The 8 limbed path of yoga exists solely to help us get rid of obstacles and burdens so that we may become the best version of our self. It is not an easy task. You see when you work through one obstacle a tougher, more deeply seated obstacle emerges demanding to be heard and seen. This is the story of my life for the past two years. A story I now choose to share.
In April 2015 I went to the US because my friends turned 30 and we could all be together. I used the money I’d been saving to go to Europe. A short while after I noticed serious bloating and swelling. I kept going.
I also noticed trouble breathing that I thought was because I lived in a dusty industrial area. So in July I moved to a quiet apartment in the woods. In October I started getting tired more than usual. I kept going.
In January I slipped and fell. Barely able to walk, I spent weeks in bed. In June I moved to an apartment with a much shorter walk to the bus and an easier commute. That’s when the catastrophic meltdown of my body began. Every time I fixed one thing another would break until I was diagnosed with asthma in April 2017.
The same day in July that I walked away from the doctors office feeling like I had a handle on my asthma a centipede crawled into my bed and bit me in a very private place. That’s when the dizzy spells started. I tried to fight it. A futile effort fueled by pride and stubbornness. In the end I gave up and retired to my bed.
It was dark times. The walk from my bed to the fridge felt perilous. I became fully engulfed in the darkness. I couldn’t come up with a plan to come out. So I stayed there.
I spent my days in death’s waiting room; my nights were filled with with fever dreams and cold sweats. I stayed there.
I didn’t know how long this darkness would last. I couldn’t hold a conversation. Nothing made sense. When I looked in the mirror a stranger stared back at me. Eventually I stopped fighting the darkness. For the first time in my life I stopped trying to take care of everything. I stopped worrying about being able to take care of myself. I stopped trying to solve my problems. I embraced the darkness.
My days and nights were spent in bed. The wheels didn’t turn in my head. I went deep into my heart, deeper even into my soul. There i met sadness. Deep crushing sadness. The collective sadness of my ancestors. Sadness of a childhood spent in poverty. Sadness of going to bed hungry and waking up hungry. Sadness of a father who didn’t love me enough to be there. Sadness for love lost. Sadness for fighting to survive. Sadness for being too tired to fight. Sadness for loving so hard then having it all thrown back in your face. So much sadness.
There I stayed sad and alone; surrounded by darkness. No one came to pull me out. Every ounce of my being hurt: body, soul, mind, breath. I wept inside and outside; trying to wring the sadness from my soul. Every ounce of sadness I got rid of was replaced threefold. Dark, sad and alone.
I stayed so long in the sadness that it became my friend. It wrapped its cold dark hands around me and comforted me. It didn’t promise to make anything better. It didn’t promise to make me stronger. It simply said I am here. The darkness once heavy and oppressive became light and comforting. It’s a part of me now. I carry it every where I go. In a quiet moment you may see my darkness. Do not be afraid. It means you no harm. It is mine. I carry it alone.