Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One of the scariest moments of my life…. (A holiday gift for you- Choice)

One of the scariest moments of my life….
(A gift for you, for the holidays- Choice)

One of the scariest moments of my life happened on an lazy Saturday morning. I was lying in bed. My husband had gone for a run and my daughters Chloe (age 3) and Maya (age 1) were in bed with me. They loved to climb in bed and snuggle. At the time, we had a television in the room and I think SpongeBob was on. The girls were watching SpongeBob and we were all snuggled in under the covers.

It came on suddenly- in my chest- PANIC.

Out of nowhere-- I became immediately aware of exactly how much I loved them. It was overwhelming. I began to think what might happen to me if anything ever happened to either one of them. I thought, “I can’t bear it.” Then, I could not think at all. I was just in panic. I couldn’t breathe. I had an overwhelming urge to get out of the bed and go make--- pancakes—really- I wanted to jump out of bed and make pancakes. I wanted the hell out of that moment. I thought, “You’ve never really known lasting love. You’ve moved your whole life. Nobody ever stays. Love only hurts. Love is nothing but hurt. This is just going to hurt.”

Somehow, I gathered my awareness-

In yoga it is called smriti- to remember- to re- collect.

I re-collected myself, my awareness. I told myself, “Catherine, stay here. Stay present. Don’t run. What you are feeling is overwhelming love for two beautiful girls who need you to be able to stay here and feel just that. Please Catherine, be brave enough to stay.”

I breathed deeply. And….

I stayed.

I snuggled in, smelled their hair and kissed them each on the forehead (one of the highest expressions of love). They smiled, none the wiser of the terror I was moving through. They cuddled in more. It felt amazing and terrifying.  

And the terror passed. And SpongeBob talked Patrick into something silly- like selling chocolate or going to driving school with Mrs. Puff. And we snuggled even more.

And so went another Saturday morning.  

Me. I was absolutely courageous. I stayed and just loved. No matter what might happen and all that. I stayed and just loved. There is incredible power in that. I can feel it now as I write.

Zuri’s Story

Zuri’s mom metaphorically crash-landed at home 4 days after Thanksgiving. Zuri wondered if Child Protective Services (CPS) would come again. They have managed to avoid being placed in foster care so far. But, this time….. Sherece was gone a long time. Zuri knew that it was a pretty real possibility for them to get placed. Her aunt was sick and her dad was hard to find. She has seen at school what happens to kids in these situations. The workers come to school. They pull you out of class. They ask questions- all of you apart. Rashan would crack.  He’s too little. Zuri wouldn’t know until after the holidays. If the workers did not come to school, they might be safe.

Zuri thought how hard it is to love when you have a sense that things might change in a moment. It can be hard to breathe. Eric was home and cranky. He was making some coffee he said he bought last night. Zuri suspected he lifted it from the convenient story. Well, they had coffee. Rashan was super clingy and when Zuri felt like this, she was annoyed by him.

“Rashan! Get away from me. Give me space!”

Rashan  dropped his eyes, not crying, not saying a word, walked away, to the couch and sat staring straight at the TV, trance like. Zuri started complaining. She complained about her mom, about Eric’s mess, and Rashan's school papers all around. She looked at the apartment and saw nothing but mess. She saw all her mom did not do and all she had to do. It was overwhelming. She hated it all. She hated with all of her heart. She felt like she hated her mom, Rashan, Eric, this house, and the stress-- she hated it all.

Then, the tears. At first just one. Then more. Then she began to cry, a voiced cry. Then, a sob. Then, her face fell into her hands and she really sobbed. She wasn’t mad. She wasn’t mad at all. She was hurt and scared.

She has read in my notes, in The Yoga Bag that anger is often a cover story-- a feeling we feel all too comfortable feeling -- when underneath, lots of times, there is fear. Gosh, Zuri was super scared. She was afraid. She didn’t want to go into foster care. She didn’t want to leave her mom. She didn’t want to be split from Rashan and Eric. This could happen. If her mom kept screwing up. It could really happen.

She decided to use her voice, Vissuda, the voice, the 5th Chakra. She had learned that there are times when you need to use your voice. This meant being present. This meant talking to Eric. You see, for Zuri, she didn’t run away form things. No. She ran within. She ran deep within herself and in there she was safe. This time, she was going to speak. For better or worse, she was going to speak.

“Eric, I am scared. Mom doesn’t get it. If she screws up again, they might take us away. Aunt Jasmine is too sick to watch us this time. I am afraid to go to school. The workers might come and take us. I am afraid they will take Rashan away and split us up. I am afraid mom will be so sad she will drink herself to death.” Really crying now, “Eric, I am so scared.”

As she spoke, Eric was walking closer to her and now he held her. She cried and he held her.

“Zuri, I won’t let them take you. I won’t let them take Rashan. I am sorry. I am sorry for leaving you here alone. I will help you and I will help you talk to mom. “

Zuri looked up at Eric, “Do you promise Eric? Do you promise?”

Eric looked directly into Zuri’s eyes, “I promise Zuri. I promise.”

Zuri sighed with relief. Eric, for his whole life, has always been a person of his word. When he promised something, he meant it. They made a plan to talk to their mom when she got up. They were going to tell her about their fears and have her figure this out with them.

Zuri was not alone and right this moment, she was not afraid. She went over to the couch and snuggled in next to Rashan. He leaned in and placed his head on her shoulder. She kissed his forehead and cuddled him in more, "I love you Rashan. I really love you." Zuri, didn't see Rahsan smile, but he did. 

The Process

It is here. In this moment. In our lived actions, that things change. If you run away (and make pancakes) or deep into yourself- you stay safe- for sure. There is no chance that you will have to face the kind of terror that is found in really loving someone.

You also miss out on the joy, beauty, passion, and the love.

I have found that there is nothing to buy, nothing to have, nothing to achieve, nothing to get, nothing to secure, nothing, nothing nothing, that is anything like- authentic love. So if you are too scared to stay, you miss out on love and that is really all there is.

So Zuri and I did it. She didn’t run deep into herself and I didn’t go make pancakes. We both did it. The thing that we need to be mindful of is that we did it- this time.

Life is about many of these moments. In these moments you will feel the tug to run. You might want run away, like me, or run deep within yourself, like Zuri.

You will feel this deep urge.

Then, you will have a choice- Are you going to stay?

Say, “YES.”

I hope we all choose to stay- because that is where the love is.



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