Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Peeling the onion

Last night I just about went crazy looking for a very important piece of paperwork. Who knew I needed a copy of my divorce decree to apply for a mortgage? I've only done each of these things once; I don't know what kind of paperwork you need to have on hand. The divorce was so basic and simple that it never occurred to me that I'd need documentation of a settlement — there wasn't one.

I was so, so, soooo frustrated in searching for this piece of paper (which, not coincidentally, arrived in the mail on my birthday in 2008) that at one point I was ready to scream! The file that I thought it was in, it wasn't. B and I searched high and low (he's a good sport) through stacks of bills and statements and various paperwork, but it was nowhere to be found. Somewhere, there are several boxes that I haven't opened since we moved 15 months ago, and I know that some of my favorite yoga clothes are in one. I'd bet that effing paper is in there, too.

At first, it seemed like the stress of homebuying was at the root of my frustration. Then, I thought it was the chaos and overwhelmed feeling I got from having so many papers in so many piles all over the apartment (oh, I have grand visions of organization at the new place, believe you me).

But really, the downright anguish I felt came from guilt and shame erupting, once again. Looking through the filing paperwork made me feel like the biggest asshole. It took me right back to May 2008 when I looked someone in the eye and told him for the last time, "It's not you, it's me," and meant it, and watched his whole world fall apart, again. I know with every piece of my being that it was the right decision. But knowing that doesn't make me feel like a good person. It just makes me feel callous and selfish...

At that time, yoga, day in and day out, was the only road to peace and solace I had. I don't know if I was simply drinking the Kool-Aid that Bikram teaches, that if you can stay calm and collected upside-down in a hot room, then you can stay calm and collected under any circumstances. Did the yoga help me become a cold, callous bitch? I don't think so, because in every other arena of my life (at the time) I was incredibly feeling... But where's the balance between strength and compassion? Nonharming nonviolence, anyone?

I don't know how to deal with feeling these, all over again. It feels like the several-month period when I'd go in the yoga room for class and once we hit the floor, I'd just cry, those huge, quaking, silent sobs. Eventually, the sobs passed.

How do I work through this guilt for good, when I thought I already had? Is it even possible to resolve it completely? When do I stop feeling like a shitty person whenever the D word comes up?

Ughhh. Somehow, writing this all out has calmed me. I've been avoiding the mat this week, afraid that the demons will creep out again. I don't want to scare anyone.


  1. Wow. I connect with a lot here--I've gone through the same challenge a few years ago. (And they didn't need my divorce papers when I bought a house! WTF?)

    Your questions are great. I've been thinking the same. I don't think it's that we become callous. I think it forces us to face what is really there, like we do in the mirror. You get the courage to see everything as it really is. Sometimes there are just too many non-negotiables :-(

    I'm glad you're blogging!

  2. Maybe the stuff required varies by state? And maybe because the actual paper-signing was relatively recent (2008). Hmm.

    Ninety percent of the time I don't really think I'm callous or an awful person; I think it's easy for me (us?) to ascribe these negative qualities out of latent guilt. It's so strange to be revisiting this, but it's nice to be 48 hours removed from it.

    Thanks so much for commenting; it's nice to know someone "gets" it, and I'm not just whining to thedancingj and cyberspace. I was reluctant to write about this here, because it's not explicitly about yoga, but I honestly believe that without yoga, I would never have had the strength/courage to move on.

    I love what you wrote - "It forces us to face what is really there." Because that's really pretty important, isn't it?

  3. See, this---this kind of honest, searching post--is what makes a yoga blog interesting. When you go beyond the "today my practice felt like X" and start digging your fingers into the muck and grit that lays beneath the surface, the WHY behind it all. Because, for me, that's what and where the true yoga is---somewhere in that murky and uncomfortable and oftentimes messy, dirty space. Because that's life. And yoga is helping us sort it out, our lives and our bodies and our minds, piece by piece, muscle by muscle, one heartbeat and breath at a time.

  4. Thanks, HJB. Your comment means a lot, coming from one whose voice (and blog theses, if you will) I so admire.

    This got me to thinking... Blessedly, there haven't been too many emotional quakes in the past year and a half. Right now, anyway, yoga practice (or lack thereof) seems to be reflecting my issues with discipline, and I hadn't noticed til now that I typically equate that with "today my practice felt like X."

    Thanks for reflecting. :)

  5. Catherine--wow, that's awesome that we are on the same page this week!
    On a more serious note, indeed, it can be really difficult to look back on certain times in the past. Not all decisions are easy, and sometimes things happen too fast for us to truly reflect on what we are doing at the time. But in the yoga room, we have the opportunity to open our awareness, open our hearts--and that includes opening doors of the past, doors that may have been closed a little too hastily. Over time, with the yoga guiding us, we can look back into these doors, take care to what demands our attention, and then, when we are done, close them, gently, assured, satisfied.

  6. I used to have dreams that I had to "prove" my divorce but that I couldn't find the decree. I used to get out of bed and make sure I had it. It's strange how significant a piece of paper can be.

    Right decisions are usually hard, but their inherent correctness (and a regular yoga practice) eventually allows us to shake off the lingering, sandy bits of guilt and feel cleaner than before.