Just when I could have been bonding with people my own age and finding a mate, I wound up suffering from painful family dysfunction and was assaulted by two “holy men” from the East! I felt very hurt and angry – also disillusioned and mistrustful. I saw a traditional therapist, and we ended up in a power struggle. I was so afraid I would lose that struggle that one summer I tried to commit suicide twice. But I thought I saw loving and luminous beings telling me I was making a mistake. So I didn’t kill myself, but I felt very ignorant and scared when it came to how to live.
Instead of returning to the same therapist, I found a yoga class taught by a young man from India. As you can imagine, I really wanted to find a Higher Power wiser and more loving than we human beings are. But my parents and so many of their doctor-friends had been atheists, and I knew no one – except the yoga teacher – who believed in God. He told me I didn’t need to believe just because he said so, that the tools of yoga would help me experience God for myself. And he said those on the path of Yoga could find a wavelength of love that was from God, that led to less suffering than the love we give and receive, coming out of the needs and fears of our egos.
He said we students could serve God and humanity out of that love.
I doubted that God really existed, but I decided I would do the yoga, anyway. I loved how it made me feel – clear-headed and focused, energetic but calm. I thought at the very least I’d learn about human psychology, and I’d get lots of material for writing stories and poems. But after a while, I found I not only knew myself better, but also felt - again! - as though I was experiencing guidance and comfort from heavenly beings.
Over the years, I have learned how powerful it can be when we combine the stretching, breathing and meditation of Yoga with prayer for healing, 12 Step work, and psychotherapy. I’ve discovered that when people need healing, we hardly ever find professionals or groups that combine these aspects of our lives – our relationships with ourselves and other people, our relationship - or lack of, or trouble with - God or a Higher Power, plus how to lovingly and mindfully care for our hearts, minds and bodies. And people usually need more: help finding work that is meaningful to us, ways to put our most cherished values out there into our world. I’ve experienced very deep and full healing from combining these, for myself and for family members, friends and students.
I would love to share my experience, strength and hope with you.
I know how it feels to be angry at God, or alienated – and to work through those feelings into trust and faith and a loving relationship with God. I also know how it feels not to believe in God, not to feel comfortable with religion, and to prefer simple meditation or an experimental relationship with a "Higher Power.” I respect the choices and boundaries of all who come to me for classes or individual sessions.
I hope you will consider my experience as you think about what’s possible for you, with regard to healing from all the various forms of victimization, cruelty, or oppression that we suffer on this planet. So often people get stuck in feeling victimized, or we act out our anger and become perpetrators, or we turn to drugs and alcohol, or love and sexual addictions, or eating disorders, in our attempts to manage the pain and powerlessness we feel. But I’ve found that combining mindfulness and yoga with therapy, 12 step groups, finding meaningful work, and prayer for healing is very powerful and leads to a recovery which gets deeper and deeper as I go! So I hope you will combine the tools I have mentioned – with me or on your own with people you choose – so that you too will experience recovery, with a new sense of empowerment and a life full of meaning and purpose.