Week 12: Share My Path Series.
For some a path is not born out of turmoil; it isn’t recovering from an addiction, or working through a divorce, or overcoming a trauma which sends them on a quest for cerebral peace. Instead, it’s simply an innate sense that something is incomplete.
For Kelsey Sweeney, this week’s Share My Path participant, it was shortly after her wedding and the birth of her son that her “frantic search for peace” began.
“Something was missing,” she told me.
It was in attempt to fill this void—along with tightening up some areas she’d let go—that Kelsey discovered yoga.
In the cup of her practice she added spiritual readings—with a chaser of alcohol. A mix that left her “plagued by anger and fear” and only made worse what she now recognizes were “deeply rooted insecurities.”
But despite this, Kelsey persevered. Knowing something had to give; knowing she just had to keep going down the path.
Kelsy’s brutal honesty in this part of our exchange stands out to me. I’m sure many can relate to this idea of searching for peace while single-handily sabotaging their own direction. Buried in this is an important lesson: while it is sometimes easy to be hard on ourselves, we shouldn’t take this as reason to give-up.
Every path has a rock that if you step it on wrong you tumble; don’t let the tumble ruin the journey.
It was through Kelsey’s perseverance that she met a “kindred-spirit”. And through this chance meeting that she found herself buried in classes as she continued down her path and sought instruction in teaching yoga to others.
“Talk about the universe answering my prayers,” she told me.
A week into an intensive session on hatha and raja yoga Kelsey “felt something shift”. Buried in lessons on meditation technique and the 8 fold path of spiritual awakenings was the motivation for Kelsey to ensure her own practice became one full of meditation and pranayama.
“The changes that occurred with-in me are profound,” she admits.
But in the midst of her finding something, Kelsey looses something else: her marriage runs its course. Kelsey has to learn to share her son.
Making the best of a bad situation, she throws herself into her practice; using the time alone to heal herself so that in the time she spends with her son she “can be fully present to give him the guidance, love, and support he needs during the difficult transition, and always.”
This is not to elude these times lacked any struggle. Kelsey “tested herself”, wanting to see if it was actually the yoga that set her at ease. She stopped when she needed it most she told me, almost as a “rebellious attempt to prove to myself” is wasn’t the yoga I needed. The circuitous path of self-sabotage was coming around again.
“I would beat myself up over not practicing…” she admits. This would go on for months until finally something—oh that unexplainable something—told her to start small and see where that led. She returned to daily practice.
“I have learned that once I’m on my mat and practicing I usually want to stay longer, and if I don’t then that’s fine too,” Kelsey offers.
The changes she’d recognized before became apparent again.
“There are moments where I find myself literally bubbling over with joy over something so simple as the vibrancy of beautiful scenery, a meeting with a great friend, or watching my son play,” she told me.
In the back of Kelsey’s mind though is a crumb of fear that she’ll one day return to old habits; she accepts this crumb and doesn’t allow it to get the best of her.
“When I get home from a long day at work, have a busy toddler to care for, homework to complete, and dishes to do and all I want to do is lay on my couch and cry I tell myself that I need my practices even more because of that. And I am the only person responsible for the outcome of my life which I want filled with love, light, peace, and joy in order to pass along to others!”
Kelsey, I think in sharing your path, without any reservation, shows you are well on your way to obtaining that outcome. Your message of perseverance is a fine one and no doubt resonates with those of us who’ve practiced for years and to those readers who may just be stepping onto to the trail.
Share My Path would love to feature your path! e-mail me.
Share My Path is an archival experiment seeking to build a repository of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation and is hosted here at elephant journal. If you’d like to have your path featured and made part of the archive please e-mail or find me here for more information. Your time will be rewarded in knowing you’ve shared with others and perhaps helped someone find their path.
Last week’s installment of Share My Path: It’s 3 1/2 years and I’m still chanting.
A list of all previous weeks: Share My Path
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Ed: Bryonie Wise