Success in Spirit
This is a story of a new kind of success - one that I sometimes forget I have.
During a recent conversation with a dear friend of mine, it dawned on me that I never consider myself as someone with a lot of success. This friend is in the Alcoholics Anonymous program and was sharing a resentment that he had recently written about me. The ability to even be able to listen (and also be excited), to hear what his resentment for me was in itself is a huge success. I am open to and LOVE this kind of conversation because it means that we are relating with the awareness that we are not just our egos, but instead relating soul to soul. What a relief. Although I am not in the AA program, I do know it works miracles and this is one of the many things I respect and admire about it. You get such a cool look at yourself from this perspective of non attachment. Just looking at the funny human that you are. So powerful.
I have known this friend for around 7 or so years now. He has watched me get dragged through some of the darkest times in my life. Him and I were often the last ones still getting high at the end of the night at the parties and strip clubs we would frequent. He recently came to visit NYC on his 7 month sobriety anniversary. I haven't seen him much at all in the past few years. It was so nice to spend time with him and relate on a totally different plane, have him in my classes, take class together, eat gluten free pizza, the whole thing.
He mentioned to me in our text conversation that when he came to visit he was super happy and proud of me and where I was at, but had felt some resentment towards my success. Success?!! I thought. What success?! The more this sank in the more I realized how sweetly successful I am, and how I very rarely see it that way.
Three years ago around this time, I was back and forth from upstate NY to where I live now in Brooklyn, hanging out at this sort of hippie, sort of yoga house. I say sort of because as magical as it was it was also all quite vague and at times very destructive for me. This is also the same place that ironically supported me when I moved there a few months later -when I myself decided to get sober. I had finished my Anusara Yoga teacher training that previous spring and was helping a friend now lead his teacher training. I had a lot of knowledge to offer even at that time, as I had learned a lot about the body and have always been sensitive to my own physically, but other than that I was a wreck.
I had undergone some transformation, having met my teacher around that time, and been on retreat for the first time to India. But for the most part I was unhappy, addicted and internally so sad and confused. The beginning of a really deep awakening process had begun. I thought I was having a really great time, and in some ways I was... according to what i knew to be fun. The end of our first teacher training weekend ended in a topless dance party in a bedroom with a bathtub in it. I mean I don't even know if John Friend made it that far. (Did he??!!) And for some this is a REALLY great time. And arguably good medicine for some. But for a girl from Jersey who grew up around strip clubs, toxic men and who knew no boundaries … not so much.
Perhaps I'll go over defining "fun" in my next post. : )
I was really searching for something to make me feel better. My whole life I had been. That is why I began practicing yoga to begin with. It is amazing to look back and see all of the different ways teachers and studios have helped me move to the next phase of my path as a seeker. Each of them meeting me where I was at. Some super helpful and some super harmful.
To look back now I can feel Love for all of it, but mostly because I have always moved on. Stepping forward. And when I found a teacher and a path that really was feeding my soul and resonated deeply with my purpose, I put my ALL into it. As hard as it was many times in my life, I was determined to not be held back. I was (and am), hell-bent on serving the world with my purpose which includes helping others find theirs and finding success in spirit themselves.
Because I care about being awake, being conscious and being able to love myself and others, deeply and truly.
This is all to say that heck yeah I have achieved some success in my life! It is what I'll call ... Success in Spirit. It is about happiness and knowing true Love within myself. The ability to stay present when someone powerful who loves me looks deeply into my eyes. To know freedom from the habitual tendencies of my mind and my addiction to pain. And maybe most importantly, to be able to truly support and love others where they are at.
Here are two of my favorite definitions of yoga that relate to all of this. This one is by David Harshada Wager ... Yoga is the process of un-f***ing yourself. And this one from the Bhagavad Gita … Yoga is the severance of our union with pain. So here I am. Here we are. Still a work in progress (always), but feeling the lightness and the sweet success of SO much. I hope you do too in your own ways.
Thank you to all my teachers and friends that have come and gone over the years, who have helped me learn, both in the blessings and in the lessons that you brought. To this particular friend for his strength and wisdom on his own path of healing and awakening. To those of you that are trying to get free in whatever ways you are bound - KEEP GOING. It is totally worth it. I see you and I stand by you. Find people to be around that really believe in you and can recognize their own success in spirit.
Now I'll be working on sharing Love, Truth and Beauty wherever I go and in everything I do. Bringing that awareness of success in spirit into every person I meet so they know they are loved. I believe in you and you CAN believe in yourself. In what you are doing and what you want to do for this world. Unwavering SUPPORT and guidance are big pieces in the secret to this kind of success.
With so much respect for you and your beautiful heart.