What do you do when the lights go out?
Find a candle.
August of seventeen found me sitting in the dark with no sense of where to look for the light that had gone out on SuperBowl Sunday of that same year. In hindsight the darkness was so complete I wasn’t able to see that light still existed, just not where I had grown accustomed to it being for the past 33 years.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time the first sparks that were trying to lead me to that light were all around me. My dear friend, Jennifer, sent me a link to an app called “Headspace”, before I knew what was going on I found myself spending 10 minutes a day in my back room meditating no matter what else was going on. On a lonely Saturday night emptiness and thoughts of Richard, a friend I hadn’t talked to in quite awhile, resulted in me sitting in the home of two unique and genuine people. We talked, chanted, meditated, and talked some more. I heard and felt things that made no sense but the validity of the experience was never in doubt. In fact when I mentioned to these friends that a decade ago I wouldn’t have even entertained or listened to what I had just experienced, Lauranna’s comment was simply “that’s why the storm that blew through then was unable to extinguish the light, she new you weren’t ready and couldn’t handle it”.
Shortly after that experience I was on a bit of a manic mission that took me from Oceanside CA to Klamath Falls Oregon and back in just over 48 hours. Along the way I stopped in Lassen Volcanic NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, and Pinnacles NP. During those long hours driving my truck NPR was my steadfast companion, all NPR seemed to talk about though was how mindfulness, meditation, and Yoga were for everyone not just hipsters and bendy young women. A woman named Jessamyne instantly became the breathe of fresh air causing that candle flame to burn just a little bit more noticeably. I signed up for the YogaGlo app and did some practices at home, something was lacking though. Thus began my search for studios in my area, unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to overcome the perceived stereotype and just kept trying to figure it out at home.
Dark lonely nights seem to be when what your truly looking for finds you. August 9, 2017, my 31st wedding anniversary, was one such night. Isolating and looking inward after a long day at work I opened Facebook and a post jumped out at me, Yoga at an old VFW hall downtown on Wednesday nights, seemed just right. I sent a message to the host of the group and then fretted when I didn’t hear back immediately. Little did I know that a simple post on Facebook would lead me to the candle I was looking for. People whose candles burned brightly, despite the personal darkness trying to consume them, all of a sudden came into my life. Alison, Danielle, Joyce, Darwin, Ziya, Nichole, and so many others literally and figuratively showed me the way.
My personal practice began through this month long awakening, that practice is ever evolving, expanding, and enhancing the flame on my candle. The fear of that candle blowing out is a constant just like the dark spot created when Karen’s candle blew out will always be there in my heart. Regular practice has helped me to not only find one candle in the dark, but to add candles in other places to help weather the storms that threaten the flame inside.