The Starting Line

This year has been extremely transformative. I have not had or not taken the time to write anything, as I have been busy with life. I completed two semesters of graduate school, my father came to live with us, we got married, bought a house, I quit my job and quickly found a new one, and all this in the midst of the chaos of the pandemic and political and social turmoil of 2020. And yet, if feel like I am standing at the starting line of a new life.

I had no idea that the trip we took to Florida at the very beginning of March would be the last bit of geographical freedom we would enjoy for a long time. I felt like there was a big shift going on inside of and around me, but I had no clue how much change was headed our way. Now, as I enjoy the last few days being home before I start my new part time position, I feel as though even more change is to come. I assume that the world will be very different in a few months, but the changes I anticipate seem to be at a much more personal level.

For about a month now, I have been practicing yoga in the morning and meditating at some point throughout the day. Some days I even took a little time to journal. The more I do these things, the more I feel centered, balanced, and the days feel less heavy. My back pain is slowly reducing and my chiropractor says it is healing. I have also taken the first steps to dipping my toes into the world of Reiki.

Although I am a bit of a critical observer, nothing but positive results have followed my pursuit of demi-spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation. So why not? My mother-in-law is a Shamanic Reiki healer, and I have had three sessions (distance sessions) so far. I also had one session with a different healer right after returning from Florida in early March. Each session has been different, profound, and beneficial.

I have set out to educate myself about Reiki, chakras, and spiritual self-healing. I randomly selected some books from amazon and ordered a bunch. So far, the book introducing the history and basics of Reiki has been most attractive. However, I have read farther in the chakra book, and find it all to be quite fascinating. I am stating to connect the dots in some of the terminology used in my yoga practices and what they really mean. I am also starting to learn that all good advice in life seems to be the same, only said in different ways and through different approaches. My current favorite is “relax, nothing is in control.”

Stuck in Chicago

You would think that in our current pandemic reality I would have plenty of time to write. In truth, I do have more time; however, I am still “working” in my ghost town daycare that just won’t seem to shut down. I teach art at my son’s new daycare. I am used to 90 or more kiddos coming in and out of my studio all day long. Since Monday, I average 20 kids total. So, I do have more free time, although, it is not the same as many other people sheltering in place.

Where do I start with everything that has happened? I started school shortly after the holidays and applied for a job at a fancy daycare to supplement my income. For a while I was working full time, attending graduate school part time, and retained my old job part time. It was incredibly stressful. I eventually broke down. I stopped attending regular meetings and stopped calling my sponsor. I relapsed in a new and terrifying intensity. Everything got very bad very quickly, and I was ready to watch it all burn. I was done with life and didn’t see any coming back to it. I can still remember how I felt, and how much it hurt. I was exhausted and alone in my mind. As my new sponsor explained it, it was like having my soul sucked out of me. It was a profoundly painful experience. I was pushed further towards the edge in my insanity. The paradoxical nature of this was that it wasn’t such a scary place to be in the moment. Living is hard. Dying is easy, and I was tired of fighting.

What was I fighting? I suppose it was a false sense of control over my life and my disease. I was running myself ragged trying to do it all and ignoring the most important parts of my life. It makes me wonder if any of it is worth the trouble. Money comes and goes, and by the time I’m done with grad school I’ll be about $60,000 in student loan debt. I thought that finding a career path that would allow me to be of service to people would complement my spiritual program. Now I’m having doubts.

I don’t know if I would have made it out of this relapse alone. Thankfully, my partner called me on my bullshit and quickly got me to a meeting. I got a new sponsor right away, and my partner and I were able to go on our trip to Florida. Six days in Florida bliss felt like it lasted six seconds. We haven’t even been back for a full week yet, and it feels like it has been months. I hate living in Chicago. I am not built for the lack of sunshine, the oppressive overcast skies, air that hurts your face, and weather that confines me to my home. I can’t hack it anymore, and I’m just plain tired of living this way. In Florida I was filled with hope and inspired by the possibilities of the future. As I sit here in my empty studio, watching the rain on the sidewalk outside, I just want to cry. That feeling of wanting to get away from here creeps back in to my heart, and I wonder how long I will last this time.