When I started my yoga teacher training, I promised to myself that whatever I share would be true to what I experience. If that be all inspirational messages attached to pictures of me in absurd-seeming poses, then that would be what it'd be; but if the reality was something else (and I'll give you a hint: my feet still don't go behind my head), then whatever I wrote about would be something else. Well, the truth of it is that the human experience runs the gamut from light to darkness; being honest with you, and being honest with myself, means talking about both of them.
By September or October of 2016, I was on track, I felt, for one of the healthiest years I'd had yet. My physical health was relatively good, and moreover, my psychoemotional health was pretty good, too; I felt fairly resilient in the face of a year of what seemed like never-ending travel, and not a whole lot of time at home to rest and regenerate. You have, perhaps, heard
of some of these travels; the general theme, I think, is a place of challenge, but also a place of being able to handle the challenge. I was excited for the chance to write a positive end-of-the-year message, for once!
Suddenly, around November, though, the opposite. The election
was, perhaps, a microcosm of what felt like a world and structure of mental health that was crashing around me. I felt physically ill, too, as the demons that have always haunted -- and will always haunt -- me came back to visit; my body felt unable to even muster the energy to stay warm, let alone exercise, or take care of any of the other habits and routines that I am used to.
I felt like I spent a fair bit of the past few months offering reassurances to friends who seemed to be experiencing similar, with varying degrees of success. For a while, it was easy to make the motions of pretending to be okay -- and not letting on that I wasn't, because I knew that whether I was or not, they had the chance to be okay. It became difficult to reassure myself, too, when all of the usual tools in my toolbox seemed to bring nothing to bear. (At the same time, I shudder to think of what would become if I hadn't those tools available at all.)
These last couple weeks of being away from work and entirely taking time for myself have gone a long way towards recovery -- for which I am very thankful.
For those of you who read this, and who identified this year with the experience of the darkness: you are not alone. It can feel overwhelming. Your experience is uniquely yours, but you are not alone. I hope you'll remember that the light is there; check in with the people who see it sometimes.
And for those of you who read this who identified this year with the light: thank you for bringing that light with you. You, too, remember that the darkness is there; I hope that you'll check in with the people who see it sometimes, and shine the beacon brightly.