It’s New Year’s Eve and I am home alone. Not in the “KEVIN!” Home Alone way, but in a quiet, peaceful way that surprises even me. The kids are staying with their grandparents, Phil is working a short shift at the hospital and I’m here with the dog and cats and my yoga mat. I was sharing my New Year’s Eve lack of plans with one of my teachers and I said “I need to find something to do. I’m not sure where to go,” and she simply replied “You were probably meant to be home by yourself. That’s why it worked out this way.” She was right.
I don’t really know where to begin reflecting on this year, and believe me, I’ve tried. I could list the races I ran, I could tell you about the injury I overcame, I could tell you about the number of downward facing dogs I did. But none of that seems to matter. When I wrote a post in January of 2014, I chose the word “explore” to describe what I wanted to do this year. There’s a part of me that wonders at my own intuition, the voice that was speaking deep inside of me when I picked that word from my lexicon. And then there’s another part of me that knows it was meant to be. Just a matter of things finally lining up in my life to reveal a greater purpose.
So, did I explore? Yes. I saw new parts of the country (Savannah, Georgia is gorgeous), I met new people, I raced my kayak in high waters, I overcame my terror of swimming in the lake. But, most importantly, I turned inward and explored what I was doing with my life and who I was. My secondary word of 2014 turned out to be “quit.” As in, I quit my job. Then I quit a second job. I quit eating dairy. I quit training for races when I was injured. I quit tying my entire sense of self to a job that was never going to feel fulfilling. I quit spending money for an entire month. I quit the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Run Streak when my knee started acting up. I quit trying to be something I was not.
Late in my teacher training, with my mat lined up under a window and strap attached to my foot, I hit what would be the rock bottom of my journey. Sounds insane, right? We were learning how to stretch the IT band using a strap, my instructor talking us through the proper way to turn the foot to get the full stretch. Given my six years of IT band issues, I thought this exercise would be a snap for me. Then I turned my foot slightly in the strap and felt pain radiate down the side of my leg to my hip. And there, on my mat with a room full of people around me, I began to weep. Not just tears of mild pain, but full on weeping. My mat neighbor asked if I was OK, my teacher quit teaching and came over to hand me tissue. She grabbed my foot, told me to let go of the strap and to let her take over. She circled my leg in the hip socket while I wept like a small child on the floor. She asked what was wrong and I simply said “I don’t know,” as the tears flowed out of me and I felt like everything I was holding on to needed to go. And in that moment, the sun streamed in through the window like a laser beam on to my face. My mat neighbor, Anna, gasped and that’s when I knew I was done. I was done fighting the fight. I was done working so hard to be what I couldn’t possibly be anymore. I was done. I knew I had to quit my job. I knew I had to give up.
Yes, I know it’s cliche that I “found” myself this year, but there are people who go through their entire life without knowing who they are or what they want. I figured it out and no matter what I do next, it will align with this goal. Coming to yoga, completing teacher training, finding this community – it all helped me to heal. To heal wounds that were so old and so deep that I didn’t realize I had used them as a foundation for my entire life. So my purpose now, my hope, is to bring that healing to others.
So, what of that 2015 word? Heal. I hope to continue to learn how to help others find the healing they need in their life, while I continue to find my way through my own wild heart.
I wish you all joy and love for the new year. I hope you find your word, your purpose, and embrace it with your whole heart.