Every mother can tell you about their long days and sleepless nights caring for their family. We do it for the love of our family and we do it with love. I did it too until I started to break down and break open from juggling many responsibilities with not enough nourishment for my own soul.
Eventually, I began to feel like I was dying inside. As if I was a plant with no sunshine to warm me, no water to nourish me while stuck in dark, cold, Manitoba mud. Fifteen years ago I was over burdened with a stressful work environment, the responsibility of four children, a hobby farm and a husband that went MIA (missing in action) several nights a week. My journey through the mud was systematic. The plan was find out what is wrong with me. Then fix it or change it.
It seemed to be a good plan. Except that when I began to change something about myself it did not fix anything at all. Sometimes, it would make things worse for me at home. As I tried new ways to find out what I was feeling and what happened to my happiness, it became clear that this plan just irritated and inconvenienced my husband. His inability to support and comfort me through this time of growth (which certainly did not feel like growth at the time) was creating a chasm between us. To be fair we did the best we knew how to do for each other at the time.
Still searching for answers to my discomfort and new ways to make life feel happier, I came across a yoga video at the local library. I took it home and ended up renewing it throughout the entire summer; practicing daily. It became a mission for me. My body was getting stronger. Muscles in my arms were becoming more defined. I could ride my bicycle further.
Later, that fall I was so excited to learn that a yoga class was being offered in a town close by. Almost three years later I was able to do some amazing things with my body. Yoga was strengthening my body and practicing meditation was calming my mind. I felt grounded and centered. Confrontations at work were not a big deal anymore as I became the eye of the storm no longer blown into the storms. Yoga showed me what my body needed day to day. I began to listen. Slowly, I began to see the truth of my life.
The stronger and happier I became the more jealous and resentful my husband became of me. My journey over several years to discover myself through poetry writing, journaling, watercolour classes, yoga, meditation, Reiki and so on was getting out of hand for him. As I was changing and letting go. He held on tighter. His rages began to become frantic and unpredictable.
Everything that brought me some joy brought out my husband’s jealous, nasty behaviour. He wanted to squash this out of me; to keep me in place. Through yoga I had made new friends with new ideas. He wanted this, too. For a time he joined our after yoga class tea group and that went well for both of us for a while. By the time he decided to join the yoga class, the connection between him and I was fragile.
Keenly interested in yoga and the after yoga class tea topics I was nourished. It felt like I began to awaken from a long sleep. However, the awareness of what my life had evolved into while I grew up and slept through was not enough to save the marriage. His frustrations grew along with his verbal abuse. The rages grew more erratic until the day I left; I knew his rage could finally destroy me. I was afraid of him that day.
Since he would not leave, I told him I would. As quickly as I could, I grabbed a suitcase filled it with my clothes. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do next but I knew I had to get out of there, right away. This woman can be very fast when necessary.
By the time I had driven into the next town the realization of what had just transpired hit me. There I was with no plan, no money, a car and a suitcase. My bank account had $50 in it till payday and my job was about to finish for the school year. But I was safe and I was never going back.
The journey that followed was hell on earth for a while. Slugging through the mud but with the help of friends, I picked up my big girl panties, found a lawyer, found an apartment, and found a summer job. Harvest Food Bank helped me for a year and a half till I was able to get on my feet. Eventually, I went back to school became a Registered Massage Therapist and slowly built a new life for myself and my youngest child.
Yoga and meditation were the foundations that sustained me after I left my husband.
Yes, you can say yoga changed my life. Yoga taught me to listen to my inner guidance, stand like a mountain, bend like a willow in a storm, move forward when the time is right, stretch like a dog, cat, pigeon, cow, fish, snake, twist like an eagle and roar like a lion when necessary. Also, to look up to the heavens, bow in prayer and rest the body and mind afterwards. The teachings of Buddha, the Jewel in the Lotus came to my awareness during this time. This is where I learned about the mud and how the beautiful lotus cannot grow unless there is mud under it. This taught me there is much value in the mud of our journeys towards happiness and enlightenment.