Three years ago I realized that I was (optimistically speaking) two-thirds of the way through my life. This meant I was beginning Act Three of the three act play of my life.
Act One consisted of growing up in a picture perfect family with a dark hidden substrate of loveless mothering and traumatic abuse and growing into a young adult playing out the consequences of abuse. Act Two was devoted to healing as best I could and building a life worth living, with meaning and connection.
Act Three was supposed to go like this: heroine makes a commitment to deepen her spiritual practice to strip away the unessential and prepare for the final transition of death. This is a traditional yogic approach to the “liberation” phase of life. My job would be to meditate and erode my samskaric patterns and liberate myself from carrying these afflicted patterns forward into the future world.
However, life got in the way. My business, Breathing Time Yoga was continuing to grow and required attention. My health was poor. Over the last three years I’ve had two teeth go through numerous procedures before I gave up on them and had them pulled. The upper molar infections and inflammation triggered a relapse of depression, a lifetime companion. I had 35 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatments during a 2 month period. Simultaneous to the problems with my teeth but apparently unrelated I developed post-infectious neuropathy . Once I was out of the woods with the depression I embarked on a two year tedious but disciplined effort to quell the burning pain of neuropathy in the right side of my face, my right arm and my right upper trunk. Fortunately in the past six months I’ve made headway with the neuropathy.
During this time I practiced as I had for years, in the moment to moment practice of being present and cultivating equanimity as best I could, and practicing yoga nidra as often as possible to support my health. I did shamanic meditation when the pain levels could be tuned out to background noise. I went to workshops to study. I enrolled in a long term program of Buddhist Magyu Lneage study practice with Lama Tsultrim Allione. But I didn’t gain the traction I needed to embark on my spiritual quest.
Then, on September 1, 2015 my sister Julie passed away. I fell into a complex and deep grief, mixed with a resurgence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression. I knew that I was falling apart and that I could either break down and fall apart completely, or break through.
Commence Act Three like it or not.