Toward the end of the relationship with the guy who still has the antique mirror that reminds me of my Nanny, and the piece of jewelry that belonged to my mother’s great Aunt, I went to my best friend’s summer house on Cape Cod. It was January, and at that time of year, it’s a locals-only scene. There were virtually no stores open. I didn’t take my phone, but I did take my dog. I stopped on the way there and bought groceries for the week. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going except, of course, my friend whose house it was, and my mom. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I’d had the same conversation with everyone I trusted. I was talked out. I knew I had to leave this man, but I was struggling to accept what I knew. Which, I believe, we do a lot with those painful truths. When we start to feel them and acknowledge them, it’s as if they begin to take up residence in our lungs. Little by little, it becomes harder to breathe. Why can’t I breathe? I”m being smothered by my own truth, which I’ve been trying to deny. To avoid. So there I found myself, or more accurately, there I took myself and my dog and my groceries and a starter log because I had no idea how to build a fire, but I knew I’d want one. I took my books and my journal and my jeans and some warm sweaters. My down jacket and my gloves and my scarf and my crowded lungs and my broken heart, and my amazing gift of a dog. I didn’t know exactly why I was going, I just felt pulled to do it. And for a little over a week, I stayed in this big house by myself, feeling vulnerable because it was the setting for every horror movie you’ve ever seen. Young woman in a big house by herself in a deserted place with no phone service? But also feeling like I was exactly where I needed to be. And I walked on the freezing beach and ran into exactly no one. And I wrote in my journal and curled up by the fireplace to read my books. I talked to my dog who was the world’s best listener. About the situation I was in, and the choices I’d made to land myself in it. And I did not look away from my part in the whole thing. And by the end of the week I had reconciled what I knew to be true with what I knew I needed to do. And just like that, I could breathe again.
If you want to get in touch with your own truth, you’re going to have to quiet your mind. Which is LOUD unless you’ve worked on it. The mind is so full of shoulds and can’ts and there’s no way I could do thats. Of reasons and judgments and lists of why not. But your intuition has no list. It doesn’t need a list. Your heart wants to sing. Your intuition is the score. Without it, you are lost. Alone. Disconnected. The notes don’t carry, it’s like singing into the wind. You don’t have to leave your life to get quiet, although sometimes it’s very helpful. The first time I did a 10-day Vipassana (meditation) sit, I thought they’d have to pick me up in a rubber van. I thought I’d end up in slippers taking blue pills every four hours, with my friends saying, “I don’t know what happened. She used to teach yoga, and then she went on this silent retreat…” But by day four I was amazed. And by the end of the retreat I didn’t want to speak and I didn’t want to leave. We talk too much about absolutely nothing. I blathered on this morning about traveling on planes with kids in tow, and a couple of minutes in I thought, “Who cares? Is it really news that traveling with small children isn’t easy?” And I stopped talking. People talk about their weight and their cars and their breakouts and their plans to renovate their houses or their faces or whatever. But really, listening is the thing. And if you can’t listen to yourself, to that deepest truest voice within you, how will you ever step into your own light? It doesn’t matter how you quiet your mind. For me, that’s the heart of my yoga and meditation practice. But for you, it might be wind-surfing, or hiking or salsa dancing. The thing is to figure out what you need if you haven’t yet. Because that’s how you get connected to your (true)self. And that’s how you sing from your heart. So much love, Ally