“The ox is slow but the earth is patient.” Dad, via Confucius
Sometimes I stop and realize how much I have evolved over time. How quickly I forget life before the change or the times I fall back into old patterns only to, as my yoga teacher constantly said, “begin again.”
Fifteen years ago I lost a year of my life to depression. I was overweight and in terrible shape from self-medicating with junk food, fast food, cigarettes, TV binges and alcohol. With help from a friend and my mother I was able to find a therapist that prescribed anti-depressants. Once I could get off of the couch and had some energy, I began working with a life coach who helped me address the issues that triggered my shut down and begin to imagine and rebuild the life I wanted. It was not easy. I remember it took me a year to rebuild my life as I had alienated or shut out so many people and quit living while I was in my dark hole. I continue to use what I learned from the life coach to check in with myself and to keep having and chasing new dreams and joys.
This morning as I made my breakfast and lunch to take to work, I caught a glimpse of that version of me. She would not be interested in any of the food I was assembling nor would she have done the movement or meditation I had completed earlier. She could not imagine how good it feels to not smoke. She did not understand the correlation between the amount she drank, the crap she ate, the little she moved and the pain it compounded. She did not understand how the process of introspection and self-love brings healing.
What strikes me is how at the beginning change is a struggle and how, in retrospect, it quickly becomes normal. As I look over the last 15, five and last years, I have to really focus to remember what was happening at that time to remember what and how I have changed. It is like I forgot what brought me here. As time passes it becomes easy to gloss over what was.
I often think of my life as an onion; I peel off an outer layer only to uncover another layer. I like to think that the very last, inner part is enlightenment. I don’t know if I will make it there, but maybe the peeling is more than a process. Maybe it is the purpose.