Last week I wrongly called a mans character into question and hurt him deeply. I let pain from a past relationship skew my perception of this wonderful man who I had been dating for a while. I was wrong, even though my reasons for doing so seemed obvious to me at the time. Once I realized my mistake I felt like a total asshole and tried making amends to no avail. I waffled from mentally chastising myself to wanting to shut-down completely with fistfuls of M'nMs and one more glass of wine. I kept wondering what he must think of me. What a disappointment and let down I must be to him after such a wonderful couple of months together.
On my way to a photo shoot at Rathtrevor Beach a few days later, I stopped at a red light only to notice that this man was also stopped at the light on the other side of the highway and he was facing me. I just about died. Rathtrevor is not far from his house so I was certain he would assume I was stalking him out of desperation or something.
It was January 30th and I was freezing. Families were beach combing in winter jackets, but I peeled off some layers and began warming up. As my body moved, I could sense the grief of the passed few days rear its head, and was wondering if it was going to overwhelm me. Eckhart Tolle said "Emotions are thoughts that we feel in the body. If we sit with sadness in the body without going over details with the mind, we start to sense that on the other side of sadness is peace."
I felt my body expand into poses bigger than I normally did and with more ease and strength than I'm accustomed too. I could feel an internal shift happening, but although I felt better I didn't leave it all on the mat and I was packing some home with me. Internal transformations don't always happen while I'm on the mat. Sometimes they create the space for transformation to occur once we're finished.
And that's what happened that evening when Jess sent me the pictures online. As soon as I saw them it was like I was having an out of body experience. I was recognizing myself for the first time. I saw myself... Lesley. But I was also the observer of this woman who is Lesley. It was as though I was able to watch her and be her at the same time.
As the watcher, I didn't see the poses through her body. Instead I felt them. The poses she struck didn't mask the pain and the smiles couldn't alway hide the sadness behind her eyes. As I looked at this woman in the picture I could see she wasn't doing poses she was looking for a way out. She wanted to crawl out of her skin. She wanted out of this pain. She thought she was taking responsibility for the pain she caused, but in actuality she took on the pain itself. It's what she's always done. Her shame had grown disproportionate to the mistake. The remorse she felt for hurting this man released a grief she had been harbouring for years. Residue of past mistakes she'd made. This wonderful woman was reduced to defining herself my her mistakes.
She had devoted her life to fostering peace. As it turns out this was to help others feel it. She had glimpses or moments of it from time to time, but she would never fully experience peace if she were to continue feeling so ashamed. How could this woman feel she wasn't worthy of the same light and happiness she guided her students toward? I wept and wept and wept for her. She was so clearly a woman of great compassion with absolutely none for herself. Her current pain began to crash into ancient self loathing and the resulting explosion poured out of her. Her body shook violently. Great and powerful sobs escaped her mouth and I felt her collapse into exhaustion for what felt like an eternity. In this stillness she became aware I was watching her, I sent her all my love and compassion and she closed her eyes and welcomed it claiming peace for the first time. This was the moment that she witnessed the divine essence within herself and in that recognition we were one.
The following is a slideshow of the photoshoot that began my transformation into recognizing the still conscious energy that resides within me and in all beings...it is in this energy that we are one.
Many thanks to the amazingly patient and resilient Jessica Boyd for taking these pictures and helping me on my journey back to wholeness.