A student called me today and expressed the feeling of having lost herself. What could I say? I remember menopause. I remember my father-in-law with Alzheimers questioning over and over, “Where am I?”
My answer was always, “You are right here.”
On occasion he would respond by saying, “Good sermon.” He had been a preacher who started 30 churches in Indonesia. He did not approve of me being a yogini; but, in the end, he didn’t argue with the truth.
My student and I agreed, at the end of our conversation, we would both go for a walk. We live in different towns. She would seek out her walking area, and I would enter the nearby park to find that trail which has not been maintained for years.
Each time I choose this trail it seems easier to lose the path. Over time, I have found this particular challenge to be a good way to practice dealing with my initial and instinctive panic reaction. When I find myself disoriented, I stop, take several yogic breaths and tell myself, I am here, nowhere else. I am exactly where I need to be. How can I be lost?
I manage to avoid poison oak. It is very prevalent here, and I remember how there were times when I thought I might never be able to enjoy a free-wheeling California nature walk. Now I have mugwort growing around our property as my perpetually available medicine against the itchy nuisance.
I give myself permission to turn around whenever I wish, and I do. After all, I have found what I am looking for–gratitude. Resolving to check in with my student to see what gifts her walk brought about, I return. The circle feels whole. The afternoon deepens, and a breeze refreshes. Birds chirp, cheep and hoot, and the earth continues its healing mission.