One Time on a Rooftop in Haiti

One time, many moons ago, amidst falling out of love with a man, I fell in love with something else; yoga.

It was the kind of experience in which you’d be good to compare your heart, to a raw piece of filet. The rawest, most vulnerable, pulsing piece of you; being seared by a flame of truth. You can hear it being cooked. The sizzling steam of shock, burning away a reality that never really existed.

And suddenly your vision is focused. It’s as if you have put your glasses on for the very first time. The awareness hits you, and you see things you have never seen before; the impact of it all leaves you with a knowing. A knowing that you will never, ever, be able to un-know.

I had initially started going to yoga a year or so before this “awakening” occurred. I had noticed a direct correlation between yogis and the size/ shape of their bums. I walked through the doors of that hot yoga studio with hopes of changing the style of my glutes. Little did I know, that the internal transformation would be worth so much more…

Transformation is interesting, isn’t it? I may have never even noticed mine, if it hadn’t been for that “big hurt.” It was the kind of emotional turmoil that empties your lungs, and brings you to your knees… It’s hard to forget the first time you really hit the floor like that.

Suddenly, I saw myself laying on the floor in the fetal position, and I heard my voice saying “I breathe in, and I breathe out, and I’m stronger than I think.” It was only a fleeting moment of sanity, but I knew where I’d heard those words before; at yoga class.

It always seems to be EVERYTHING aside from easy, but within every great crisis comes an opportunity. If nothing else, an opportunity to transform, to grow, to level up in life; or to remain the same, (maybe even more broken), version of yourself.

It wasn’t glitter, cosmopolitans, and sunshine or rainbows. It was a lot of dark stormy days, periods of sobriety, tears, sweat, and pain. It was years of running, training, and a whole lot of gaining. Gaining of a Masters Degree, gaining of insight, gaining of yoga teacher certifications… All of that, is what landed me on that rooftop in Haiti.

And it was on that rooftop, while I lay there in Savasana, with my foot in the palms of a Haitian woman’s hands; that I began to understand the real root of my heartache; the fear of abandonment. Not “just” the abandonment of romantic lovers; it’s so much deeper than that. It was part of an assignment for the yoga training we were both participating in. We were told to hands on assist our partner in every pose of their practice. This woman, whose name I cannot even recall, was holding my foot, on a rooftop in Haiti, and I was laying there with my eyes closed; crying. Crying because I’d never felt more “held” before in my entire adult life. Simply put; I knew she wasn’t going to leave… What do you even do with that kind of awareness?

I’m not sure I know… What I do know though, is that when I got home from that trip, I ran cried. Yes, I ran through my small town more times than I can count, and cried simultaneously. I cried for Haiti, for the women I had met, for the stories of trauma that I had listened to, and I cried for me. I cried because I realized how often in my life I’d felt like I had tried to make people stay. I cried because I finally realized they weren’t staying or leaving as a result of my efforts… I cried because I had been loving them like they were already gone, and maybe that wasn’t as special or authentic as I had thought. Instead, maybe that’s what had been breaking me…

I think time exists so that we don’t have to feel everything all at once. We don’t have the capacity to hold space for all of the beauty, the pain, the love, and all the other stuff, that reaches us throughout our lifetime, within just one moment. We would self combust. Our psyches would shatter. So instead we have this continuum of time, called life. It’s like a built in safety feature.

But maybe it glitches on occasion? Like sometimes trauma trips the safety switch; it sends you into a psychological break. I think I dodged that break, but lately I’ve been wondering how? I think it’s because I’ve been running. I’ve been ducking, and jumping, and hustling, and in someways I’ve had to… but not in all of the ways.

So I wanted to write this to get clearer about the pain. I wanted to write this to remind myself (and maybe you), of the things we can’t un-know. The things that are never going away. The things that are going to keep on showing up, until we acknowledge and accept them as a part of who we are, or have been in this lifetime.

Beyoncé did this awesome add once and it was all about “Ivy park.” My version here wont do it justice, but she talked about running in that park, growing in that park, and learning that she could do hard things in that park. We all need an “Ivy park.” A place we can go when we close our eyes, and an opportunity to remember that we can do hard things. My place is my yoga mat. Maybe even better, my yoga mat, on a rooftop, in Haiti.

And tomorrow I’m gonna run cry. 🙏🏼♥️

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