Easter Sunday and I eat a delicious brunch, chat with some old friends and some new ones and then spend some time alone on the porch with a couple of books and my journal. I go to the garden blessing but skip out on the Easter hike.
I love holidays at Yasodhara Ashram and I’m beginning to realize it’s because there’s this beautiful coming together as a community but there’s also space for me to do my own thing. There’s space for balance and I’m invited to create a balance that works for me.
This year at Christmas I started my morning with a walk on the beach alone and then made my way to the main building for an incredible brunch. It was my first Christmas away from my family and it was really beautiful. I spent most of the day with the community but the morning and the evening alone. And it was exactly what I needed, by 7 pm all I wanted to do was cuddle up and read my book and there was no social pressure to do otherwise.
A lot of what we work on here is supporting each other to move towards emotional independence, and so when I told a friend I was skipping out on the Easter hike she smiled and told me to have a good time. I felt supported to do what I needed to do and so I did. And there’s a beautiful calmness and a feeling of great power that comes from being able to give myself what I need.
Slowly, I am learning to bring balance to my life, and with this balance I am beginning to become whole.
I sat on my bed, looking out the window for a moment before heading to the Rose Ceremony, a ceremony of commitment held here at Yasodhara Ashram. I thought about renewing my commitment to learning as much as I can in this lifetime. And I thought about how every day I have the opportunity to renew that commitment.
Some days I wake up worried, but choose to use my strength.
I wake up tired, but move forward anyways.
Feel scared, but choose to be courageous.
Every day is an opportunity to practice becoming more fully who I want to be.
Living and working in an intentional community I bump into others more often than when I have been able to go home to my own apartment. I often run into different opinions and there’s no hiding when I make a mistake. It’s definitely challenging and is also an amazing opportunity to learn to negotiate and to learn to admit when I’m wrong. I’ve been living here a year and a half and it’s been the most intense period of personal transformation I’ve ever experienced.
Somehow the pressure and limitations have pushed me to change. There’s no victory unless there’s something to overcome. You can’t be courageous unless your scared. So the challenges have been gifts and the visible and invisible support of the community is what has allowed for great transformation.
And it isn’t over yet.
I am grateful for what I have learned so far here so far and for all the support. And I look forward to what learning the spring and summer here will bring.
I am studying my anxiety.
Today I am working with a group of people that have just arrived at the Ashram to take part in the One Month Program. We are working together in the garden harvesting sunchokes. We finish the job just in time and arrive late to reflect with the others.
My mind starts spinning with facts about first impressions and habit forming – about how since this was there first day it would have been better if we had been early so they could have more smoothly introduced to the process.
At the same time my mind starts spinning about how since we are late things will go wrong and how now their experience of reflection is ruined. A dramatic part comes in and starts grasping for evidence that I have ruined everything.
As my afternoon continues I move in and out of the anxiety. Once it has started spinning, it’s challenging to stop completely. I breath deeply and it subsides for a few moments then it comes back.
The rest of the afternoon I spend organizing changes so that I can spend the day at a workshop. A part of me doesn’t believe I deserve to go and as I make the changes the anxiety continues to come up. My anxiety is connected to my self worth.
I write about it in my reflection. I talk about it with co-worker. It continues to spin but as I begin to understand it better it begins to have less power.
And as I write now a part of me is still spinning, still unsettled, but that’s okay.
Anxiety is a part of my life, but it doesn’t need to control my life. And as I see more clearly where it is coming from – a place of shame, and a dramatic place – I can make better decisions about how I want to live and work.