Our Yogi Marci is back with yet another post that will make us all think!
I have a confession to make. I have been procrastinating in writing this article. And not because I don’t know what to write about. I’ve started the article a number of times…and each time it just doesn’t capture what I’m trying to say. When I get thinking about what I want to convey, deep seated emotions start to arise…and, truth be told, it’s easier to push them down and procrastinate another day (or two) in writing.
Which brings me to my topic…’satya’, also known as ‘truthfulness’. It’s one of the yamas (or abstentions) outlined in the ‘eight limbs’ of yoga. It comes after ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence.
Anyway…a few weeks ago in church, I had a minor meltdown that came along with my realization of who I ‘really’ am. To be perfectly honest, my heart has always known my true calling. My head just hasn’t always been on board. I am, by nature, a caregiver.
From the time I was a young child, I have cared for others. When my parents divorced (I was 8), I found myself in the role of my mother’s confidant. When my aunt had back surgery (I was 10), I changed bedpans and would sit with her for hours while my grandmother ran errands. I have been asked to take over organizations because they needed ‘a caring leader’. Add to that when family members were sick I would go to their side, moved my grandmother and aunt to live nearby as they aged, sat with friends and family and talked through tears, broken hearts, and fears.
Not even two weeks ago, a friend called to talk about concerns she has about her son…a note the next day said, ‘I felt so much better after our talk…you always know just what to say.’.
To be honest, it’s a very odd feeling knowing that this is how you’re viewed. As ‘the shoulder’. It’s not a bad thing and I sincerely hope that this doesn’t come across as whiny. I’m very humbled that people view me as caring, compassionate, thoughtful, loving, and maternal.
The truth is…I’m tired.
I am not someone who can take care of others and not become emotionally invested. I have cried with friends and been awake at night concerned about others. I can’t help it…it’s just what I do.
And what is the saying? You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. We’ve all heard it…and when it was said to me I had just stopped leading yoga classes, my grandmother had had a minor stroke and was in rehabilitation (and I needed to find her somewhere new to live), my husband was in the midst of hospitalizations due to cardiac issues, and our three children were teenagers. And then someone tells me I need to make sure to take care of myself…and do you know what my initial thought was? ‘Great. One more person to take care of.’
I know that sounds harsh. I don’t mean it to. The truth of the matter is, I don’t think people get that people who are, by nature, deep emotional caretakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to ask for help. Selfish is usually not a word used. I know that asking for help is not selfish, but when you’re viewed as someone who ‘takes care of stuff’…it feels selfish.
Which brings me to my minor meltdown in church. The message was recognizing what you are called to be. And then there was a ‘ceremony’ of sorts that had us come forward to the baptismal font to remember our baptism and opening ourselves and accepting who we are meant to be. And I’m sitting in the pew (before we as a congregation were called forward) and I can feel everything in me bubbling up. All the everything...and along with it there was this explosion in my brain…all I KNEW was ‘You care. You love. You are. IT IS WHAT YOU DO AND WHO YOU ARE.’ And as I approached the baptismal font, words were impossible. When it was my turn, it was my heart that answered as my lips moved. My tears were flowing.
And so it is…my head finally knows what my heart has known all along…I care. I love. I am. Deeply.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m still tired. I still don’t like to ask for help. I have to say one thing though…there is someone that doesn’t wait for me to ask for help. She has always been there for me and always will be.
So…this is my truth. What is yours?