I sleep in late another day, oh what a wonder, oh what a waste. It's a Monday, so mundane, what exciting things will happen today? The yard is full of hard rubbish, it's a mess and I guess the neighbors must think we run a meth lab. We should amend that . . .
Everyone who knows me knows I love sweets, I love Christmas, and I love yoga. I can bake cookies at home or I can buy them from a store. Christmas ornaments can be made or purchased year 'round. Yoga can be done at home, at the park, or in a studio. These things are all constant. But of course, in our lives constants can still change. My favorite bakery can stop baking my favorite cookies at any point in time. Christmas can be spent with family one year and then riding a ski lift alone the next year. Yoga studios can change philosophies, teachers, location, or even close up shop.
I have gone to the same yoga studio for four years. Today, I attended my last class there. They have closed up shop. In that studio I have expanded my yoga practice and grown in my personal life. I have cried in that studio. I have hugged others as they cried. I have laughed there. I have been drenched in buckets of my own sweat. I have smiled and I have cursed. I have felt the tentativeness of maybe balancing on my head one day to the "I got this" feeling of headstanding in the middle of the room with no problem. Yoga is part of my life, and like life, it is a journey. The community from that studio was a rare and particular experience, an experience I will likely not have again.
But . . .
what waits ahead?
This time last year I went to work, I went to yoga, and then a few nights a week I saw the man I was dating. Every last one of those things is gone this year. But, only that job is gone. Only that man is gone. Only that studio is gone. In my life I have another job, I will find another yoga studio to call home, and I will have love. The things that I desire are not gone, only the outer vessel in which I knew them before.
Recently I went to my friends book signing. My friend, Tracy Maxwell, wrote a book called "Being Single, With Cancer". I hope that you will all seek her book out online and buy it. Why? Well first because if you're my friend I will support you in your endeavors, but also because cancer can take on my many forms in our lives. A person, a job, a situation, a relationship, an addiction, can all be "cancers" in our lives. By saying this I do not mean in any way to diminish the magnitude of having the dis-ease of medical cancer, nor does Tracy which is why I urge you all to check out her book. When I heard Tracy speak she said (and I believe she took this quote from someone else but for the life of me I can't remember or find on Google who it is) "Cancer is not a gift because I wouldn't give it to you. But cancer has been a blessing because of what I have learned about myself, how I have grown and found strength". That may not be an exact quote but you get the picture. Tracy has had a rare form of Ovarian cancer three times . . . and in the years I have known her I have never seen her look healthier or happier. She has taken control of her life through diet, surrounding herself with positive energy at The Unitarian Church (you know, the kind of church that loves everyone and couldn't care less about your sexual preference or political affliiation), and by writing a book to help others. She used her experience to gain personal strength and help others. C'mon, that's awesome.
My new neighbors across the street from me are a same sex couple . . . with five boys. FIVE BOYS! They have a gosh darn houseful. They are an incredibly happy, open, loving, caring, and sharing family unit. One of the women (I won't use her name because I haven't asked permission and it's too late to run over there now) shared her life experience with me. She was in a heterosexual marriage for 20 years because she was taught that is what one does. Four of those five boys came from her marriage, they are the blessing that came from a situation that wasn't right. When she finally knew "I can't do this anymore", she lost much. She lost her business, she lost many friends, and even some family members. She has been shunned by people that supposedly love her - but only conditionally it seems. As she tells me the story she starts to cry and I am so happy that she has seen past the crazy neighbor bit of me and down to the comforting bit of me. You know how much I love to laugh with all of you, but you also know that any one of you can call me anytime and cry yourself a river, I will always listen. My neighbor found an amount of strength that maybe she didn't even realize she had, until she had no choice. And the unequivocal love and the happy home life that they show their boys every day is crystal clear.
Life will let you know when it's time to rise up. Life will let you know when it is your time to be called upon to make a difference, be it large or small, everyone of us leaves us a legacy. Sometimes it can seem like a damn shame that the call to action can be the result of something so immensely painful, so cancerous, but that's what it takes I suppose. How could Tracy spread her positive message to other cancer patients and survivors without having had the experience? During a session with a guide/healer/mentor that has helped guide me through this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, I ask her "Why did these lessons have to come at the cost of a broken heart? From someone I loved? From deceit and surreptition?" She laughed good naturedly and said "Really? Do you really have to ask that? How many people have come in and out your life that you didn't love and made very little impact?" Ah, yes, I see. Think of the times in your life you have had mammoth changes. Was it because you just decided on a random Tuesday over your morning coffee break "hey, I'm gonna move out of my comfort zone and aim for discomfort in order to find something awesome"? Doubtful. Or was it because something huge happened and you had to, you wanted to, but you also had to. The time comes for us all and there is no turning back.
Will it be peaceful? Nope. Will it be fraught with change and perhaps loss? Yep. Will it be worth it? Abso-frickin-lutely. And you can do it. Oh yes you can.
My neighbor is happy. Tracy is happy. I am happy. I have laughed more in the past few weeks than I have in a year, because everything in my world has changed, and continues to change. The "cancers" that visited my friends and myself are not gifts, because we wouldn't give the hurt to any of you, but they are blessings because wow oh wow, we are making differences in our lives and the lives of others . . . just as every one of you do . . . and don't you forget it. You're awesome, keep that shit up.
Deep experience is never peaceful - Henry James