Running Out of Breath

Running Out of Breath

Disclaimer: This post will have nothing to do with yoga on the mat and it is filled with cliche’ after cliche’.

The events in my life over just this last week have left me feeling like a bit of an emotional train wreck.  As I start to pick myself up and begin the reflecting and healing process, a very good and no-holds-barred friend (yes, you, Nancy) pointed out that I am a runner and told me – actually texted me – that I had to be tired of running now.  To clarify, I haven’t always physically run away, but when I’ve encountered tough times, I haven’t wasted any time shutting down, packing up my emotions, and taking off.  During and after my phone and text conversation with Nancy, I contemplated the recent occurrences and all of these overused phrases came to mind:

1) You can’t always get what  you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need.

Another (and yes, cliche’) way to state this is that the universe doesn’t give us what we want but gives us what we need.  Let’s just say that I have been trying to control situations that are way beyond my control and hoping that things would turn out the way I wanted (but I’m sure you can guess that didn’t happen).  And then, when smacked in the face with the ending of a possibility, it felt like heartbreak.  I couldn’t help questioning everything and wondering what I could have done to prevent that door from closing.  I’m not going to say that I’m all better now (it still stings) but I am realizing that the energy I had been exerting around that one possibility could now be used to connect and reconnect.  I reached out to friends and even my sister and I, who had become somewhat estranged, were talking again.  As I was beginning to feel like I was making some headway, it dawned on me that there was another individual with whom I really needed to reconnect.  The person I consider my best friend is seriously ill.  Watching this individual fight an ugly disease for over a year now, has been painful and I’m afraid I have coped in an unfortunate way (yep, I was an emotional escape artist).  Difficult as it is, and as much as I don’t want to, I am working on sitting with the pain and knowledge that I will lose my friend.  My task now is to determine how I can show up and make the best of whatever time is left.

Feels like the universe has handed me a whole lot of what I don’t want yet I’m not sure what the universe is telling me that I need.  What I can say is that the universe has definitely provided me with the strength to reach out to folks and the humility to apologize and accept the support of some seriously loving and non-judgmental friends.

2) Timing is everything.

When the aforementioned possibility ended, it felt like it couldn’t have happened at a more inopportune time.  I was leaving for Wanderlust in Austin and the perfect weekend I had built up in my head seemed to crumble (oh and I was angry).  How wrong I was.  It turns out that love and support were all around me – from bumping into a yogini I met at Hanuman last June to spending loads of time with someone I consider a darn good friend.  Not just that, but because I felt bruised, my heart was open to hearing what my yoga teachers were saying.  During a practice at Wanderlust, Seane Corn, began to speak about the gifts of the human experience and specifically those wisdoms and lessons learned through loss, heartache, and grief.  For the duration of the practice, I felt as though I was being embraced.  She led us through asana and meditation and the anger seemed to melt.  What began to replace the bitterness was grace (I posted about that some time ago).  The ending of one possibility was actually the beginning of a transition to… I don’t know what.  At that moment I realized that I had to be open to grace and allow myself to move slowly through the emotions so I could actually experience them – regardless of how raw and painful.  At the end of that yoga class, I still had no idea what that would mean or how it would look, but I did know that the power was within myself to change the tide from one of anger and sadness to one of openness, receptivity, and gratitude.

3) Surrender to what is.  Let go of what was.  Have faith in what will be.

This is what is written on the wall of a yoga studio here in Houston.  So I’m thinking that this is what I must do in order to stop running.  I am pretty sure that surrendering, letting go, and having faith are all going to take some practice – daily.  Matter of fact, before I can practice, I may have to do some work to determine what it looks like to surrender, let go, and have faith.  Here’s a stab at it: 1) Surrender to what is. Being in the present moment with whatever emotion or situation arises and accepting the fact that not everyone I’m striving to reconnect with will reciprocate. 2) Let go of what was.  This applies to the possibility that just ended, but also to my relationship with my best friend.  After all, we can no longer do the things we did two years ago so our friendship is quieter now. and 3) Have faith in what will be.  This will be the most difficult for me.  I like to see the big picture and believe that having faith means enjoying the journey without necessarily knowing the destination.

Seems like an awful lot of vulnerability is necessary (we know I cringe at the thought of being vulnerable).    I can promise you that I have not run for the last time.  Old habits die hard and I am super proficient at detaching and building walls.  Chances are, I will continue to run, but hopefully, now that I am aware of this pattern, I won’t run too far, too frequently, or until I’m out of breath.

3 Comments for “Running Out of Breath”
  1. I love you Hope….and I am angry at some of the cards the universe has dealt you! I can’t even imagine how difficult it has been and is for you to experience being robbed far too early of your wonderful mom and your best friend and spouse! You must be a great actress… because from my view you have handled your journey with grace, bravery, and willingness to explore and be honest with yourself! You aren’t giving yourself the credit you have earned. I learn so much from your actions, friendship and posts. Love P

  2. Oh Hope, I too am in Houston, and have been for weeks and will be for many more, fighting again every day for my best friend, and clinging to every positive word from every expert here. But unlike you, I haven’t told anyone. Now I have. Thank you for that. In the midst of your own pain, you have given me a gift. You are courageous and beautiful. Don’t forget it. Love, Wendy

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