1:33 Mairī karunā muditā upēsksānām sukha duhkha punya apunya visayānām bhāvanātah cittaprasādanam.
“Through the cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.
…This sūtra asks us to rejoice with the happy, to be compassionate to the sorrowful, friendly to the virtuous, and indifferent to those who continue to live in vice despite attempts to change them. This mental adjustment builds social as well as individual health. Besides cultivating these qualities, one should follow the social virtues of yama (2:30) for the well-being of society as a whole…”
BKS Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patanjali (1993)
Posted with permission from the publisher.
28 August 2018
Letter To My First Yoga Teacher (written during a flood event on Kauai)
Here I am, sitting quietly (yet anxiously) in our “jungle hut” (the smell of cookies baking in the oven). The Hanalei river continues to rise and the sound of water rushing underneath is one I won’t soon forget…
Thank you for gifting us with your book! And thank you for the sweet inscription. I am touched.
Reading your personal story is giving me a deeper understanding into the nature of my relationship as a student, to you as a teacher; and why it was so important for me to leave your class before I lost heart. Looking back now, I see more clearly than I did before. Again, thank you. Some of the most profound lessons come in the most subtle of guises.
It seems our paths have been converging for some years as I also grew up in Chicago (west side), and was first introduced to yoga in 1975 when I was four years old. Do you remember Lilias Folan on public TV?
Fast forward twenty-two years when we met. I was awestruck by the grace, strength, and confidence you demonstrated with your practice. You inspired me. And now, again twenty-two years later—I am still practicing.
As part of my svādhyaya practice, I began journaling as a way to reconcile a long family history of emotional abuse. As you say in your book “…not one of us is immune…”. So true. As I wrote, I found an inner freedom to express my own unique, albeit small, voice. I made friends with my “inner guru” and discovered she is a poet!
My shattered-self-confidence continues to recover; everyday I am learning it is our relationships to others and how we treat one another that is most important for a happy, healthy and productive society.
So, here we are, back on the island after twenty years—our paths cross once again. The beginnings of a new chapter. It’s been a fantastic adventure complete with fires and now floods. I am happy to report that just in the time I’ve been writing this letter to you, the waters have receded significantly, birds have come to feast on tilapia, and we are devouring cookies!
Lovely to reconnect with you and the growing yoga community here on the island. The spirit of “aloha” is a live and well. And it would seem, the spirit of discontent is also thriving? Paradise and Hell all wrapped up in one.
So grateful to be alive at this time, and a witness to the eternal unfolding of the cosmic drama before us. And yes, forever grateful you were a part of our introduction to the practice of yoga! Om shanthi.
March 9, 2018
Dear Mr. X,
I hope you don’t mind me saying this:
I only wish to put a smile on your face and a warm glow in your heart.
There are so many beautiful words I wish to tell you…
But first, I must apologize.
It was a long time ago.
I was young.
I was used to being abused.
It was all so confusing…
I am sorry I hurt you.
Can you forgive me?
There are so many beautiful stories I wish to share with you!
fantastically real dreams!
Sooner or later
who can say?
I feel pretty good actually
for a middle-aged woman in love.
it used to be.
my indestructible luminous soul-
and ready to take flight!
This old cocoon
And can’t contain
what is beginning to emerge….
April 11, 2018
on the way home from bowling,
on the way to the butchers shop,
we drove past a sign
in front of a church
“Every day gives a new reason to praise God.”
And I thought,
Yes! Of course!
Jesus and Krishna
Thor and Zeus…don’t forget Kali…
for one another,
one another’s spirits to
the absolute infinite spark
in each and every
one of us
are we not also praising God?
I am grateful for the reminder.
I am also reminded
how so many souls
have lost sight
of their God.
Unwilling to praise. Unable to surrender. Ungrateful.
And today is a brand new day.
April 15, 2018
“Have you been drinking?”
“Why do you ask?” Was his response.
“Because I am your aunt.”
(Because I’m watching
and it is so predictable.
You aren’t the first alcoholic
I’ve ever known.)
Then comes the excuses…
The feeling is indescribable–
becoming estranged from a loved one.
Saying, “You are no longer welcome in this house.”
The bitter heart ache
when you realize
you’ve been betrayed.
But there is also freedom
and a lightheartedness
that I haven’t known before…
If I were standing in front of you now,
what would you do?
Because while there is a part of me that wants to box your ears;
another part wants to hold you like a baby crying in my arms.
I don’t understand
so hard on me.
(Is it because you are also hurting and I’m not there to hold you?)
when I am
dead and gone.
Remember this while you are twisting your knife into my heart…
You are my sister’s son
and just like your mother
as long as I give you what you want—
you can be so sweet to me.
And when I refuse—
you show me just how deep is your need for me.
Why do you fight me when I am on your side?
Yes, it is true,
you were a victim
of childhood emotional abuse.
No child should have to endure what you did.
Yet, here we are–
and you are
It is difficult.
Despair is a treacherous thing
when hope seems
Struggle to climb up
Out of the depths of depression
What’s the use anyway?
Why should you care when (seemingly) no one else does?
But. They. Do.
If you can’t
On your own
Seek out members of your community who can help.
And I think
you will find
they are willing,
more than willing
to help you
the best of you.
For your community.
For the whole of society.
There is nothing more I can do for you.
Not because I don’t love you or because I don’t care.
I want to see you
Becoming the most
You can become.
Nonetheless, you have to take responsibility for yourself.
I have to risk losing you,
my angel baby.
My fond memories
I will always hold dear in my heart.
When you are ready
to face the darkness—
you will find
you are not alone.
We all need friends
who understand us.
Whom we can count on.
Who can count on us.
is strong again.
And I hope…
I’ll never stop
realize your wings.
Only time will tell what God already knows…
May 4, 2018
He wants her to be more passionate in bed.
She wants him to be more affectionate in public.
They both cite: “too much water under the bridge”.
And so the two of them
go about their day
doing all the things
they normally do
for each other.
for the other
to make a move.
from their iPads
smiling at one another to say:
“I’m still here doing the best I know how in this moment.”
Twenty plus years of shared experiences.
They lash out:
“I am not what you say I am…I am a better person than that!”
Water under the bridge. Moving too fast…
when we met,
I was naive
(Still, you found me attractive—remember when?)
But I was hopeful…
…hopeful we could be more to each other
than just expectations,
and selfish needs met.
We could grow up together…
I’ve learned so much
over our twenty
plus years together.
But now l am
so painfully aware
of just how little
I really know.
We treat each other as if we deserve to be punished.
Perhaps we do.
It makes me sick to my stomach…
We didn’t know each other well enough to get married, did we.
And yet here we are.
by the wayside.
Do I deserve to be punished?
Then do it
and get it
before the raging waters
destroy this bridge
May 10, 2018
“I have this terrible secret.”
So says my childhood fears.
“If he finds out
he will leave me.”
come to resent me.
Choose from any of the personality disorders de jour.
Any one may fit.
Depending on the time of day.
It’s embarrassing and I’m not exactly proud of the stupid things I did or the way I behaved; bills had to be paid and I had to keep up the appearance I was a functioning adult–trustworthy and dependable. But I wasn’t. And deep down, I knew it.
This is no justification for my poor choices.
“It wasn’t my fault!” Cries the child. “I didn’t choose to be abused!”
Or did I.
Perhaps I did choose to incarnate
in this particularly difficult body
to have this particular experience.
To go through hell
outside of myself.
“Life is suffering”
So they say.
And for thousands of years so many “theys” have said exactly the same thing.
I remember a time
when I was
Adults are supposed to care for and protect children. Are they not?
It seemed to me
I was always in trouble
I grew to hate my birthdays.
I grew to hate myself.
there was this thing
inside of me.
I never could
fully explain what it was.
But it was there
and it kept me alive–
Whispering, “Hold on sweet soul. Just one more day…”
I don’t know
but here it is.
And it doesn’t
I’m not so sure
what you call it.
Just as long
inside of you
And you listen–
listening to the soft-whisperings…
I would have
taken my life…
so many times ago-
just to end
when the pain
was so great-
That I thought
I would leave
It does make it a little more bearable to say:
“I chose to incarnate in this particularly difficult body to experience suffering.
And I choose to go through hell, if for no other reason—
just to see what is on the other side.”
Whether I deserve it or not, I am still alive.
Painfully. Joyfully. Alive.
And if he finds out–
all the better.
12 thoughts on “And From Your Ashes I Arise Ch 5”
Congrats on chapter 5! Keep writing, these entries are incredible!
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Thank you, Sequoia for your love and support 🙂
Thank you for continuing to share your intimate soul … sharing from the inside out…
As a foster parent we come across children that have been abused and neglected and it is us that have to pick up the pieces and try to put their lives back together. We blame the parents … how can you do this to these kids who are innocent and fragile? Don’t you realize what you are doing to their future? … taking away their opportunities to find the love joys this life has to offer. Just because you (the parents) screwed up your life doesn’t give you the right to screw up the lives of our children, our future.
When we finally put the pieces back together… and then what happens … you (the parents) cannot accept your responsibility and blame us for their emotional, behavioral and spiritual problems because we took them away from you and gave them an opportunity for love and life… If that is the case, then yes I will take the blame!
Sorry… got off on a tangent, but this is an example of how powerful your story is and the impact it makes on the lives of your readers.
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Don’t be sorry! Thank you for sharing your own struggles! I have so much respect for what you folks do. Fostering abused children…
I wish there was a simple answer. Just stop! Stop everything. Take a deep breath in and hit the reset button! But it’s not that easy. And it wears us thin.
But it also encourages me to keep going deeper, keep writing and keep my faith alive and strong. It’s a daily battle, but what other choice do we have? I’m with you, my friend. 🙂
I have so many feelings reading this chapter yet I’m speechless!
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Diane, that is the sweetest thing you could say! Thank you for your support-right from the start I’ve felt your encouragement. A welcoming friend offering a place at your table. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for your thoughtful comments.
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Glad you were inspired by your teacher and it’s obvious how much it helped along with the yoga!
It’s not easy to rise despite all the abuse and pain, this is really an inspiring journey and survival story!
“Hold on sweet soul. Just one more day…” it’s really powerful and touching and I salute your strength and your will to rise and shine and live ❤ Respect!
Hope you're having a good day 🙂
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Thank you. It means so much to me to hear this. My only hope is that it inspires others to hold on. I am having a great day! 🥰
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sure you are 😊 glad you’re having a great day ❤
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Another piece of art was born and i enjoyed the picture❤️
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I escaped my abusive home life by getting married way too young. Both of us come from hurtful childhoods, only adding to that hurt by our own failures to make good choices for so many years. I have no deep wisdom to share as to why we stayed together. At 30, after 12 years of marriage we had our first child and that changed our life. As I carried her I really begin to search for some answers as to where the 6 babies I had lost were. After years of seeking, I bought a bible, easy to read one and for four years I buried myself in it and come out having some wisdom I wished I had had in my younger years. Not that it would have changed my life but my attitude toward it would have been different I think. That beautiful baby girl took my survivor heart and shook it deeply for I would rub off on her I knew. And by this time I had recognized that in me lived something called by many names, the beast, old nature, flesh, an anger that could turn to rage if let out it cage. I wanted that cage locked tightly so it would not escape and hurt my daughter. Little did I know how to tame what was inside it. I now know and because of knowing, I can look it in the face and say back off, I have somewhere else to go inside me to draw from. For me it was God who unlocked that cage through the Bible and allow me to see hell as you say inside me. I believe we are all born fallen creatures, separated from a Holy Loving God just waiting for us to connect with Him. Sorry this is so long, but you uncapped a well and I am splashing some of my free water on you. I will quit with this…I am glad I am at chapter five…will read on. You are one of the bloggers I would love to meet face to face…see your eyes, the expressions you make as you talk, they tell a story also.