Working in the yoga community has been an interesting experience for me. I din’t grow up religious; I wasn’t raised with any kind of background of belief. My parents’ instructions were simple: be nice, don’t get hurt. All the way through my teens and adulthood, I had a hard time comprehending how anyone could grow a connection to anything, especially a random figure in the heavens.
I’ve never been personally drawn to pretty colored rocks, to the sounds of people chanting, to beads around my neck, or to a book that claims to know every answer. This isn’t an attack on anyone or anything- it’s just the way I feel. I often wonder what it would it would be like to have blind faith, or to even have a more open heart. As a result of my direct work in a more spiritual atmosphere, I am often confronted with seemingly easily solutions to my day-to-day struggles. Eat vegan. Do more yoga. Focus harder. Visualize. Meditate. Breathe. I don’t see any strong dissimilarities to the religious rituals I found myself shuddering from at a young age: Pray. Believe. Repent. Read the Bible. Get baptized. Etc, etc.
I’ve never been one to say that something isn’t real, or doesn’t work, because I don’t know, and frankly, neither do you. I actually have an extensively nerdy belief in aliens. It’s an area where I’ve done the most research, read the most books, and where my belief system could primarily lie, if you needed to give it a direction.
Working and existing amongst spiritual people has it’s own set of challenges. Per example, if you are experiencing a difficulty or a frustration in your life, it is likely that it is of your own making. You didn’t visualize the outcome you wanted hard enough. You didn’t move your favorite furniture into the right corner of your house. You didn’t love yourself the right way. There are a billion reasons why your life, right now, sucks, and it’s probably because of you.
Am I simplifying an open-minded, loving belief system to it’s core? Certainly. But because I am who I am, and I live with the realities that I do, I am frequently challenged to accept the forces of the universe at work.
Due to my personal background and my experiences, it has been more simple for me to accept that the world is random. Things happen for no reason, there is likely no God or greater power looking over us, and nothing means nothing means nothing.
However, I would be a liar if things didn’t occur in my life that I didn’t take notice of. I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t walk into an aquarium and stare in awe at the beauty of every single fish, wondering if someone hand painted them to be that beautiful. Humans are weird as fuck. We kill and we destroy and ruin great things. But we’ve made some amazing works of art too. As an artist, I’m continuously conflicted by the idea that something greater could be at play.
Here’s the thing: my life has been basically shit for the past year. I lost everything I’ve ever cared about, and I’ve failed on my own scale of measure. Over and over and over again I cried and begged for something to make sense, but things just kept getting stripped away.
Two weeks ago, I got my first acceptance letter into an MFA program. This is something I’ve worked for endlessly. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But two days later, I lost my job. I lost my security, my income, my sense of self…everything that kept me grounded to my hometown until the inevitable move.
It is much easier for me to see this as a random occurrance. Lay offs and job troubles happen everyday. But why, WHY, am I being so viciously forced out of a role just 30 hours after the opportunity of a lifetime. WHY did my car fall apart and then become totaled after I fled from the home I shared with my ex-husband. WHY did two completely qualified teachers just happen to miss their shifts after I debated for months to audition for the space at the yoga studio I now call home? Is everything coincidence? Is everything that random?
Or…is it possible that this big, beautiful universe is catching on to my doubt and realizing that if I’m not physically forced into my own future, I might never take the chance? I will ignore a million red flags if it means I can receive love. I will do anything to prove that the world is random, and that I am a floating, replaceable speck on this earth. But then my friend said something to me that I couldn’t shake: “What if this is what you’re here to do?”
“What if every ounce of pain, every missed connection, every challenge, every failure, was so that you could do this?”
If I’m not writing I literally don’t know who I am. Perhaps every single moment of my confusing, scary, painful, and sometimes beautiful life is all accumulating to the moment where I become everything I’ve ever wanted to be…and maybe it will all make sense. And maybe it won’t. Maybe it’s just as random as expected.
Stranger things have happened. I’m still going to read alien abduction books- so why not take a chance on magic? I believe in myself…do you?