How (the hell) did I get here?
I am sure that you have asked yourself this question. I know I have, especially when I was younger and far more naive, back when I would let the wind carry me and made decisions based on a whim. I would find myself in all kinds of precarious situations, wondering how the hell I got there.
I have been spending years trying to bring more mindfulness and awareness into my everyday life; I try to pay attention to every moment. I search for the meaning in everything and when I can’t find one, I am baffled and confused figuring I must have missed something. Maybe I blinked or glanced away for a moment to only lose the lesson as it whizzed past my perception.
Have you ever looked at your blessings and wondered how you got there? As opposed to being shocked by the sudden onset of adversity?
As I reflect on this I am realizing that all of the joys and gifts I have received in my life have been born out of discomfort and/or suffering.
Right now, I am at the beginning of what I would call my dream life; I am teaching yoga and slowly growing my business. I am also writing and publishing my work here on elephant journal as well as my own blog space.
I am a yoga teacher and a writer.
Gosh, that puts a big shit-eating grin on my face; I am doing what I have been dreaming of for most of my adult life (which I think pretty much started around 2011). I am moving forward towards my dreams and passions. I am living my life with presence (most of the time) and evolving and healing and sharing my journey (albeit a little ungracefully).
This path that I am on, one of truth seeking, yoga teaching, healing, growing up, waking up and writing, has been the result of one tragic event in my life.
I was propelled forward by the loss of a baby five months into pregnancy.
If I had given birth to that baby, I would not be teaching yoga and I would not be sitting here typing this out for all of you to read—I would be chasing after a 16 month-old boy. My life would be completely and drastically different.
This is powerful stuff; it causes my imagination run wild with scenarios and it makes my heart pound in my chest with wonderment. As the hair on the back of my neck stands up I think, “Am I wrong to feel gratitude in the face of such a tragic event?”
Of course I am not wrong; the universe had different plans for me. I know this because it was the second miscarriage in nine months. My body rejected both; my life was to take a different course.
I had an incredibly deep experience with this loss. For the first time in my life, I was non-reactive; I knew what needed to be done.
I needed to grieve.
I needed to allow it to flow through me.
I knew there were no answers for what had happened.
The situation was out of my control and there was nothing I could do to change it.
The grieving process left me floating in sensations that I had never experienced before. I was at once at peace with the loss, yet sad and empty at the same time. It was as if I was watching myself from outside of my body; I was surrounded by heaviness in my heart and mind, yet lightness in my soul.
I sat with grief, as I would with an old friend; it was familiar and almost comforting in a way. Grief was not a stranger and without my resistance to the pain, I felt supported and loved.
Of course I cried. I sobbed and allowed the sorrow to run through and out of me. I allowed the tears to fall for that little soul that I would not get a chance to know.
I cried for the pain my partner was going through, for he allowed it to consume him; his suffering eventually broke us apart.
I cried for all of the other women whom had lost children and could not recover from the emptiness left behind. I cried for my daughter who would not get the little brother she so desperately wanted—I wept for each one of us whom had already formed a connection with the unborn child.
I cried while grief dried my tears and told me that as soon as I no longer needed her—she would go away and there would be an incredible lightness to follow.
Without resistance, I cried until I could cry no more, I cried with passion and pain for all living things. Then I accepted the circumstances and allowed hope to fill the emptiness of my loss. My body began to heal and with that came a renewed faith that good things were going to happen soon.
Two months after the loss of the baby (we named him Peak), I enrolled in my very first Yoga Teacher Training. I had two months before it would start, so I bought every single book on the recommended list and I dove into my studies. I started with The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele.
This book changed my life profoundly. I began to make changes in my lifestyle. I became happier and healthier. My ambition skyrocketed and my passions were discovered and renewed.
I finally found a focus I was proud of and excited about; losing that baby had pushed me forward into discovering my life purpose. I was finally getting to know the authentic me.
As I move forward with more yoga workshops and intensives, I always take a moment to give thanks to little Peak. For sacrificing his life, so that I could move forward with my dreams.
I give thanks for all of those challenging moments in my life that changed me from the inside out. I am grateful for the pain and sorrow as much as the joyous moments, because those times of suffering have been the breeding grounds for the birth of every new beginning in my life.
Now, if only I could approach every moment of adversity with such grace and insight, I would be a master of my own domain. This takes time—I am always learning and ever evolving. With great humility, I thank the universe for this life, these lessons and every experience that has made me who I am today.
Try to remember, dear readers, that when you are in the midst of pain and suffering, there is something bright in your near future that is just about to reveal itself. Have faith and be gentle with yourself. Embrace the light as well as the dark. Feel your emotions but don’t let them control you. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and count each blessing.
It all works out in the end; it truly does.
I leave you with this quote by Kahlil Gibran:
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears…When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Nichole Gould is the founder of Barefoot Warrior Yoga in The White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a Student of life, yogini, yoga teacher, landscape gardener, single mother, organic pizza waitress and lover of all board sports, she considers herself a jack of much and a master of none. She can also be found dabbling with guitar playing, singing off key, reading from her many stacks of books or writing poetry. Feel feel to peruse her Facebook page or contact her via her website for more insight into her ever curious mind.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise