Finding The Rainbow After The Storm
August 9, 2017 | by Michelle Meier
Even though I have all the tools of a dedicated yogi, I found myself struggling with depression after experiencing a chain of loss and heartbreak. But it was in weathering life's storms and all the emotions that came with it, that I found the rainbow.
This whole time all these years (almost 5 now), I’d felt like I'd taken my mom’s death so well. I’d felt relatively strong through her final months and beyond the day of her passing. But there was something in Arco’s death at the end of this February that triggered an awakening within me. I went through an emotionally turbulent time after I had to put him down. I burrowed myself in my writing, tracing the dark lines of a dark path in my mind that left my heart an empty chasm. I’d distanced myself from most everyone and everything. And then followed the breakup of my relationship, having shared a long and rich history with my boyfriend of a couple of years, not to mention the depth of love and connection we shared and the many life lessons we learned together.
My mind had become like an enemy and everyday I walked through its battlefield, rubbing my scars over and over. I struggled with the flood of negative thoughts that came up almost daily for me. My mom gone. Arco gone. The man I love gone. I’d also felt like my dad had been drifting away from my life. The small family unit I had that was once so close now felt so far away. There were times I felt utterly alone in this world. Thankfully my sister and my best friend helped me through some of those deep valleys.
Some mornings, from the moment I’d open my eyes, I felt sorrow and emptiness overcome me. It’s like I didn’t even have a chance to think. I woke up and—BOOM!—it was there. I felt a dark cloud constantly hanging heavy over me. Physically my body even felt weak. The sadder my thoughts, the heavier my body became.
I’m a strong believer in the mind-body connection. It’s the cornerstone of what I work on with my yoga therapy clients. And here I was, in complete disconnect within myself and I struggled with getting it back. My daily gratitude practice (naming at least 3 things I’m grateful for each day) didn’t even give me any solace. How was it possible that a dedicated yogi like myself was feeling depressed? The battlefield of my mind felt too big, too overwhelming. I’d begun to feel powerless.
With the natural slowing down of summer and some clients who’d left for cooler temperatures elsewhere, I decided to stop fighting and to slow down, too. I’ve taken time to tune into my thoughts, to be on my own, to talk with God, to write Him poems, to let go of attachments and negative thoughts, to realign my thoughts with my heart’s desires, to be in the moment.
I’m watching more sunsets these days. It’s my favorite time of day. I feel this kind of magic around dusk, when everything in the world quiets down from the day yet there’s this sense of electricity and wonder of the pending night ahead.
While watching our fiery orange orb sink below the horizon one evening, I began to see the truth. It’s only now that I’m learning I still hadn’t really ever let go of my mom. I’d accepted her death before she even died but I hadn’t let go of her. Losing Arco brought it out even more. Then losing my boyfriend. My thoughts had become destructive. What was the point of all this? Why did I have to lose my loved ones who mean everything to me? That’s just it. They weren’t everything. Nobody is. No one but me and God.
I saw the truth that, in the end when all is said and done in this life, all we have is our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with God.
Nobody else can or should be my source of love, life and light. God is my one and only source. I’m learning to rely on myself completely. My mom had left her legacy of love and joy with us. She’d given us the key to being happy and I hadn’t really seen it until now. It is up to me to choose love and joy. I don’t need to let my negative thoughts rule me. One morning I awoke with that familiar dark cloud threatening overhead and I said, “NO MORE!!! I’m going to be joyful today.” So I got up and I was.
I can control at least that much—where I repeatedly focus my thoughts. I’m not saying I’m springing out of bed every morning singing Little House on the Prairie songs but I am in a good space now. It is a space only we can create for ourselves.
And for all that I cannot control—basically everything else—I’m leaning unto God more and more. And you know what? I feel so much freer. I don’t have to worry about how everything is going to pan out every moment of everyday. With faith in my heart, I know everything will work out one way or another and I trust it is what’s best for me.
With this lesson, I’ve noticed some things that would’ve freaked me out a year ago, now no longer phase me. I’m no longer just reacting all the time. I observe my ego’s response and remind myself I’m a spirit living in a physical body. “What are my spiritual lessons?” I first ask myself when I’m now challenged. I breathe easy. It’s because of my yoga practice. Even though I let myself drift over the summer, going with the slow flow of hot summer days, I’ve stayed dedicated to my personal yoga practice and I’m grateful to my teachers, Terri, Mo, Vivianne and Jessica at 305 Yoga for offering their hearts, their love and their wisdom in their classes that continue to challenge and inspire me.
It’s the backbends and the focus on the breath that remind me to keep my heart open. Keeping my heart open even when I feel like crying is something I’ve always known deep down inside to be important but sometimes I get lost and stray. Yoga brings me back.
Some of the sunsets I’ve watched lately have been drowned out by storms, which can be frequent and intense, during the summer months in Miami. Once they pass, though, the air is a little cooler, the grass is greener, the flowers are more vibrant.
It is through life’s storms that God cleanses our spirits.
So if you find yourself struggling with sadness, anger, confusion, heartbreak, whatever it is that is pulling you down, know that it is merely an opportunity for growth and allow yourself to be cleansed by the storm. Your rainbow of love and joy is always there for you to choose when you are ready.
"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."