Approximately one year ago today, the story I had written for myself came crashing down. I had put an immense amount of effort into creating this story for myself, creating names, titles, and an identity around my work, my image, really a false projection of how I appeared on the outside. My story consisted mostly of "mother", sprinkled with therapist at that hippy dippy charter school, yoga teacher with a thriving private clientele, and successful business woman. I was trying to fit myself into this mold of what I envisioned as the perfect life.
This old story was not working, though. This became apparent with a slap-in-the-face loss of a contract at that "perfect" hippy dippy charter school I was working for. This school was my anchor, my rock, my perception of the ideal job situation. I could live in the world of "the man", working as an occupational therapist, but surrounding myself with people and a philosophy centered on nature, art, and love, which I truly treasured. But the universe had other plans for me (I find myself silently chuckling at this new age philosophy of "universe", but I'm beginning to trust its intelligence, through a realist lens. More on that, later.)
When I got the sudden email telling my that I had been replaced at my job, the devastation that I experienced was like nothing else I've faced on my path. It was as bad, if not worse, than the death of a loved one. It was death of my ego. I found myself asking the question, "If I am not 'therapist at the beautiful, hippy charter school' then who am I?!" This cut to the core of my questions of self-worth, purpose, and meaning in the world.
About a month after this blow to my identity, I met a man (outside of my seemingly perfect marriage) whom I would soon fall in love with. We met through work, and it was innocent at first. His presence helped to pull me out of the depths of my depression and devastation. I began questioning all of the other stories that I had created for myself - sacrificial mother, unstoppable wife and homemaker. My world was falling apart.
The details of this relationship still feel a bit too tender to fully reveal, and I am still recovering from the destruction that it caused. However! This destruction was necessary for the reconstruction of my authentic self. The old way was not working, and it was time to pave the way for a new story to emerge.
To top it all off, my endeavor to create a thriving private yoga practice was no where near as successful as I had hoped. I had made connections with a few beautiful clients along the way, gained incredible life experience as a yoga teacher, but was left with a next-to-nothing income. After losing my biggest school therapy contract and grasping at straws as I reached out for yoga referrals, this was yet another realization that something needed to shift.
Oh! And I failed to mention the cancer scare after finding a lump in my breast, and my time spent with 6 months of sonograms, diagnostic imaging, and eventually a (negative!) biopsy in June of 2016. I was facing both literal and figurative death.
So I found myself at the space between stories (see note below). The old way was not working. There was an earthquake to my being that literally broke me down all the way to the foundation. I was questioning who I was, my purpose, my passion, my roles, my relationships. I was questioning it all!
With these broken peices of heart, mind, and body, I began to assemble myself back up from the rubble. With reservation, I accepted a promotion at my job, stepping into a more administrative role as lead therapist. I took on a new contract at a school that didn't necessarily fit my old mold (and ended up loving it!). I started teaching more yoga classes at a local studio, and shifted my focus to building relationships with the yoga community. My husband and I opened up our relationship to explore the many facets of sexuality, love, and intimacy. (Whoa! More on this later.) I began to explore my need for play, adventure, and time away from family and work. Quality time with family started to trump the importance of quantity time.
It was around September of 2016 that I really fell into my groove. I had a good work balance between adult vs. child interaction, extrovert vs. introvert time. My yoga classes are abundantly thriving, and I'm able to share my passion and inspiration with a beautiful group of student friends I became a part of a small women's circle, which has helped to meet my needs for meaningful relationships and intimate connection. My husband and I continue to explore the landscape of open relationship without the need to seek something outside. I've stepped into a more sensual, playful, and adventurous way of experiencing life.
The new story is still emerging, and I am cautious to not build an identity around these new roles. I know that it can all come crashing down, and some day, when the time is right, it probably will. I still struggle with days of depression, with questions of the big "why??", with doubting my self worth, but I have a new lens through which to view these struggles. This is my story. I don't have it all figured out, but I pray that my vulnerability offers you hope on your own path. The darkest times are necessary periods of reconstruction that we must endure before we emerge into light.
This applies to personal struggles, as well as the current state of the world.
I view the current events of the world with optimism, with excitement, with hope. I see my own story as a metaphor for the bigger picture. Many of you might call me naive and suggest that I wake up to reality, but I don't find this thinking to be useful. That is the old way. All we thought we knew is crashing down, and this is a good thing! People are waking up from their complacency. They are speaking out for what they believe and more importantly, taking action.
We are beginning to see through the veil of democracy. It might get worse before it gets better, but the old story is no longer working. So we have no choice. We will fumble through the rubble, and build the more beautiful world together. The answers and solutions may not yet be apparent, but they will emerge as we place one foot in front of the other, as we create a new path, moment by moment, step by step, hand in hand.
"The revolution is Love."
~ Charles Eisenstien
(*Note* Many of the themes and inspiration for this post have come from my teacher, Charles Eisenstein. He speaks a lot about living in a time of "the space between stories". We've realized that there is no way the old story can continue on, that we are shifting into the "new and ancient story", but the space in between is messy, baffling, and often frightening. In a course I'm taking with him, I've been asked to write about the parallels of one of my own stories crashing down, and how this is symbolic of a new and more beautiful story emerging. This is my story.)
About Me, Rachel Heart
Writing about my musings with yoga, dance, nature, and truth. I share from the space of an open heart.