Pain and Impermanence

Thank the highest goodness for this practice.  My income is violently unsteady.  My personal relationships are in ruins and my life's path is uncertain.  But the practice is always there.  It is my sanctuary.  My office.  My laboratory.  My home.  It is often the only place where I may simply be, apart from my attachments and desperate identifications, to be reminded of the great and simple joy of living, in spite of any pain that may inevitably arise.  I tremble to think where I would be today without it.

These past few months have been very interesting.  My life has been intense and so my practice has been intense.  Where, off the mat, I struggle to find solutions, on the mat there is a clarity and simplicity of logic in which all paths lead to revelation.  I still feel my pain deeply, but rather than resist it with angst and rigidity, I treat it with great value and respect.  My pain.  My teacher.  The source of genius.  Show me the way.

The parallels between my practice and my personal life, my inner and outer lives, have been uncanny.  Changes are afoot.  Ashtanga was the catalyst.  The backbends, the dropbacks especially, opened something huge, something smothered away in dormancy which was suddenly and wildly awakened.  I found my strength.  Not my physical power or my force of will, but an inner strength, a steadiness within that anchors me in the throes of uncertainty.  To dive over backward, blindly but without faith or expectation, sitting comfortably in the unknown, ready to receive success or failure as equally likely and equally right.  Knowing, ultimately, that all is unknown.  There are no certainties, no forevers.  All is impermanence and that is its beauty, its grace.

Rooted in this new found soundness of strength, I soften into the wind and let it take me where it will, waving a bittersweet goodbye to whatever and whoever stays behind, too heavy to be lifted up until another gust comes by and sweeps it all away.  My loves and I may be deposited by these dramatic currents, eventually, in the same dark corner to meet again in the newness of life, to crawl our way into the light together.  Or we may not.  We may never meet again and always carry with us stale fragments of a love that once was whole, marked by the painful extraction of the roots we've grown and wrapped inside of one another.  But these marks are not forever.  This life is short and I will wear my scars with pride as a reminder to myself and all who have the eyes to see that pain is a powerful teacher, and though there is a harshness in the lessons, there is great kindness in the wisdom gained.


  1. Hi Megan, been reading for a little while, but haven't commented yet. This post resonated with me on SO MANY levels. I like to think my scars add texture to my being, but they don't define who I am at my core. It's been increasingly clear to me though, after years of talk therapy, that the emotional scars left by physical trauma need to be worked out viscerally, physically, on my mat. So yes, getting to be friends with backbends (I'm not at present).
    Love love your blog - it's fierce.

  2. Hi Mira - Thank you so very much for your comment. I never know how these personal posts will be received, but I can't seem to help myself. It's got to come out, and all the better that it resonates with someone who may have felt the same. I had always been skeptical of emotional trauma being stored in the body, but over these past couple of years as I've delved even deeper into the practice, I've come to see that the connection is potent and undeniable. I know of no better way to access and release emotional pain than through the body.

  3. WOW - these are words part and parcel of the Astanga brilliance...unveiled and delivered with the utmost understanding you continue to find and offer us. Keep feeling it sister. Keep writing. Keep up the practice.
    E x h a l e . . .

  4. You are such a beautiful writer and I love how you can so clearly articulate thoughts and feelings. I too have been skeptical of the concept of emotional trauma being somehow physically stored in the body. But, little by little I am starting to believe. Every time I find myself in shavasana at the end of class with tears streaming down my cheeks, I know that something has been released. It has been an amazing and unexpected aspect of yoga for me. Thank you for your very candid and thoughtful posts!

  5. They do call the Primary Series "yoga chikitsa - yoga therapy". It's not just physical therapy they mean. Sounds like you are on the right path, girl. Awesome - in the true sense of the word.

  6. Thank you for writing this. At the moment my life has been pretty rough and so much of what I feel has been expressed so beautifully in your first paragraph alone. I truly admire your strength and your attitude towards life :)