I had hoped that by October, the turbulation of September would have quieted and the new month would bring a sense of peace and calm. So far, the exact opposite has happened! I tried to make it through my week of teaching yoga in Cambridge and traveling to three scheduled talks with my worn down brakes and leaking exhaust system before I had an entire day to get my car fixed, but just after I left my talk that Tuesday night, my check engine light came on while driving home. This scared me and I didn’t feel safe driving it into Cambridge the next day. I brought my car to my mechanic first thing in the morning, but he said he was too busy to look at it until the afternoon. I had to cancel my two yoga classes in Cambridge that day. By the end of the day, I had not heard anything from my mechanic, nor did I hear anything Thursday morning. Therefore, I had to cancel two more classes that day. When I went over to see if he had had a chance to look at it, he said that the oxygen sensor was going off, most likely due to the exhaust leak. I confirmed that I would bring it back the following day to get it fixed, as I had originally scheduled. He shook his head and said, “next week.” He had given my appointment away because he was “waiting to hear back from me.” I stood there in disbelief. I was the one waiting for him to let me know if it was safe to drive or not! I just cancelled the bulk of my income for that week waiting for him and now I was back in the same position of needing to drive it at least 12 hours to teach and present before I had a day to leave it with him again. And now the check engine light was on in addition to the other problems that he said were unsafe to drive with on Monday! (at least this big problem put my computer problems into perspective!)
After a couple of days, I decided that if my car could get through the four hours of highway driving that I needed on Monday, I could cancel my Tuesday yoga class and get the work done then. This fifth and biggest repair meant that all of my income from this year (literally the entire amount) has gone into car repairs and gas for my car. (!!) I had known all along that driving into Cambridge to teach yoga was completely unsustainable, but these numbers made this fact crystal clear. Not only did I not make any money doing this for the past four months, I lost money doing it! (And the same for my talks).
I’ve also been greatly struggling with my health in a number of ways. I went to the eye doctor two weeks ago so that I could order new contacts, and in the two previous days of that appointment, I started to lose my vision. She asked me which was the lowest row I could read with my glasses and I couldn’t even make out the top row at all! Without my glasses, my eyes kept fogging up. “My eyes… I can’t see!”. She told me that I have holes in my corneas. I have been struggling with extreme dryness and pain in my eyes since I finished the PCT (as well as several times before). I have also made no improvements in my intestinal problems and this sickness has resulted in major skin issues. I recently did some research and discovered that my intestinal linings have holes in them, meaning that toxins leak into my bloodstream instead of being eliminated as waste. I won’t go into detail, but the result is clearly visible in my face! In the year since I finished the PCT, there hasn’t been one day that I would be okay with someone taking my picture. I have had a lot of opportunity to practice the thought, “I am not my body. I am not my appearance. I am so much more than that” before every talk that I have given because of it. There have been so many days where I have felt I can’t even walk down the street to get a cup of coffee because of how I look. I am so tired of this! The infections from the PCT have turned into an auto-immune disease!
I fear that I am going to have to eliminate all sugar, gluten, dairy, and coffee from my diet in hopes of having a chance to repair this damage and I have no idea how I will possibly be able to manage this. I can’t stand the thought of never being able to eat all of the things that I enjoy!
After I got my car fixed this week, I finally had the chance to drive up to the White Mountains for my second hike of the year. My intestines were hurting again. I think they don’t like it when I have to get up at 5am, because I ate the same breakfast that I always do (just like on the day I drove up to Pinkham Notch in August!). I managed to make it through the hike, but it was hard! I felt like I am not built for hiking at all! I am so slow on the downhills! My face looked awful, my intestines hurt, and my nose wouldn’t stop running on the way down. When I got into town to get some dinner (the same place that I stopped at on my AT hike five years ago before staying at Chet’s hostel!), I discovered that the wellness manager at the Cambridge Health Alliance cut four of my six yoga classes per week starting on Monday (due to lack of attendance and lack of rooms to hold the classes in). I couldn’t believe it! I was the one who had asked several times if the schedule for October would remain the same in the past couple of weeks (and got no answer) and informed her that there was nothing scheduled in the system beyond October 2nd. She had no idea… And this is how I was thanked? For some unknown reason, she is keeping the class that has had zero students in the entire 4+ months it has been offered. In an instant, the majority of my monthly income that I had planned on receiving was erased! Why are employees required to give at least 2 weeks of notice to their employers before leaving, but employers can cut the bulk of an employees hours with no notice?
I felt so drained on the drive home that I almost had trouble staying awake. I also couldn’t see the road very well! It was too dark and I had trouble finding the off ramps. When I got home, I checked my headlights and discovered one was out! So only a few days later and I have to go back and spend even more money to get another part fixed! (You have got to be kidding me! This would almost be funny… but it isn’t). By the time I got inside, I didn’t even have the energy to get undressed and crawl into my bed. I just slept on my couch in my hiking clothes for awhile. The next day, I couldn’t see at all. My eyes didn’t like me wearing contacts for 16 hours! I couldn’t see the computer screen well enough to type anything. And although my legs weren’t as sore as after climbing Mt. Washington, my body was extremely tired and I was having a hard time recovering.
On this earthly plane, everything seems to be unravelling greatly for me. On a physical and financial level, I am doing very poorly. The universe has made it clear that I can’t keep commuting to Cambridge to teach for a system that can’t retain students. I know that I have to find clients in my own neighborhood. I’ve known this for a long time, but am still struggling with how I can bridge this divide. As of the past couple of weeks, I have two people who are verbally interested in lessons, but no definite scheduling, which I really need.
Despite all of these problems, I feel strong on a spiritual level. There are days that I feel overwhelmed with the stress, but on other days, I feel perfectly calm. From all of the comments that I have received through teaching yoga to a wide array of students and from the presentations that I have given, I know that I am doing what I should be. I am making a positive impact on people and I am creating a path for myself out of thin air. I have given 13 presentations so far and have 17 more scheduled over the next 6 months. 30 presentations, all through my own efforts, is pretty significant. I envisioned the idea just over a year ago, put several months of work into it, and spent several more months seeking venues to present to. I still have more work to do in trying to unravel resistance that I am currently being met with in finding other venues than libraries, but I remain hopeful for more opportunity in this area in the future. For now, I have accepted that I need this current unraveling to bottom out and then I can start climbing my way up again.
I am grateful for the success I have had, for yoga teachers who place their hand on my sternum when I mention all that is going wrong to remind me that all of those things are out of my control and that I can still tap into the peace and strength that reside within my being, for being able to walk to the ocean, and for being reminded of things like this:
The recent showdown between My Ego and Being:
by yoga teacher Kevan Gale
“Ego: Things will be really good when this happens, or when that challenge is behind me and when I have a little more…
Being: Stop complaining you ungrateful jerk. Don’t your realize how amazing life is?
E: Yah, it is pretty good…but sometimes I feel like things could be better?
B: Better, did you just say better? Are you kidding me? Do you know what it is like for most of humanity? Let me tell you…at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day, while one in three on less than $1 a day. War, disease and famine are so rampant that 21,000 children will die today. And you want more?
E: I get that but I just thought it would be fun if we had a little more of this or that. Think of what it would be like if we won the lottery.
B: We? Don’t bring me into this. Listen kid, you go to bed with a full belly, you have loving friends and family, you’re healthy and alive…you already won the lottery.
E: Okay you are starting to make sense, tell me more.
B: You just happen to live on a tiny planet that supports life in an extremely vast universe. You should be grateful just to have the ability to contemplate your own existence. When’s the last time you really enjoyed the rarity of life? Have you smelled the air, tasted the fruit, felt the breeze and heard the concert of life you get to enjoy everyday?
E: No, not really. What else?
B: Your life is short, very short. In fact, when compared to the cosmic calendar you are a blink of an eye, literally 1/4th of a second.
E: That’s so depressing. Why are you so morbid?
B: Don’t view it as depressing, view it as an opportunity. You have an opportunity to live fully NOW.
E: How can I change?
B: You can stop wasting your time thinking about all the things that don’t really matter and let me do more experiencing. You can stop accepting negativity and get out of my way so I can love, laugh and live.
E: Okay but what happens to me?
B: Don’t fear, over time you’ll begin to understand the futility in your attempt to be “I” and you’ll rejoice in the enormity of “We”.”
It will all be okay. It has to.