Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time to Change

There’s a beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda which I love.  “I Like For You to Be Still.”  The next line is “and my voice does not touch you.”  It’s about trying to reach inside of the person you love.
I’m trying to reach inside of myself right now because I am far away and because I am worth loving.  

I realize that you have to reach out in order to be “reached.”  And lately, I haven’t been doing much reaching out.  Or if I have, it has been with some ambivalence.  You have to really WANT to reach out... believe in the process.  Because even when I do, those whom I reach out to (my primary relationship being the main exception), are not people who are readily available.  It’s the nature of it.  Busy lives.  And when they are, they don’t quite understand the extent of my gratitude.  They find me to be far too grateful and for my gratitude to be unnecessary and I notice that as I try to extend it, the conversation I wish to open begins to close down.  Just as I am opening my heart.  
My heart is tender right now.
We magnetize the beliefs towards us which we hold inside.  I believe that.
As much as I want support in my life, I truly believe I fight against it.  It is far easier for me to not rely on other people as much as I want to.  As much as I would love to.  As much as I really need to.  Especially now.
The refuge and harbor of trust and safety was broken very early on in my life.  First chakra.  (When you investigate the chakras, you can become beyond deeply humbled and you begin to recognize that it might not be a bad idea to send some healing to each one of the energy centers of the body.)  
Back to the first chakra.  The break of trust, a pattern of mistrust was set so deep that MISTRUST became a belief system deeply embedded within my heart.  One that I would set out to prove over and over to myself throughout my life through the vehicle of my relationships.
Until the wound is truly and sufficiently healed, a new belief cannot be completely embraced.  
So although I want support, and I do.  I do not lean into it.  And although support shows up, and it does, it doesn’t matter how much support is offered to you when your belief system overrides it with isolation, withdrawal, rejection or whomever the Saboteur is of the day.  
It is the core belief which needs to change.  And be healed.
I recognize that there was sufficient first and second chakra violations which set into motion a deep lack of trust within my spirit which created in me, a belief that repeatedly told me, “I cannot be supported in a sustained way.”  And so why not test it?  And keep testing it? 
I ask myself what it’s going to take.  Three hip surgeries?  Not being able to rely on my own body for support?  
How debilitated by pain and suffering am I going to need to be in order to lean in and ultimately let go of this belief and lay this burden down?
I am proud of myself for the “moments” I’ve afforded myself of leaning in which I have already allowed myself to experience.  I am.  They have been transformative to my heart and have sent me to the deepest places of opening and gratitude I have ever known.  But it is the deeper level of healing and change I am speaking of that need attention, courage, forward motion.  And the stakes are high.  They are.  
I have been through truly difficult times.  Surgeries are tough, no question.  But clinical depression is something that takes you to a place that is both isolating and alarming.  And I know the signs.  I know the tell-tale signs of a spirit that begins to check out.  That isn’t reaching any longer for joy or lust nor ravenous for life.  I have been in those dark waters.  And I have also been the one to pull myself out.  I have been the one.  Because that was my path.  I walked that path alone.  
I don’t want to do that again.
I don’t.
That’s the part I want to change the most.
Of course, I don’t want to be depressed again, but if I am, I trust I have the strength and the skill-set to face what will come at me.
I’m sad.  I’ve been through hell.
I’ve been through debilitating pain that has been a weighty and significant checkpoint.  Seducing me to stay in bed.  And truth be told, it’s taken a lot of “fight” to get up each day and do my rehab for my hips.  
But I don’t want to have to fight so hard.
I want to save my “fight” for when it really counts.  
“I like for you to be still; and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away,  and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.
And let me talk to you with your silence...”
I know when to send out the alarm because I am FAR AWAY.  And I no longer want to be.  I don’t even want to have to send out an alarm.  But I want to know that I am capable of it.  And I am.  I know I am.
It is so much easier for me to just fend for myself, yet, the truth is, I want to change my belief system.  I want change.  I want to change.  I want to know that I have a team of support and love around me no matter what is happening.  I don’t want to have to be in a crisis to have to see it or know it.  That’s not growth.  That’s regression.
I want to laugh with my “team.”  I want to shine with them.  I want them around me.  I want to be the silliest one in the room!!!  I want to stop the pattern of putting my arms up to keep everyone “safe enough” away if I am sad or simply wanting to protect them from the pain I feel inside.  
It’s time.  
I’m good at love.  I great at knowing how to love.  How to give it.  Offer it.  Show it.  All of it.  But truth be told, with the exception of my “main squeeze,” I have a lot of work to do with myself.  I’ve worked really hard on my beliefs about love and how to give love and be loved in a primary relationship.  Exquisitely hard.  And I am proud of the work I’ve done there.  I know my triggers.  I know my shadow places.  I know how to speak about them and I know how to pull myself out of them.  And I also know where I soar.  It’s time to start learning how to change my beliefs about longevity and trust in the rest of my relationships.  It’s time.
It’s a new year.
First one foot.  Then the other.  
A healthy new year to all of us.  May this be a time when we can all figure out precisely what we need.  And may god point us in the direction of showing us that we can offer each other ALL of these beautiful and simple blessings.
Jill Bacharach

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Linebacker Legs

“And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them.
From Stephen Schwartz’ song “For Good” from “Wicked.”
The student- teacher relationship, for me, is an extremely powerful one.  I see it as a transformative dialogue where growth can explode in exponential ways.  
I have had fascinating experiences with teachers since becoming a yogin.  And I truly believe a great teacher is listening to how much a student is willing to leap and at what pacing.
When Sianna met me during a week long training, after seeing my hand placement on my mat, she walked over to me and had me do the first demo, and it was a handstand.  Elena, commented immediately on my hands and then on my handwriting.  Then, the following day, from clear across the room, walked over and told me to demonstrate a handstand simply by saying, “come into your pose.”  The Master Iyengar teacher put me in Savasana after my third pose.  Seane said, “I need to be careful with what I say to Jill because she will take that instruction and do it to the 900th degree.”  Matthew Sanford said, “don’t rip through your strength.”  Darren said, “it’s just like Jill to use the word ‘FIERCE.’”  
My physical therapist was helping me today because my iliotibial band is in major spasm after I have been attempting to strengthen my adductor which has been weakened after my last surgery.  He said that it feels like I have “LINEBACKER legs!”  Now isn’t that just what every woman wants to hear?
I’d like to know how this is possible.  I have been convalescing for six months now.  How is it that I have “linebacker legs” and not atrophied ones?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the size or shape of my legs (although I wouldn’t mind if they were a little less bowed).  I don’t have body dysmorphia.  I am just completely perplexed and I’m certainly not happy about the I.T. spasms!  
I have to negotiate with my Physical Therapist quite a bit.  He tends to go in very aggressively to address the pain I am experiencing.  And while the “fierce” Linebacker may have once been on board, the spirit inside that is trying to heal the body cannot line up with this approach.  I grip and fight and resist and everything gets worse as a result.  And then we are not in good relationship to one another.  So, lately I have been teaching him how to better “treat” me so that we can get further along in my treatment.  And it’s working.  
It’s working because I’ve been well informed by many of my teachers.  They have all shown me that I need to learn how to “do less.”  
My teacher Desiree said of me: “I’ve never seen someone so aware of what they need to change, and so willing.” 
For the last seventeen years I have suffered from severe migraines.  There was an entire year of my life in which I underwent so many forms of treatment that I was being treated with cancer (palliative) drugs because nothing would break the pattern of pain I was experiencing.   
After all of these years, I have learned how to manage my migraines quite well and function exceptionally.  Yet, there remains a particular migraine which comes upon me and stays for a long time (the longest was 42 days) and it is excruciating.  It always starts in my left eye and it is as if a javelin is being driven in the eye for 24 hours/day.  Then the pain travels down my neck, jaw, into my teeth, shoulder, down my arm, into my trapezius and directly behind my heart.  Believe me, the symbolism is not lost on me.
Once I was with Desiree during days and days of having this pattern and on the final day of practice, the migraine was so bad I was losing my vision.  I decided to just listen to the sound of her voice and I kept my eyes closed through the entire practice.  I meditated throughout and as tears streamed down my face from the pain I was in, I “asked the pain to go away” and for a while, it did.  It was a gift.  All of it.
This morning, I felt into the “eye” of the pain again.  And something new came to me.  Something connected to having these linebacker legs.  Something connected to having been told I can “do less.”  I recalled Christina telling me I was “over-achieving.”  Anodea telling me to soften and “let go of the armor.”  And my Iyengar teacher asking me if my quads were always so “over-developed.”  So as I felt the pain in my eye which has not left me for nearly a week now, I realized something big.  Perhaps this pain is the result of not knowing how to surrender to “guidance.”  
The sixth chakra is the command center.  It is the center of light, purpose, insight, guidance, wisdom.  It is where we find our stillness.  And becoming STILL allows us to SEE CLEARLY.  (Hard to see clearly when gripping in pain.)
The sixth chakra is the chakra of intuition.  I listen well to my intuition.  But where I am blocked, where I don’t “see clearly,” is in allowing myself to be guided and held by god.  
It’s true.
I spoke about my faith.  And how I know I have it.  But what I can see in this is that there is a block.  Still.
It’s similar to how I found my “block” at the Rope Wall.  How I realized I didn’t know how to allow myself to be HELD, because that too, was a block for me... A first Chakra block.    So healing can come from being held or healed by a parent and/or in allowing yourself to be held or healed by god.  
The sixth chakra is the place where we recognize our patterns and it gets shut off if there are things we don’t want to see.
I am sensing that my ocular (eye) migraine is a “fight” I haven’t fully unravelled yet.  But it is a pattern which does not serve me.  But a pattern I have used in order to survive my first chakra (self-preservation) and third chakra (ego identity and boundaries) wounding and therefore, I have not found a way to surrender in body or in spirit to my higher spirit guides (sixth chakra).
What I have known to do is grip, drag my body through by using my strength and my WILL rather than surrendering.
When Sianna and Elena saw my hands, they responded to an adeptness.  Something they knew they could rely upon.  Like on a battlefield.  But once upon telling Elena, “I have no stability in my feet,” she responded “That’s probably why you’re so strong.”  She KNEW it was a response of overcompensation.  So from there, I knew I could grow.     Because there was no veil.  
If a teacher simply told me that I was strong- I would not go back and continue with him or her.  Because I know who I am.  And I know the places inside of me which are asking to grow, to be knocked off center, which are over-achieving, which need integrating, which need humility, guidance, love, breath, and I also know the places which simply want to play.  I also know the people I can ask to usher me into these places with honor and with skill.  And it is for this knowledge and this joint effort that I am most grateful.
For today, what I will ask is this:
God, dear god, come sit in my heart.  
And in yours.
Jill Bacharach

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Larger "Yes"

There is a spiritual teaching I enjoy that we can step into saying “no” in order to make room for a larger “yes.”
With injury, the spirit and the body certainly test this practice and it is up to the practitioner to choose how to step in.
I have been been saying “no” to asana in order to heal my body, in order to make room for the possibility of resuming an asana practice some day.  And for those of you who tell me that you haven’t practiced in a few days, let’s agree that “not practicing” (for a few days) and “saying no” (to practicing) are two completely different discussions.
There are people who will try very hard to ask things of you which just may not or may no longer be appropriate for you.  It doesn’t mean they still won’t ask.  Working a spiritual practice (of any kind) often means figuring out how to put up a clear boundary and learning how to say “no.”  Sometimes, it even means learning how to say goodbye.
I don’t like saying goodbye.  I really should be a darn professional at it.  But I love what Isak Denison wrote years ago when she said: “I’m better at hello.”  
I have a great deal of insight into why I feel this way and what gets triggered within me, what is getting triggered the very instant it is getting triggered, how to track it and how to speak about the trigger as it is happening.  So good for me!  Yet, there is still a world of pain in there which I must walk through in order to make it to the other side once a good “pouncing” occurs.
But the “pounces” are now things which are related to deep loss and unexpected occurrences.  Things we have little to no control over which we all must face as a reality throughout our lives.
The moments when others attempt to pounce upon me, I am very well-equipped for because I have a clear sense of what is in alignment for me and for my life. 
When someone whom I perceive is not good for me (based on a history together of having been the recipient of cruelty, manipulation, lying, cheating, and a plethora of unhealthy ingredients) attempts to try to work his or her way back into my life, I am now at the point where I feel comfortable saying “no.”  This was not always the case.  I spent YEARS of my life indulging him or her in order to allow space and time for healing and forgiveness and honoring hurt to heal only to realize that if a person is not ready to do his or her own work, he or she will continually do anything to re-engage you in the same process over and over no matter how unhealthy that process is for YOU.  And I am not exaggerating in stating that I spent YEARS of my life doing this.  Believing it was the kind and compassionate thing to do, to help “the other” person find their way and allow for healing.  And in each scenario, my friend or mate was never sated, always needed more, and I was always left exhausted and depleted.
I now know that I have done what I could to complete my relationships in each of their forms and that if I say “no” to re-engaging one, that I am doing so in order to say “YES” to a healthier way of living, to staying on my right path, and that saying “no” is not an act of cruelty, but actually an act of minding my own business and knowing what belongs to me and what does not.
I know I can keep my heart open and bless from afar with integrity, with truth and with sincerity.  And that I needn’t engage in getting any closer than that.  
Yesterday, I sat and watched people in another city inside of a Starbucks.  I was by myself and I watched many people engaging one another.  I had my headphones on but I could see the sweetness and the connections happening around me.  I noticed that I felt love in my heart for all of the people around me.  None of them knew me.  And they were all far enough away from me.  I mention these two things together because I think they are important.  Headphones on... I closed a part of myself off, and my heart opened right up.  Had my ears been open to the noise, I truly believe I would have closed up immediately.  But I had what I needed to say “no” so that a larger “yes” could occur.  And in the crazy busy spot, on the eve before Christmas eve, my heart felt love for dozens upon dozens of passersby.  
I learned once, that when you close off your ears, it has something to do with your fifth chakra... and that would be how I would communicate... and the fifth is right next to the fourth, which is the heart.  So, maybe for me, closing off my ears, opens my voice and my heart to loving in the ways that I can when I am needing a little more quiet.  
Saying “no” sometimes can really make room for some pretty amazing things.
This holiday season, let’s see what comes of it, YES?
Good tidings to all.
May your worlds be blessed.
Jill Bacharach

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"For Life To Begin"

Twenty years ago, I probably could have been described as clairvoyant.  But although the messages which came to me were incisively clear, they were never “sweet” messages to receive.  I always tried to “check them out” as someone I barely knew, but whom I felt a strong draw to, (or someone I loved very deeply) was alway about to die.  Something about that decade, the decade my father was dying in, the decade in which a cherished “surrogate” mother died.  A woman so dear who was buried with a letter of mine which she had carried through the last year of her life.  I was only in my twenties.
Twenty years ago I was probably clairvoyant.  And I used to awaken every day with a song in my head.  And when that would happen, I would seek out that song, harder then without internet, but not so hard because of my huge music library and because I used TOWER RECORDS as my back-up plan.
I am finding songs coming to me often again, the same songs which used to come to me twenty years ago.  And I am listening.  I am not sharing the details too often here, although the urge to do so is very strong.
Today the song was a song called, “Waiting for Life to Begin” from a Broadway musical called “Once On This Island.”
I can’t imagine that is what I would be doing, but when I was teaching, I used to tell my students “your bodies know far more than your brains.  And they certainly know more than my brain.  So your job is to listen to your body.”  So here it is again.  I didn’t think I was waiting for life to begin... but on a metta level, the song came up... and it’s telling me something... and I hear it!  Big time.  
But truth be told, I don’t need to affirm this with anyone, it’s not nor has it ever been my style to “wait” for life to begin.  When I was twenty years-old, I lived in Florence, Italy.  It was a deeply transformative life experience.  I fell in love with so many parts of living and I began to grow myself in ways which germinated some of my deepest parts.  Florence is where I felt my soul begin to soar and it was the place where I felt true alignment with myself as my soul met with souls which had walked the same streets hundreds of years earlier.  I found myself walking each day closer and closer towards knowing a home inside of me that was fully at peace alone in Italy but part of everything.  At the tender age of twenty.  So I wasn’t waiting for life to begin.  I was seeking, listening, and drinking up every day life and living while holding and honoring the breadth and scope of its exquisite history in every step I took.  
Still, there is something there of merit in this song.  And eventually, I will know how to speak about it.  Right now, I am still too close to how much I have been inside of and that, I think is the point.  I have been far too inside.  And not letting too many people in.
Writing allows an audience, if there is one, but it is so private.  It is like speaking without making eye contact.  Still remaining inside.  Like going to a concert and the singer sings with his or her eyes closed.  I find that devastating.  I would rather listen to his or her CD.  If the person cannot make contact, then I would prefer not to see him or her in person.  But I understand the closed eyes.  I know that place very well.  
The other day, when I was with my Iyengar teacher, having not been on the mat for over five months, I noticed that I made little eye contact.  When I did, the contact was there, but there was much time when I had to close my eyes in order to first FIND MYSELF.  In order to find myself first.  To find a softer breath, even.  It makes me cry to write it now.  That I needed that.  I know I should give myself a break.  First time out.  Swelling.  Injury.  Heartache.  Deep deep heartache.  But I want so much more for myself.  So much more.  Fierce presence.  Fierce fierce presence.  (What was that I wrote a few days ago about softening into the places outside of my comfort zone?  Hmmmm...)
I was grateful for the moments when I heard myself in my full aliveness.  Fully present.  Bright-eyed.  Laughing at myself.  Remnants of a spirit I knew well whether I can move or not.  Mazal Tov!
But the essence of the song, “Waiting for Life to Begin” is a cry out to god.  When I was in my twenties, I used to play it over and over in my brand new car which was fashioned with Bose speakers and I would often get criticized for playing it.  At the time, it was a point of contention in my relationship.  The playing of the song AND the new car.  Really, it was the new car (but that’s for another blog).  I was constantly told the woman in the song was “screaming.”  My position was that she was crying out in prayer to god.  Twenty years later, I still stand by that assertion.  I know she is asking god to hear her prayer.  And don’t you think when you ask god to hear your prayer, you’d ask in the most important way you can (and if singing, perhaps “belt it out”)?  I love the song.  And by the way, if you are going to take a listen, get the Broadway version, NOT the London version.  Just a suggestion.  The woman who played the lead on Broadway (a woman named LaChanze) ended up playing Celie for Oprah in “The Color Purple” on Broadway (with a ten year span in between).  
I know it’s no mistake that this song came to me today.  My spirit has been crying out to god in a deep way and I am crying out to remember to listen in an even deeper way.  So there it is.  It may not be time for me to press up like I used to with little effort and sweet joy and ease, but it may be time for me to begin standing for longer than five minutes.
Pade pade.
Everything changes.  
Messages still come strongly to me.  It isn’t important for me to share what they are.  But it is important for me to listen to my body.  Listen to my intuition.  Stay on track.  Listen to the footsteps like I did when I was was twenty living in my beloved Florence.  And I could hear the hush of Michelangelo’s aching feet walking on the same cobblestone path that kept leading me home.
There is a reason why listening gets you further than anything else.  It’s because, when you do it well, it feels just like love.
Waiting... only in love.
Jill Bacharach

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I love timepieces.  I enjoy their beauty and I enjoy them as a classic artform.  Many units of precision working together for a grander purpose and function.  
I like to view the body the same way.
As an artform.
Some of my teachers have skill which has become an anchor for me.  And I realize that their skill allows me to breathe more life into my own spirit in a way that is my touchstone.  Which is why the ritual of bowing to each other’s hearts is so appropriate and vital.
Yesterday, I crossed a threshold and worked with a beautiful Iyengar teacher who ushered me tenderly in the most therapeutic way to help me with my own body.  A body which has now been through three hip surgeries in a short amount of time and has not experienced asana in a very long time.  Thus, the crossing of the threshold.  
My teacher placed me at her beautiful rope wall.  Four ropes installed inside a nurturingly smooth wood back.  Still, I wasn’t too happy about having to use this wall, as artful and as beautiful of an installation as it appeared to me because I am not comfortable there.  I am comfortable laughing at myself about how uncomfortable I am.  But I am still not comfortable.
I grip too hard and my hands hurt far more than they should.
I know that it must take time to learn how to properly use the ropes, but I sense that I have ambivalence about whether or not I care to.  I feel that in my gut.  
The grip for me is a very strong metaphor.
At first I could laugh at myself and tell my teacher about my last visit to my surgeon’s office.  I was planted there for four hours.  I saw a woman and her husband there and then 3 hours later, her husband returned alone.  He asked me many questions and I was more than happy to help him with the issues it seemed that his wife was having post-surgery.  Why not?  I was having many of my own.  I would want someone to help me!  He told me that his wife’s hands were killing him while using the crutches.  
“Oh!” I said, “she’s probably gripping them too tightly!”  “She needs to loosen her hands up and have some laxity there.  Relax the grip.”  
And then I told my teacher that I didn’t know how to translate this from the crutches to the wall.
As I drove to see my surgeon today it hit me that the two things ARE very different.  I COULD relax my grip with my crutches because I was the one leading the reins.  My intuition tells me that the wall is very different.  In order to properly use the wall, you need to allow the wall to support you.  You must.  And therein lies my ambivalence and my “fight.”  And dare I say it, my first chakra wounding.  It’s why I HATE the wall.  Because that part of my self has some fracturing and does not know how, never learned how to be held.  Eureka!  No wonder it hurt.  No wonder I grip.  No wonder I didn’t like it.  No wonder.
I didn’t say NO to the wall.
I just didn’t know how to relinquish myself to it.  Now I know why.
When my father was dying, I watched a man, previously entrenched deeply in a place of  pride and ego, learn how to let go of both.  For the last 5 years of his life, he had to wear a colostomy bag, which could have been a deep source of shame, had he allowed it to be.  He experienced many losses over those five years and handled them with much courage and without fighting against them.  And when he began to actively die, he engaged the process without resisting it.
I thought of him today when I recalled my GRIP with the ropes.  Because that grip is a deeper truth, no doubt speaking to me about how I am holding myself in the world right now.  It saddens me to know how true this is.  I laughed at myself yesterday, but I also told my teacher that she would need to repeat the words “LET GO” to me many times as I was holding the ropes because I knew I would need to be continually reminded to keep letting go.  That for me, I wouldn’t just “let go” and then be finished with the process.  I would need to let go over and over... again and again.  Like how I work with forgiveness.  I have to keep at it.  Continually.  Steadily.  As a lifestyle.
Surrender.  Forgiveness.  Compassion.  These are very deep practices for me and IN me.  They are also beautiful artforms.  Working together for a grander and higher purpose.  Some days they are deeply challenging.  And in some moments, they come through with pure and utter ease.  Those are blessed moments.  I am blessed for having had them, and they are blessed for having lived their full expression.  
And I keep at it.  In prayer.  With soft hands.  
Just practice.  Faith.  Steadiness.  And a little sprinkle of a whole lot of love.
Blessed be your own artform!
And a very Happy Chanukah to all of my Chaverim!
Jill Bacharach

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Other Side of Descent

There is a place I go to sometimes inside of myself.  It is a very far away place.  I know that no one can reach me there.  I go there alone.  I stay there alone.  I wait there alone.
I used to spend far too much time there.
It’s very quiet there.  
The other day when two of my favorite people asked to speak with me and I didn’t want to engage them, or even hear the sound of my own voice, I knew I was headed for some dark waters.  My job was to throw myself a line.  
So I did.
I stated that I was was withdrawn and sad and I asked of my friend to please not let me stay there for too long.
But the thing is, it’s not up to her.
I only told her so that I could have a witness.  A trusting witness.  
In my history with descent into this place, I have been the only one who could bring myself back and it has always taken great courage and faith to climb back out.  It has been a commitment to not go to sleep around the signals which bring me there.  
I knew it would serve me to track what was happening even though it would be highly uncomfortable and would be the “harder” choice to make.
I find it amazing how I can rally myself in an instant even whilst in this “challenging” place for someone whom I love and adore far more easily than I can for myself.  It’s worth pausing and examining.
Have you ever noticed how you get upset with someone you love when they aren’t taking care of themselves and your “mother hen” (or whatever the male equivalent is) kicks in and you have to resist the urge to micro-manage?  Or... let me go deeper...  as I am describing here.  I am descending into this inaccessible place.  But then I hear the voice of someone I love going there, going to “THAT PLACE” and “Pop!”  I am right out and into the world showing up for my loved one.  Out there... Showing up like nobody’s business.  
Yesterday, it wasn’t so immediate for me when it came to myself.
I went to my dark place.
I have a beloved Yoga colleague who says that I am simply in the contraction phase of the spanda (“pulsation”).  That’s true.  But I know enough to know that it could also be something more vitriolic and needful of my immediate attention.
I also know a lot about my needs.
I’ve been in chronic physical pain for 6 weeks since my last surgery.  For I cannot even count how long before that!  I have not been walking for very long (approximately two weeks), and I certainly have not had a moment of walking without pain.  
For the last two weeks, I have been out of my home.  
For some folks this may feel like an adventure.
For me, it hasn’t been an adventure.  It has been quite dismantling.
Given many of the needs I had as a child which weren’t met, I have a very deep need for quiet and solitude.  And I tend to harvest this need very deeply.  So although noise canceling headphones are wonderful and well worth the investment, they cannot nurture me in all the ways I wish, which is why being out of my home turns into something which begins to dismantle me after a while.
Amazing how I went to that “no one can reach me place.”  A true indicator to me of how far I was pushed out of the “real” home inside of my self... and understandable to me, why I had to travel so far back in order work my way back to myself.
It’s a lengthy process.
I withdraw from myself first.  Of course that also includes deep withdrawal from others.  And then I have to work very hard to find my way back to myself before even considering engaging others.  
When I saw myself not wanting to speak to my dearest people, I knew that I was in big trouble.  And I knew I had much work to do.  When I saw that I didn’t even want to speak, I knew I had to force myself to try.  To soften there.  
Because I truly believe and know that MY GREATEST SELF lies on the other side of my comfort zone.  And that is the place I want to soften into.  
So I took the leap and had a phone call.  And it was really hard for me.  But if I didn’t do it, I would’ve faded far away.  And it would have been harder and harder for me to pull myself back.
I need to soften into the places which are on the OTHER SIDE of my comfort zone.  No muscle.  Just softness.  Tenderness.  Listening.  Love.  Pacing.
That’s how needs get met.
Listening.  Attention.  Skill.  Nothing else to do but let love flow in.
Honor the dark places.
Make friends with them.  Tell them not to stay for too long.  With humor and compassion.  Pour them some wine.  Wish them good tidings.  
And do what you need to do to stay rooted in yourself.  In your deepest and most whole self.  So that you always know how to come back to her.  No matter how hard it is.  No matter how long it takes.  No matter how uncomfortable.
Throw yourself a line.
Learn how.
Take your time.
Descend far as you need... but for every depth you descend, know you can also soar as high.
I know I can.
And I always keep trying.

Jill Bacharach