running parallel), not only did the owner of another studio hand over her Flow Level 2 class to me, but she also asked me to teach the last class at her studio before it closed.

How can I line up with cooperative components when I’m focused on uncooperative components? I wish I would have listened to my counsellor Ash, who, a year earlier in 2010 told me a story about being in a group with twenty other people. Nineteen of the twenty liked him, but he couldn’t get past the one person in the group who didn’t.

According to Mario Martinez in his book The Mind-Body Code, the tribe mentality keeps us stuck. The tribe will protect and accept you as long as you operate within the bounds and beliefs of the tribe, but the minute you step out of this set of ideas, you’ll be punished in three ways:

  1. Betrayal
  2. Abandonment
  3. Shame

Guilt says you made a mistake (and attracts punishment…), whereas shame says you are a mistake. Dr. Christiane Northrup, women’s health pioneer and author of the book Goddesses Never Age, said that you must strengthen the divine part of yourself so that it is stronger than the human part that is stopped dead in its tracks by shame, betrayal and abandonment.

Yet Louise Hay said, “A victim is always in a powerless position, and blaming others keeps us powerless—keeps us stuck.”

What I like about me is that I don’t pretend to be forgiving when I’m not. Although, to my detriment, I can hold a grudge. I’ve learned that when I get too busy—mainly when I’m saddled with unsolicited demands on my time—I get angry and negative, and the consequent drop in vibration challenges my health. I’ve learned that I cannot rely on others to honour my body or respect my health. In fact, if it were up to some people, I would be dead, and they don’t even realize it.

So, enough of these depressing posts. Easy people exist. I like teaching yoga because I’m less inclined to swear, judge, or deviate from my heart. Otherwise I do have an intensely active mind—a shamelessly strong ego. I’m doing what renowned Canadian poet Lorna Crozier said, and putting my sensitivity to good use. Atlantis is my latest obsession. I believe in fairies, mermaids, unicorns, dragons, and ghosts. The sun, moon and stars mesmerize me. Give me a warm, sandy beach and I could lay there forever listening to the waves kiss the shore.

“Yoga,” in the wise words of Eric Paskel, “is not about tightening your ass. It’s about getting your head out of it.”