Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Day My Heart Opened Back Up

The title is deceiving. It didn't happen on one specific day. It actually took a process of many, many years for my heart to open back up. Patience, life lessons and a lot of acceptance is what finally did the trick. But it was not an easy journey.

If I am being honest I have to say that in my youth I was a fairly unemotional girl. Nothing really excited me much nor disturbed me. I guess many people would look at this as being contented. Perhaps I was in some ways, but I think that I was generally naive and in my own little world whereas contentment comes from a life of different situations and the ability to find peace in spite of everything you have experienced. Contentment, as I look at it, is a choice that comes out of wisdom. So as a young girl, let's go with naive and in my own world.

As a teenager and young adult I founded many strong bonds with friends and then had a string of monogamous relationships each lasting about 3 years a piece. Finally one day I chose to end a 7 year relationship and for the first time out of my own understanding that it was not good for me. This is when I started to really find myself and awaken. I had been taking yoga, and from that went into massage school and then yoga teacher training. I quit my 9-5 corporate job and became my own employer. I met my soon-to-be-husband and changed my entire life around. And it appeared that things were going good in my life. In fact, they were for many years.

And then one of my best and dearest friend died unexpectedly. A year later, a second close and dear friend died unexpectedly. What was happening? Although I had experienced loss and grief before, it had never hit so close to home. But that wasn't the real issue. The bigger issue was my own guilt over not being there for both of them when they may have needed me. Or at least that is how I internalized it. My first girlfriend had been going through a very tough time. The weekend before she died I was supposed to stop over and because of an unrelated event that changed my availability, I never got to see her that day. She said it was okay, but I heard the disappointment in her voice. And I knew that I should have driven back up to see her. But I was tired and thought I'd see her another time. My second friend was upset with me over a miscommunication involving a third party that had inflated and lied about a situation. So I was not mad at her, but she was not talking to me. When she died her daughter told me that she had realized she was wrong but didn't know how to approach me. Why I didn't push to understand and try to contact her more I felt was my own fault. Insert more guilt.

The grief over these losses spread across my life in many ways, and I began to close down. Many of my other relationships changed in one way or another - all equally UN-balanced. My body started to change. I started to hold onto weight, injuries crept up constantly, my yoga practice declined to the point of only being able to do very gentle type classes and postures without hurting myself. And although I poured all of myself that I had left into the yoga studio, it felt different too.

So what changed for me? When or how did I begin to open back up?

Well, I have to say that it is a number of things. First of all, I started aligning to the 11:11 energies at least two years ago. I began seeing this all over the place. I didn't know what it meant, but I started taking note. I started doing some serious work on myself for the first time in years too. Not through counseling, but through meditation/self realization, yoga practices, my trainings and writing. I have four friends that I meet with every month since my first girlfriend passed away. We continued to hold sacred space for each other to process our life's troubles and triumphs until we were ready to rise again, collectively, as well as separately. When my Grandmother's health started to fail and she went into the nursing home last Spring, I poured myself into being there for her all the way through her death. I performed energy work, read to her, talked to her about dying, and hopefully allowed her to leave that body free from any karma that she would have to bring back in the next life. It was a spiritual process for both she and I. And although it was terribly emotionally challenging and I was not there the moment that she passed, I believe it helped me to let go. And then, I went to Peru.
Tracey in Machu Picchu, Peru

In Peru I had a shamanic healing and chakra balancing session, performed many Incan rituals that reestablished my connection to mother earth (pacha mama), the sun and solar energies, and understanding as well as honoring my shadow side. When I met Solara, who had first written about the 11:11 ascension, I had an energy shift occur just after we left her house and saw a full rainbow around the sun. The entire experience was transformative. Energy moved through my body and down into the earth in such a beautiful way that literally anchored me back to the earth and realigned my entire being. I felt a cleanse the entire next day and afterwards a huge shift. I came home from my trip in complete truth and awakened. I quickly moved the yoga studio. I felt a huge shift in the relationships around me and began shedding weight even though I have not changed a thing about my diet (I still love carbs).

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of taking 6 yoga classes by my current batch of advanced 500 hour yoga teacher trainees. Each class was so incredible. Through this group's classes I was able to notice the changes in my body and my practice for the first time. So many things I have been unable to do without pain or resistance were suddenly available like it was nothing. Even challenging binds and mudras that involve the shoulder were achieved for the first time in about 7 or 8 years as if I never had a frozen or dislocated shoulder. One of my students said, "I saw you putting your foot behind your head and was like - what!?" (Well, it ALMOST got completely behind my head, anyway. But thanks for the nod!)

When I think of my girlfriends who have passed, I still get a little teary and miss them. Same with Grandmom. But like I tell my students all the time, "the body never lies." It is evident to me through my body, my relationships and other areas of my life that I have finally let go of grief and guilt on a physical and mental level and that my heart is open once again.

The advise that I have for others who are also working on reopening their heart is:

1. First of all, be kind to yourself and give it time. You have to learn to love yourself...maybe for the first time, if not then again.

2. Surround yourself by positive, true and supportive friends, family and communities and remove yourself from the ones who are not (this is not always easy and some times we mistake someone being physically there for someone who should be there).

3. When things are dark, search out the light. And when things are light, honor the dark...this way it can't sneak up on you!

4. Listen to your body. If you are having repeated injuries, guess what? Do something different! Restorative or Gentle yoga or Hatha with modifications - and honor those all the time - not just some of the time. Wait until such a time as you feel a shift before trying to do anything more.

5. Have a spiritual practice that supports your growth and ascension. And allow yourself to go deep.

6. Be there for someone in need. There is nothing more healing for your own heart than helping another.