THAT, ladies and gents, was what my four-year-old laid on me last week as I somewhat frustratedly wrestled him into the car. His tone wasn’t petulant or manipulative; he just looked at me with sort of sad eyes and said it very matter-of-factly, sharing his feelings. Obviously, I collapsed a little inside and grabbed his hands and put my forehead on his as I tried to think of the right way to apologize, but before I said anything, he added, “But I’ll always keep loving you forever.”
I have really good kids. But that’s not the point. In the moment that he said he felt like I didn’t love him anymore, I saw things so clearly. Everyone is a mirror, but our kids are especially so, and it was so obvious how I’ve been projecting lately. I’m officially in my third trimester, which is traditionally when I start to go mental again, and hooooboy, yup. I’d known I wasn’t being particularly loving and patient with people around me lately, but I had no idea how accurately and forcefully my kids were receiving my junk. I didn’t even realize what exactly my junk was until he articulated it: I feel like _____ doesn’t love me anymore.
This was right before leaving for a training weekend, so during our kriya that night, I was able to learn a little about this dilemma I’m in. It was a pretty challenging set, and my uterus was having none of it. We started out by jogging in place and punching as we rotated in different directions, and as we started out facing north, I happened to be eye-to-eye with a little buddha character. I don’t think Buddha is God any more than the next person is, but that statue became a prototype for a minute in my brain, and I got so angry. Apologizing, I punched the heck out of that little Buddha in my mind, because I could hear my son’s little voice blending with my own: “I feel like you don’t love me anymore.”
I know God loves me. Nothing can take that away from me. But sometimes it’s hard to really feel it because I block it in lots of ways. Sure, my son hasn’t done anything other than be a four-year-old and I’ve reacted poorly, but I’m going to assert that I haven’t done anything other than be a 28-year-old who doesn’t react well neurologically or physically to growing humans, and I’m pretty sure God reacts perfectly and cuts me some slack sometimes. But feeling unloved is cruddy and makes us act cruddy to those around us. So I took that out on God, who always takes it without complaining and just waits patiently for me to come around. Someday I’ll be like that, I hope.
The next several postures gave me horrible contractions. I have a consistent history of being basically in early labor for about 5 months with each kid, so this isn’t an alarming thing, but it is extraordinarily annoying and often painful. And I was getting so mad, because the strength of the contractions was enough to prevent me from doing most of the postures, and I realized very clearly that this was the source of my frustration lately: I feel so limited, and I resent that. I feel limited physically, but even more I feel limited emotionally and spiritually, and because I know that sense of limitation is in many ways an illusion, I get even more frustrated with myself for being so weak that I can’t even muster proper perspective, which is obviously super productive. Because interacting with people forces me to acknowledge my current limitations, those people become the target of my resentment. It makes it easy to feel like everybody doesn’t love me anymore. Lucky everyone!
Talking about anger, Yogi Bhajan said, “So in the center of the heart is a furnace. Either it can cook for you or it can burn down your house, and there is nothing in between. That is the tragedy of it.” Amen, brother.
Luckily, because this kriya was so challenging for me, I got to burn a lot of junk during it. And especially because soooo many of the postures required me to lie there like a slug in defeat or, at most, do a super-modified version for a fraction of the time, eventually it became crystal clear that spending any more time angry about it would be a serious waste of time and energy. What I love so much about kundalini sets is the way the movements guide your mind into a specific direction of clarity, no matter how much the mind resists. Even though I wanted to be angry and defeated and just mean in general with myself, eventually the kriya won, and I surrendered to accepting myself for where I am right now. I started to be gentle and grateful with my body and, by extension, my spirit. I am where I am right now. I am limited and very weak in some areas, but I am limitless and scary-strong in others. And I am okay.
Relief and gratitude and love were able to wash over me as we finished the kriya with a simple silent meditation. I was able to make a decision: even though the chemical cocktail in my brain right now makes it easy to feel like God (or anybody) doesn’t love me anymore, I can choose to be like my son and say, “But I’ll always keep loving you forever.” That’s the only way to break down the gates around my heart and climb up to that throne of divinity we all have equal right and access to, and it’s supposed to be hard sometimes. God knows we’re made of unbreakable stuff, because we’re made of God, and even if we believe that, sometimes we have to face circumstances that prove it to us. We have to know and not just believe so we’re not afraid to ask for the things waiting for us.
Choosing love is hard for me, because I am innately selfish. There have not been many times in my life when God has directly asked me to work on my selfishness when I’m in a pit, but I’m being asked to do the things that hurt right now. It’s a huge blessing--even the part where I fail enormously most of the time. It’s good to see how much is left to be done.
I like to flip my scriptures open after asking a question (remember that hukum word?) because God is really good at answering questions if we’re looking for those answers, and here’s what I just turned to:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
This is obviously one of the scriptures that inspired a verse of "How Firm a Foundation," one of my favorite hymns. Because I don’t have much else to say on the subject for now, I’ll finish up with some of this hymn’s unfortunately lesser-known verses:
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
Even if whatever you’re going through right now might look weaksauce to people around you or even to yourself, it’s what you’re going through, and you don’t need to apologize for struggling. I don’t need to apologize for struggling. What I need to do is to love and to choose God even when I’m angry, because if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that that God who lets me go through periods of darkness and confusion is the same God who always, always, always responds to every outburst I can invent with an eternal, “But I’ll always keep loving you forever.”
Exploring the spiritual side of things. Brevity is not my forte.