yoga

Unanchoring from a sinking ship — helplessly hoping.

{Photo: Sandy Foster}

{Photo: Sandy Foster}

It was a helpless hoping, that he would not shatter my spirit beyond repair.

I was helplessly hoping that I would find the strength to lift the anchor that kept me tethered to the husband who had succumbed to the cruelty of drugs. If you would have looked into my eyes, you would have mostly seen unwavering strength and resolve. I had just given birth to our second child. I was working full-time and teaching in a dynamic Yoga studio. Daily, I stood on giants of unexplained courage summoned from ghosts of another world.

The steps I took that year did not come from my legs. I was cosmically carried.

I remember the nights like I watched them in a movie. My infant son would fall asleep while nursing and my toddler daughter would be asleep on my lap, her damp hair from the bath soaking into my sweat pants. The house would be dark and quiet except for a mindless housewife reality show on a muted television a few feet away from me.

Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit he runs
Wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of goodbye

My husband would have left the house hours earlier with the familiar promise of running up to the corner convenience store for cigarettes. I never knew what to expect with this recurring real life nightmare. Sometimes, it was true. He did indeed go to the corner convenience store for cigarettes. Most of the time though, it was a drive downtown to the crack houses. The pain pills and alcohol would not be enough most nights to satisfy his pain.

When he would return hours later, oh the dread my cells would suffer when I saw his dead blue eyes.

I’d gather my babies tight in my daughter’s twin bed and stare at the bedroom door as I half-slept the night away, desperate for dawn. The only comfort I’d have was the choreographed movement of my babies as we’d shift as one connected bundle in our makeshift love nest.

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other

He was not a violent man. He was scared. He’d usually beg me to listen as he pondered life and his part in it. He’d get extremely introspective and, as the drugs wore off, he’d get antsy. It was then that the wicked words would appear. At first a few unpleasant words about how I could not possibly understand him. As the pills would wear off, the offensive blows would begin. I was the wicked woman, nagging wife standing in the way of another fix.

He knew how to wound me into numbness and my spirit would end up gashed and sore for days. He’d threaten to kill himself if I left.

Wordlessly watching he waits by the window and wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams he worries
Did he hear a good-bye?

I’d find some strength in the eyes of my babies by morning light. I would go through the motions of feeding, caring, loving them. Daily, I would collapse on my Yoga mat. It was on that soft surface of a mat that I could not hide from my maimed heart. Slowly the pain would dissolve and in its wake I’d find self-compassion. Every breath would heal me a little.

Those giants carrying me through the darkness were there, whispering to me. I heard them whisper and I knew not to give up on myself.

Love isn’t lying
It’s loose in a lady who lingers
Saying she is lost
And choking on Hello

Time and time again, I heard the voice of my own spirit say the words “Be Love.” The song in my ears singing, “You are one person, you are two alone, you are three together, you are for each other.” With every heartbeat, I heard, “Go. Be Love.”

So I did. I unanchored us from the sinking ship. Years have passed, and my now ex-husband knows that helpless hoping was not enough. He knows I did it out of love for our children, who deserved a better life than what he was providing them. He also knew that my steadfast practice of self-healing on the Yoga mat was saving my life. I found love for my greater purpose on the mat every time.

I lifted that anchor with strength coming from the love for my Self. He too is now healing in his own way, far away from us, with minimal contact with the kids.

Every so often, a song will play and the helpless hoping is summoned up. But now, it is a distant reminiscence of how far I have come. I fondly remember the strength and resolution that was uncovered in those many nights of fear. I lovingly remember the feeling of my baby’s pressing up against me, those nights literally and figuratively holding me together.

With my consistent Yoga practice, I have symbolically let all else go. I affectionately sit upon the very same Yoga mat to this day. It is worn with marks for my feet. Now I firmly stand balanced upon them, self-reliant and hopeful.

When I hear songs like this one, I can now look back with gratitude:

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*****

 {Unanchored Love.}

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