July 18, 2013

Smacked with a Huge Dose of Karma. ~ Stephanie Sefton

There I sat, at the wedding reception, listening to my boyfriend’s beautifully tanned, stunningly-dressed and jeweled ex-girlfriend successfully executing her role of master of ceremonies.

It may have been the heavy dose of naproxen, two beers and a glass of red wine talking, but the only thing running through my mind was, ‘Karma has smacked me in the face—literally.’

A goose egg peppered with broken blood vessels had established itself nicely—right between my eyes. I struggled to camouflage this ‘situation’ with some cosmetic concoction I purchased earlier that day. Despite all efforts, my attempts only accentuated my crow’s feet and forehead lines that surrounded this swollen, tight discolored mass.

Said ex-girlfriend is 10 years my junior, from a line of pedigree with little humility, cultured and adventurous; I had no idea this was such an issue for me until I had suddenly transformed into the pasty white, boring ‘old lady’ who needs to lose a few pounds, feels stuck in her menial job, nags about the dishes and the bank account and to top it off, has developed a pulsating land mass in the middle of my face.

I had a plan for this weekend and it sure as hell did not involve a mass protrusion on my forehead or enduring such a ‘blow’ to my hyper active ego.

My plan was simple: to be perfectly beautiful for the wedding and if, by chance, I happened to share space with the ex-girlfriend, portray myself as the bigger person. I won’t lie—I was doing everything in my power to suppress the need to intimidate her with my mere presence; I wanted to look better, be thinner, be happier and have her notice.

My intent for the rest the weekend was to be overflowing with all things I love while silently basking in the ‘after-gloat’ of my outstanding appearance and presentation of self at the wedding.

Well karma gods and said ex girlfriend, I hope you find peace of mind, some satisfaction or enjoyment in knowing that my two day reprieve from the previous hell week had transformed into a plethora of wretched horrors.

My misguided, ego driven plan was put into motion earlier that week.

My evenings were filled with eyebrow shaping, leg shaving and nail polish application. These practices rarely, if ever, happen in my life—not in attempts to fill a political agenda or strong held virtue—I simply hate doing them, yet there I was, beautifying myself for…my boyfriend’s ex?

I should have recognized these signs—they were my inner demons I thought I had yogified out of my system—I mean we yoga teachers are purely peaceful, non-judgemental and completely in tune with ourselves, right?

Well, my acts of insecurity and shallowness were not only defeating but completely slaughtering my yogic soul.


Instead of the weekend beginning with an evening of planned pleasantries with my amazing man, watching him open a pile of early birthday treasures, completing some elephant journal apprenticeship work and snuggling down with our two fur babies for a movie, I laid completely sprawled on the couch, heavily dosed with naproxen holding a make-shift ice pack on my forehead.

How could this happen?

Well, I temporarily forgot the golden rule; if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

A discussion about the ‘awkward wedding situation’ revealed the depths of my insecurities. Details of time, location and last minute gift selections turned into indiscretions, cheap shots and mean spirited jokes about the ex-girlfriend. We smirked and laughed at our humor and quick wit as we alluded to the ‘poetic justice’ of karmic revenge.

Talk about some serious projection.

And there it was, in the midst of my smug disposition—karmic retribution—without a single omen or warning—a husky head butt–literally.

Within moments, I had a golf ball sized goose egg right between the eyes. The remaining 22 hours before my entirely botched wedding appearance were spent fretting, icing and masking my wounds all while sweating in the midst of a heat wave. Saturday bed time could not come soon enough.

The only solace I had was in the idea that the remainder of my weekend could be spent nursing the wounds my face and ego had sustained.

Sunday, much like Friday, started out with promise.

The sun was shining, the dogs slept in and the house was quiet. Despite the freshness of my physical wounds and sheepish demeanor, my anxiety was eased by the comforts of my kitchen with its murmurs of CBC radio accompanied by the smells of fresh coffee steeping in the french press. I sipped on my vat of coffee and loaded my apprenticeship homework. This time it could have been the naproxen and generous dose of baileys in my java but I am pretty sure my soul smiled.

With my spirits up and my guard down, I decided to venture out into the quiet of mid morning before getting  down to business; I had lots of time to putter in the yard and get my homework done prior to heading out to visit family. It didn’t take long for things to go awry.

In between failing attempts to convince our fur babies to love the newly purchased kiddie pool and losing a battle with the ‘weed take over’ on my driveway, some creepy crawly invertebrate had crawled its way up (or down) my t-shirt dress and onto my back. Without a thought or single pause, I ripped off my clothes. Accessorized with nothing more than my bra, underwear and my goose egg, I frantically swatted at my back with my clothes uttering curses and profanities at whatever creature had invaded my personal space.

There I was, defeated, sweaty and mostly naked. Both dogs looked up from their bones as if to say ‘what in the hell is wrong with you?’

Clearly, it was time to go inside.

I put my clothes back on, succumbed to my defeat and headed towards the door.

In my state of disarray, I didn’t notice the odd sense of silence I walked into until I opened the fridge. Instead of finding a cold beverage, I found more karma. We had lost all power. This meant no editing, no air conditioning, a half done load of laundry and no shower.

In all my sweat, grime and disdain for existence, I did what anyone would do—I climbed back into bed.

Three hours later, with just a half hour to spare, I awoke. Still no power. Although I stood calmly, internally I was completely crazed; I wanted nothing more than to throw myself down on the floor in true toddler form and show the world what a real temper tantrum looked like. I was simply too hot. I wandered aimlessly through the house looking half cracked—frizzy hair and all.

Just as we were heading out the door, the power surged through our house. I paused. Moving in slow motion, as if not to jinx the small mercy, I slipped out of my sandals. Simultaneously, I tip toed down the hall and stripped off my clothes. I didn’t dare say a word; I turned on the shower and climbed in with the hopes that my distress and borderline hysteria would wash away with the grime and sweaty stank that coated my body and soul.

I was most happy, once again, to crawl back into bed knowing the weekend was finally over.

I have never been so elated to see a Monday morning.

Here I sit, two weeks later, thinking, ‘What, the hell, was that?’

I wanted to place blame and ‘connect the dots’ but karma did not head butt me through my dog, climb up (or down) my shirt in the form of an invertebrate or disconnect the power from my house because I said nasty things. I said nasty things because of my own discomfort.

Karma is not a consequence, it is a lesson.

If we miss what is being taught, the lesson, although potentially wrapped in different packaging, will continue to repeat itself until you learn. We don’t like this—we prefer consequence, blame and retribution. My weekend felt like it was riddled with all of these and it took the better part of two weeks to grapple with that.

I have learnt that I still have inner demons and struggles that if I continue to ignore, will always resurface. The ex-girlfriend is just the present factor that replaced past triggers for my insecurities, worries, fears and sense of inadequacy. None of those things are her doing or her fault–those existed in my life long before she did.

I misunderstood; I thought that because my demons weren’t radiating like a neon sign above my head, they no longer existed. I did not rid myself of them through warrior or tree pose, meditation practice or oms. This ‘weekend from hell’ reminded me that my life is a practice and my demons are a part of me. Some days they will have more power than I would like. That means, on occasion, I am going to be uncomfortable.

My inability to deal with the slightest obstacle, change or challenge had everything to do with my state of mind. I was unable to see any of the good because I was so engaged with the bad.

The parts of my life that I want to change came to light as well as the parts that I am most grateful for. When we face our insecurities for what they are, we gain the power to change our path—to define it. To do this, we must be aware of our goodness as well as our struggles and internal obstacles. It is the practice of acquainting yourself in your entirety—not just the parts you prefer.

We create our own karma.

Don’t get me wrong—I hope to hell I never experience that much ‘lesson’ all at once ever again and I have vowed to never speak of it again, for my own mental health.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


{Photo: via Pinterest}

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Stephanie Sefton