The Year My Life Broke
Long before John Marsden penned his kids’ novel, this is how I described the year 2000.
I’m sure I am not alone when I think back to all the nervousness and excitement associated with the Y2K bug in that it seems like only five minutes ago. The year 2000 was a massive life shift for me. To put it bluntly, everything really did fall to shit and my life really did seem to break. But, that aside, all life experiences – good or bad – can be useful tools for change and growth (after the fact of course and as long as we don’t let them get the better of us). Lucky for me I was two years into a committed yoga practise which kind of became the anchor I needed to get me through that year and the couple that followed. Having said that though, two years isn’t that long and it really was the first time that the essence of what I had been doing for the past 24 months really sank in. It actually truly was something way more profound and useful than simply bending, moving and stretching. As one tsunami after another belted me in a relatively short space of time, I found it OK to be alone; to sit with all the crap and to watch it unfold. As painful, uncomfortable and frightening as it was.
Any kind of change can be confronting and I had made a decision somewhere during the earlier months of 1999 to alter the course of my life at the stroke of midnight 2000. The reason for this was because essentially, most of the time, I try my damnedest to be a reasonably happy and positive person, but this had completely changed. I was tired, unhappy, moody, negative and due to my situation, actually, a complete bitch at times. It was boring and I was sick of talking about stuff that nobody but me could help me with. One day I woke up and had a profound thought; I had been waiting for seven years. Seven years that had gone in a flash.
With this thought came some realisations. Things/people weren’t going to change just because I wanted them to.It is not possible to solve someone’s problems for them. However, I had a choice.I could choose to wait and hope for another seven years, or, I could accept it and move on. Yes, I might feel sad for perhaps one more year or so but I would, inevitably Get Over It.
Of course, ending stuff is not easy and I couldn’t have imagined what else might happen in that year. I hadn’t counted on the fact that other people were on the verge of making Big Decisions too. And that their decisions would affect my life (and others’) quite profoundly. I had only planned on taking control of a situation I could resolve, but this life thingo does have a habit sometimes of chucking everything at you all at once.
I won’t go into all the gory details here suffice to say that whenever you read those lists of things that tend to be highly stressful in life, nearly everything on that list happened in the course of that year and some of the next – including divorce, tragic, untimely deaths, financial problems and redundancy.
My Mind – Stolen!!
So, in 2000, I did go a bit nuts inasmuch as my mind was completely hijacked for a while. But, perhaps because of my yoga practise, I was sane enough to know! In fact, my major saving grace was sticking to my normal routine even when I really didn’t want to leave the house. I had to go to work. I still went out with friends (but felt super sensitive and very dull. I never got the jokes – or made any – that year), I maintained my healthy diet – not that I felt like eating and in fact, my digestive system came to a grounding halt – and alway, always went to yoga because at least then, my mind was occupied and focussed on the movement. Post yoga was the only time I felt light and free for half an hour until the heaviness and fog came back again. It was a bit like being draped in a thick cloak, shuffling along and watching the world through gauze. It’s how many people describe their experiences when in severe depression really. Importantly though, I was able to keep in touch with my inner witness and always came back to my original realisation; Things might not feel Ok today, tomorrow or even the day after, but if I could just live one day at a time and keep on keeping on, it would likely be different this time next year. I didn’t get attached to this “imaginary” future because, at that point, my hijacked mind was way too occupied going over the past! It was more about being aware that nothing is forever and thus allowing the grief to happen without fighting it. After being numb for so long, it was a relief to “feel” – despite it being way too much, all at once.
“This Too Shall Pass..”
Yep, nothing endures (except cliches – which become cliches for a reason!) and it’s funny to look back on all that and think of it as being 16 years ago because when you fast forward to where you are NOW, sometimes you have ended up in a place you never would have imagined would have manifested. I can’t remember back then where I thought I would be in 16 years – age always comes in to it and that’s never a pleasant thought – but I now do the thing I am totally passionate about – I have my own yoga studio for goodness sake – I have a healthy family, two beautiful boys, a lovely tribe to hang out with and all in all a great life. Yep, what happened happened but all these amazing dreams have unfolded. And I managed to find ME again (hopefully a wiser version too).
The thing is, I am just like everyone else. My mind still gets hijacked and needs to be strictly disciplined before being sent to time out! I have to remind myself that much of what I feel fearful of is only a thought pattern – a samskara – created by me, over time, inside my head. Sixteen years have passed in a flash and although lots has happened, it really is important to continually remind ourselves that life is way too short to not be content. To spend time dwelling on the past or to waste years waiting for “Something to Happen” or the “Right Time” and thus miss prime opportunities. This is the kind of stuff that happens when we buy into all the random rubbish that pops up in our head. You may think you would never survive drastic change, that you cannot try something new that you are not brave enough, rich enough, smart enough or attractive enough. But if you start by making one decision in 2016 – to ignore that annoying inner crap – you will find that you can. Not only that but you free up space in your head to create a whole new and exciting adventure. It’s not called the Power of Now for nothing so Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!