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Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

I’m a silver lining girl. The weather over here has been a bit cloudy lately. It is my hope that by sharing I might inspire you to look for yours.

When we are in pain, we brace our self to protect.

Alan and I were at Bagels With yesterday as we often are on a Saturday for lunch. It has become a bit of a tradition that after he walks, and I teach yoga, we meet. It feels comfortable. I am currently on an involuntary, self-imposed medical leave so I spent the morning in an Epsom salts bath but it felt good to keep our time honored tradition of lunching to mark the day. One of the things that has kept me sane during this recovery from injury is a sense of routine. Mine includes salt baths, acupuncture appointments and thinking good things; but it’s routine and it creates order in the mind.

While there, we bumped into my friend Carol Diamond. We were room mothers when Jake and Eliza were 2 in orientation at Unity. She is an extraordinary yoga teacher as well which is just a cherry on top. She asked how I was and I gave her the Cliff notes version of the last 2 weeks of convalescing. She inquired about my injury and I gave her a chronological account of things I thought contributed. I mentioned the myo Fascial release treatment and that parts of it felt stronger than I felt comfortable with. And that is when she said something that took my breath away. She said,” When we are in pain, we brace our self to protect”. I literally sat there in the hub bub of a loud restaurant and let those words quietly sink in to my soul. I was immediately thrown back into that reclining twist that felt so strong. I definitely tightened up in self-protection mode rather than completely surrendering. I was afraid. It wasn’t conscious, but I am sure it got in my way.

How is it any different than me burning up my adrenals wasting good energy being nervous to teach yoga in the beginning? How many times did I inadvertently almost poison an experience by letting nerves get the best of me and end up triumphant by digging deep? We are never at our best when we focus on the outcome. This was my way of bracing in protection for how I might be perceived by students. My job as a teacher is to deliver the yoga and allow people to have whatever experience comes organically. What a frivolous waste of my time to doubt and second guess my intensely personal journey. But I did it regularly and it was only in working so closely with Caroline during my 500 hour teacher training that I found a way to be deeply comfortable in my own skin. We often subconsciously protect ourselves in life. And that can lead to injury, whether physical or energetic. It also protects us from being our true self and getting to experience pure joy.

The silver lining is that I know clearly, that when I am in pain, I brace myself which makes me rigid and causes tension. I have lived this truth. My current ordeal has softened me in ways I could never have expected and set the stage for deep healing to begin.

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.

If you consider the amount of travel that Eliza has done while studying abroad this semester, it’s actually quite amazing there haven’t been more misadventures. After careful consideration, I am sure you will agree that Eliza’s travel to Budapest belongs in the “disaster of epic proportion” folder. The good news is that nobody got hurt, just very tired.

On Friday after acupuncture, I met a friend for sushi. As we were exchanging hugs goodbye, Eliza facetimed me from Prague en route to Budapest. She wanted to let me know that she confirmed her 4:45 flight out of Budapest on Sunday. The good news was that she was on the flight. The not so good news is that somehow she accidentally booked a 4:45 a.m. flight, not a comfortable late afternoon return to Madrid after a day of exploring as intended. She remained in good spirits but was incredulous. Now she would arrive in Budapest mid to late afternoon Saturday, check in to the Air B and B and return to the very same airport at 2:30 a.m. not 8 hours later. She would have to take a taxi alone at 3:00 a.m. and board her 4:45 a.m. flight as booked.

The mistake would have cost $212 to correct and we agreed she would have to take this one for the team. As it turns out, this was the easy part of her journey. She opted to stay awake until 2:30 a.m. This would be the only way for her to see Budapest at all and it might have felt like even more of a nightmare if she had to wake up after just falling asleep for an hour or two. She pre-booked a taxi to get her to the airport safely (after sending me pics of her cab drivers ID). Wouldn’t you know her flight out of Budapest was delayed which caused her to miss her connection in Lisbon. She would now be faced with spending her entire Sunday in the Lisbon airport because every passenger on her flight had to be rebooked and options were few and far between. She made the executive decision to buy a new ticket and get her ass out of dodge after a 5 hour rather than 10 hour layover. If we had known how this story was going to end, we might have chosen the $212 because in the end, it cost $300 to get her out on the first plane available. The moral of the story is that what appeared to be too harsh a consequence might have been the lesser of two evils. Hindsight is 20/20.

The silver lining is that my Eliza remained poised in a situation that would have brought most of us to our knees. She called me at 4 a.m. and I could hear the quiver in her voice. She chose to power on. She made solid choices after considering all options and will be in her own bed by tonight after leaving Prague on Saturday after lunch. I have watched her experience challenge that has rocked her to the core in moments on this trip and I have seen her flourish. I know this program is called studying abroad, but I think it should be called a once in a lifetime personal growth odyssey. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.

There is no such thing as unfinished business.

I have been on a quest to heal my body from an injury that forced me to stop and listen. It wasn’t optional. It turns out that my health challenges over the years weren’t really complete. That list includes the kidney infection that landed me in the hospital, the knee that I dislocated twice while in a ballet company, the sinus infection that sidelined me from teaching yoga a few years ago, the ensuing displaced ribs that took me off the schedule for a few more and then again in Bali while teaching there, and the total shutdown of my thyroid which had me in bed for a month limp. Upon completion of treatment of each medical crisis I assumed (you know what they say when you assume!), that I had returned to good health. But my body was carrying around a little of this and a little of that and there was unfinished business to take care of.

The silver lining is that I have embraced acupuncture and rolfing to help my body close a few doors which have either been swinging or are still slightly ajar. There is a laundry list of areas in the body I need to attend to, but the real discovery is that there are some emotional injuries I still need to heal. And the pure gold is the epiphany that the physical and emotional illness we carry around can make us sick. There is no such thing as unfinished business.

When we show up for people we love, the love shows up.

Last night Alan and I ran out at 5:00 for happy hour at Yakitori. Alan was on 24 hour call Friday and would be on Sunday so Saturday night between calls became a school night. We dined with the early birds. I wanted a Saquella cookie in the worst way for dessert but I have been eating clean (emphasis no sugar) so I decided to treat myself to a decaff latte. Alan did his best to warn me off. He reminded me how sensitive I am to the slightest bit of caffeine, particularly late in the day but I wouldn’t hear of it. At 2 a.m., as I stared at the ceiling of my bedroom, I tried meditating, did a little mental pre-packing for our trip to Europe, and found myself in utkatasana, sitting in my own intense discomfort. I think I finally dozed off around 3 only to get Eliza’s phone call at 4 a.m.

I was in what I would consider my own private hell, but when that phone rang at 4 a.m., I knew she needed me to show up for her. She was calling and I would be the mirror that would reflect back the sentiment she so desperately needed to hear… she was going to be OK. I was her voice of reason, her safety net, and her touchstone. No matter what we’re wrapped up in, unless it’s harmful to our self, we must step up and be there when those we love most are in distress and reach out. So after 1 hour of sleep, I chatted with her as she sat in the Budapest airport alone; not once, not twice but three times. I had to dust her off and prop her back up. Truthfully, she really was doing just fine but she needed to check in with someone to feel at home. So I held her hand for a bit even if it was on Facetime. I have had several opportunities to step up for Eliza while she’s been in Europe. I now know she knows I am a safe place to fall. I always have been but I believe she has softened and let me in to places that she used to protect for her own reasons. The silver lining is this is that when we show up for people we love, the love shows up.

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.

When we are in pain, we brace our self to protect.

There is no such thing as unfinished business.

When we show up for people we love, love shows up.

Some people search for gold. I am looking for silver.

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