Smack dab in the middle of my yoga teacher training, 10 years ago, my marriage fell apart. It is a long, dramatic story but really the truth is we weren’t spiritually aligned. I was on a path of meditation and yoga and using both as a means of feeling Whole. He was on a different path- not wrong, just different and we were vastly unique people from the start. We shared our love for our child but part of the unraveling of the marriage produced tensions in how to divide up time and money towards raising our child. My heart felt blown into pieces as these discussions began.
I was shellshocked, devastated, in darkness and literally threw up daily for months. My body was purging itself of unwanted feelings, disbeliefs, and scary truths. I hid behind the shame and when I did talk about it, found myself blaming him, and shaming myself. The shame lived in my belly and while I had all sorts of digestion problems, the yoga, even if it was 15 minutes a day, was my anchor. It was something familiar, repetitive, often even boring. A few poses I could rely on, find ground in, and feel certain about. My yoga mat became my object-permanence. I used it not unlike a baby clings to a security blanket. Looking for it in the room, breathing a sigh of relief when the mat was there, and unrolling it felt like coming home.
During this time, I frequently cried throughout my entire practice. Tears revealing themselves during the most unlikely places, a Pigeon pose, a backbend, a Childs Pose- all shedding layers and layers of emotions held. Off the mat, tears came too, sometimes in embarrassing ways during a graceful invitation to dinner in the carpool line, or a pre school holiday party where I’d have to provide an explanation or details about my ex husband. I didn’t even have the capacity to find understanding or wisdom. I simply allowed myself to Be.
Part of what I learned in hindsight is that the beauty of the practice is to be true to yourself. Meditation allows me to be with what is, without judging it, criticizing myself or needing it to be different. It provides me with a sanctuary to witness the feelings without needing to become them. The shame held deep within my cells was ugly and not my authenticity. I could use my yoga and meditation practice over the years to love my Self back to wholeness.
It was in unrolling my mat, releasing myself of untrue and held beliefs, that I divorced myself from the Shame that had clung to me so deeply for years.