My client lays before me on my Thai mat, having explained the various issues he's currently facing. Our conversation dissolves as he stretches his long legs toward me and attends to breathing deeply. I kneel before him, eyes closed, pausing for a silent Wai Kru. I wait for my own inner chatter to quiet. When … Continue reading Compassionate Presence and Healing Touch, A Lineage of Love
We were supposed to have a holiday party together. Though it’s been off my calendar for weeks, I haven’t forgotten. There’s a snowstorm coming in. We'd talked about how much fun we'd have sequestered at his place during the first snowstorm, so I am sick with grief and dread and missing him. All day long … Continue reading Grief and Longing, Loneliness and Depression
I'm tired and unhappy when I arrive but one of my students is waiting for me; I feel better when I see her. While I'm checking in my class, another student I haven't seen in months appears at the doorway. Delighted, I come out from behind the desk to hug her. While I check her … Continue reading Compassion, Trust and My Work In The World
I prepare to teach class the day before Thanksgiving after more nightmares and very little sleep. I'm so tired and anguished I can barely think straight, the drive to the studio is brutal, and I go to the door full with dread and precariously low on self-confidence. There are out of town guests and students … Continue reading Reverence For the Innate Perfection of All People
content warning: drug abuse, suicidal ideation I miss him and haven't heard from him so I send tender, vulnerable text messages. His responses are terse and defeated. In the language of marriage research, we've played out the demand/withdraw dynamic--except that I've set aside my defenses in hopes of helping my partner feel safe, and when … Continue reading The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (1/2)
I am on the phone with a local radio host for an interview about yoga and wellness for entrepreneurs. She tells me she always prays before the show to center herself, so I am silent as she thanks the almighty for the opportunity to help people, humbly asking that others be moved toward healing. Finally … Continue reading Emotional Triage and My Own Emerging Wisdom
All I have with me are my purse and the clothes I'm wearing. I open the Prazosin and take one, then crawl into bed beneath a tapestry of woodland creatures. When I wake it is early morning, before my alarm. There is a sense of increased well-being waking up in Margy's home. I have indeed … Continue reading An Unusual Apology from Darth Vader
(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation, graphic imagery I don't want this life; a life that's difficult and lonely. I don't want to keep on with my impotent love, struggling for something I can't have. I was so stupid and naive with my hope for this relationship and my own healing. I want to die. I … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (2/3)
It's Friday afternoon. I have one more class to teach and Kevin* said he'd call me. My head hurts, both eyes are twitching. I'm exhausted, anxious and nauseous, unable to think about anything else. I tried to look at some emails; I didn't care and my eyes twitched harder. I barely kept it together to … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)
It's pitch dark again when I wake in the middle of the night. After a good day full of support and love from friends, I'm disappointed to find my thoughts racing and breathing shallow--again. But I'm not surprised. I place my hand over my heart and try to breathe more deeply, which takes a great … Continue reading Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection
My ability to invert fully has not been a high priority in my recovery; it's been months since I even bothered trying. One effect of my post-concussive syndrome is that while I retain my ability to handstand, an attempt results in nausea, dizziness, disorientation--or a crazy-feeling bout of crying just because I feel weird. I … Continue reading Startling Power and Perspective From Upside-Down
Usually I wake a few times at night, blankets askew, irritated. I've either had a really troubling nightmare or heard some bump in the night; likely both. So I lay there, exhausted, frustrated, needing and wanting sleep that doesn't come. Eventually the alarm goes off and I rise, grudging. Some time later I'll unroll my … Continue reading Sensational, Asinine Things Like “Blossom Your Heart Open”
On Saturday morning I wake from disturbing dreams: of my abuser coming after me--and of my cat purring in my arms while I rub my face against her silky neck and say to my friend "I know she's died, but she feels real." Of course, Kira did die and I'm awake only a few moments … Continue reading Healing and Unconditional Positive Regard
I'm in the studio with friends, colleagues, and a photographer for a photo shoot. When I walk to the front of the room to teach my segment, it feels odd transitioning from student to teacher. Before long I settle into my own teaching rhythm and get everyone rolling around on the floor, preparing to rest. … Continue reading PTSD, Yoga, and Why I Hate the F*cking Gong
I had an odd midday meeting between classes, and now I have an hour before I need to be at Durham VA to teach. Coffeeshops make me uneasy now, so I figure I'll get some work done in my car. I park in the lot facing traffic--I can't tolerate the sound of it behind me, … Continue reading Why Showing Up Early Is Terrible and Wonderful
In the morning, I startle out of a dead sleep and feel immediate dread. I arm myself before leaving with a pair of scissors. He has guns, I have scissors. Still, I hold them inverted, poised like a dagger, livid as I...
I only get twenty minutes and I have to go slow. My closest friend goes with me. I'm occupied chattering with him and then there are these girls running the trail ahead of us. They're slow. I'm supposed to be running slow--I should stay behind them. I try to...
Coming back to teaching after the accident is a little like taking a sea kayak out beyond the breakers. First, I have to...
I remember the little goat, but I can't quite re-experience it. Instead I'm aware of the present moment body sensations; tense and headachey. I ultimately lay on the floor for the rest of the session where at least...
That's not an unusual morning--some ugly dream and then I wake up feeling awful. Naturally, I want to go back to sleep and try again--maybe I won't feel so tired and desperate. I understand that each choice I make will either take me deeper into that black pit of despair--or out of it. The coming out won't be fast, it won't be painless...
I struggle with deep shame over my mental illness. Though I'm very clear it is not my fault, though I know that this is a response common to trauma survivors--the shame is very real, very persistent, and very convincing. It tells me that I am too powerless, too broken, that I will never recover or experience healthy love. I am so afraid that these things are true, I'm tempted to stay silent in...