There is nothing wrong with you. You don’t need fixing

You are perfect, in all moments

You are perfect, in all moments

By Kara-Leah GrantMusings from the Mat

I wrote this article about four weeks ago. It’s an example of how subtle our layers of reality are. It starts with a story I’m telling about my life and about myself.

Out of that story, I extrapolate an unconscious belief, identifying this belief as something that needs fixing, changing, letting go, or releasing so my conscious reality will change.

This has been a useful process that’s helped me heal much over the last few years.

Yet this process doesn’t end there. There’s another subtle layer – that which seeks to fix, change or alter something in order to make everything feel OK.

That’s the next layer that reveals itself. Deepening into that layer reveals that there is nothing wrong with me, or my life. At some point, all the fixing, changing, letting go and releasing also has to stop.

Instead there comes a deep acceptance of myself as I am. Paradoxically, out of that deep acceptance of myself as I am grows a natural evolution of Self.

Here’s the process, laid bare for you to witness:

Four weeks ago:

It’s been almost nine years since I went crazy. Nine long years. And you know what?

There’s still something at my core that believes there’s something wrong with me and I must have done something bad for that to happen to me.

My fiance at the time broke up with me – sure he was unable to cope with  crazy wife-to-be but he was well on his way to dumping my arse anyway. That was part of what was driving me crazy.

I couldn’t figure out how this man who’d fallen so madly deeply crazily (!) in love me was now… not. I was still the same person right? Only he’d gotten to know more of this person, and down at the core, at the very depths of me, he’d found something not lovable.

I was unlovable. Worthless. Broken. And now crazy.

Oh these are subtle layers of consciousness, buried deep. But they rule our lives. It’s ruled my life. For the past nine years I’ve been working working working at healing and recovering and figuring out my psyche and proving that I am good enough. That I’m worthy and not broken and definitely not crazy.

You’d think I’d have done it by now.

Hell, it’s almost laughable every time a long buried truth floats up to the surface. The last time it happened was August 2012, just after I launched the PledgeMe Campaign to raise $20,000 for a Best of Yoga Lunchbox book. Launched on Saturday. Fell to pieces on Tuesday night. Broke through on Wednesday. Lesson learned, insight gained.

Can I graduate now?

Apparently not. Let me see. Launched my book electronically last Friday. It’s selling well. Things are in motion. All is good. And yet.. and yet.. and yet… WTF?

What is wrong with me? Why don’t I feel light and joyous and delighted?

How come I just feel shattered and exhausted and tired? Oh wait – I’m a single parent responsible for my child 24/7 singlehandedly putting out a website, a book, newsletters, articles and managing an ever burgeoning website all by myself.

That’s what’s crazy. Why the hell am I pushing myself so hard? Sure, I want to be financially independent. That’s part of it. (Thank you NZ government and tax payers for the support you offer single parents like me.) But feeling deeper, there’s something else.

Tonight, after my three year old pinched me yet again, I broke down in tears. Always a bad sign. I sat. I cried. I observed. I breathed. Yada yada yada. I’m so over this, WTF? What is wrong with me?

Child in bed, on my mat, Child’s Pose for ten minutes. Bliss. Wide-legged child. Tears. More tears. Deeper now.

This isn’t the exhaustion of a pinch-bruised mother, this is older and deeper. Sit with it.

Man why does there always have to be more? How come other people don’t get all this shit all the time? Maybe there is something wrong with me? Maybe this is what bi-polar is about – feeling deep feelings and running away from them. Only I’m not running anymore. Maybe a half-hearted dash but I always relent.

Moment out to read Facebook – noting need to connect, must find flatmate, can’t live alone, more madness – chance upon an article from one of my favourite bloggers, Slade Roberson. In Manifesting 100 Percent he says:

“You are 100% responsible for everything you manifest in life.”

I’ve put that in quotation marks because I do not believe it.

I just don’t believe it’s that simple. I don’t believe you have that much control over reality.

I break down again near the end of the article, sobbing. Watching myself sob. Ok, so this is interesting, what about this is touching something within me. (See how this works – I’m still learning how to work out feelings. Sure, I can feel ‘em now, but I don’t always know what they mean or what they refer to…)

I’m not 100% responsible for everything I manifest in life.

Flashback to craziness. Maybe that wasn’t my fault.

Well doh, of course it wasn’t your fault, it was just one of those things.

One of what things?

Those things that happen – life. Life happens. Then you deal with it.

It comes back to control. Which may be why I’m despairing over my son pinching and hitting me. I can’t control him.

The dots are beginning to connect now. An email from my ex-partner. A conversation with a close girlfriend.

Control.

Before I went crazy, I’d let go of trying to control life. I was just relaxing and enjoying life and having a blast and not worrying about too much. Then WHAM. Psychosis. Twice.

Now, I’ve been trying to live life right and do the right thing and make sure that nothing like that ever happens to me ever again.

Problem is, living like that has put me in a strait jacket. (Never had one of those at the Acute Psych Unit.)

I need to let go. Trust. Surrender. None of which is new.

I know all this. I get this lesson over and over and over and over again.

But how the hell do I do it? Especially when I’m completely responsible for a three year old and on incredibly tight finances. How do I let go and trust and surrender?

I don’t need to know the answer right now. I just need to ask the question. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this process, it does have it’s own rhyme and reason. Written out, The Process looks something like this:

  • I feel like crap.
  • I know there’s tears on the way.
  • I get on the mat. Have a bath. Take some time.
  • Cry and cry and cry and cry.
  • I note insights arising. Note events and people and memories arising from the past. Note what needs to be seen.
  • I write it all out. Ask what’s needed.
  • I sit in the unknown.
  • I take more time out. Yoga. Bath. Writing.
  • I sleep.
  • I wake up feeling… clear.
  • Insights arise. Something’s released.
  • Ahhhhh…

How come they don’t teach this in school?

******

Now, reflecting on this first piece of writing, this is what I see:

Life has again shifted and changed, as it always does. Yes, as a result of the process above I was able to see some old issues around trust and letting go, but out of this particularly difficult day something deeper than that also became clear.

  • There is nothing wrong with me.
  • There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, or low, or depressed.
  • There’s nothing wrong with these feelings.

They’re just feedback mechanisms in the mind/body. They come, they go. What creates the suffering that you see above is my idea that there’s something wrong with me for being how I am.

There isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with me.

We are always worthy, simply because we’ve been born.

We are always loveable – and the inability of other people to love us doesn’t change this.

We are always whole, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

Yet nothing we do in the outside world can bring home these truths to us. And that’s why I was feeling so awful this particular day. I thought publishing my first book would fix me and make me feel ok. When it didn’t… it totally spun me out.

At least, it could have spun me out if I didn’t have my yoga practice to ground me as I observed the thoughts and feelings I was having.

As a result of those observations and inquiry into what was happening, I was able to let go of the idea that something was wrong with me (nothing’s wrong with me!) and let go of the idea that I need to prove myself worthy (I’m worthy just because!).

So many of us are practicing yoga and meditation because we’re trying to fix ourselves – we’re trying to fix our  bodies, our minds, our emotions and our spirits.

This is all good and well, and can serve a valuable purpose. But at some point as we allow ourselves to drop below the fixing we discover that we are actually perfect just as we are.

That’s the radical shift that changes everything.

Suddenly, we’re arrived.

Suddenly, there’s nothing else to do.

Suddenly, there’s nowhere else to go.

Suddenly.

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Comments

  1. Eve Grzybowski says

    Hi Kara-Leah,
    I appreciate your courage in revealing yourself in this post. Thank you.
    I thought you might like the Pema Chodron quote featured in our YogaAnywhere newsletter:

    When people start to meditate or work with any sort of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” If I only could get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.”

    But loving kindness… toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything… [It] means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better.

    It’s about befriending who we are already.

    The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

    PEMA CHODRON
    The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness

    Take good care of yourself, and stay vulnerable!
    XO Eve

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Eve,

      I loved the quote – and added it to your comment so other people can read it easily. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      KL

  2. Nobody says

    99.99% of all Yogies, seekers & spiritual folks all are not free thinkers. They enjoy the camradire, seeking and spiritual aspects of it all. But never go beyond that.
    They all live in the cage they were born into. They exist there without question. They love the drama and suffering of life. If they didnt, they would leave.

    It is clear however, that you do not fall into this category. You are a free thinker and question everything. Most importantly however is the fact that you are asking the correct questions.
    You know you are in a cage and you are questioning it. You have been for a long time.
    Knowing you are in a cage is the first step into leaving.

    The door is open. All one has to do is open ones eyes and see.
    Simple…but unfortuneatly simple is not easy.

    From the way you describe and talk about you on this website I feel that the following books may aid you in fine tuning your questions.
    They wont give you answers, but may help you nail down the questions.
    They are simply written, without religous mumbo jumbo.

    Jed McKenna Trillogy
    Pefect Brilliant Stillness – David Carse
    The End of Your World – Adyashanti
    Haunted Universe – Steven Norquist

    Please know, that all the answers to all the questions you seek, are inside you. Keep asking questions.
    If you keep doing so, something interesting might happen.

    Peace & Happiness

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hello Nobody,

      (Is anybody out there?) Great book suggestions – thank you. Simple is never easy, is it? I shall look forward to reading those books and to something interesting happening ;-)

      KL

  3. David says

    YES! The concept in yoga/meditation of needing to fix something is very similar to the psychology behind selling women beauty products etc (men are not immune to this either). Its the whole idea that something about us is not right. Yoga uses a very effective marketing tool to promote itself. Well done on sharing your experience about all this ‘I am broken and need fixing’ yogic tradition.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey David,

      I don’t know if it’s a yogic tradition so much as a part of our Western Culture. Regardless, it’s a subtle layer that affects many of us.

      KL

  4. lezzle_nz says

    Look up the teaching of Sydney Banks, the 3 Principles. He expands your idea of ‘I’m OK, it’s ‘thoughts’ that make me not-OK’. Inate health and wellbeing are our default, there’s nothing to ‘do’ to get there. We’re already there, under all the thoughts of I’ll be happy/better/healthier/safer etc. when…….. (insert your own version of when I’ve lost weight/practice yoga EVERY day/earn more money/change job etc).

    Such a simple concept but boy, you can lose sight of it so easily! Just requires self compassion and practice, practice and practice. Just like yoga.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Lesley,

      Thanks for the tip – I shall check out Sydney Banks. It is such a simple concept – but simple is never easy! Sometimes I think that the key learning of humanity is to move towards simplicity instead of getting all caught up in the bells & whistles of our own cleverness & complexity.

      KL

  5. Jessica Powers says

    Love this. I’ve been really upset by a sign on a local yoga studio saying ‘Happy Yogi is a Healthy Yogi’ and the equation it’s making to between a state of being and a state of body. I get it on one level, yes we need to take care of ourselves, but some of my worst emotional times (insomnia, depression) were during times of greatest physical health (diet, exercise, weight). There’s a fine line with taking care of ourselves and seeing the connections and causality of things and working to improve/expand/grow ourselves, and letting go and accepting that, as you say, we are worthy simply for being here. Nothing else trumps that, it just covers it up or distracts us from it.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Jessica,

      It is insidious – this idea that if we’re not ‘healthy’ there’s something ‘wrong’ with us. Yes we need to take care of ourselves and yes sometimes we can understand the causes of ill-health and bring ourselves back into balance, but when we are sick, that too becomes something else to accept. That’s where we are… in that moment at least.

      Lovely to hear from you!
      KLx

  6. Sara says

    I love the way you write your process down so honestly. It shows true courage. Your clarity, honesty and courage are gifts to the world, and so is your suffering. xxx S

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Sara,

      I’m not sure if it’s courage, or just a learned sense that writing it all out gives me clarity. Regardless, it works for me and for people that read it and that’s what matters.

      Klx

  7. Terimoana Gilgen says

    Hi KL . Remember me, the lady who needed some grounding work…. to let you know how Im going note…… I started the 40 day programme, with some addys for myself on things I wanted to do for me for the 40 days…however at day 32 I did something that was very “UNgrounded” which upset my husband… “broke one of his/our rules” anyway it came with great sadness as consequence of my choice…. He forgave me a few days later and so I decided to start the 40 days again from scratch. It has been good for me indeed. Just a note from our private emails… Its been going on for 3 years not 3 months. (hope you remember my special discovery).. I continue to do the grounding work which has given me clarity of mind, thoughts, heaps of epiphany’s and self acceptance.. and no need to follow the path I asked your advice about…. I read all your notes here to other people and wanted to ask are you indeed Bi-polar.? Thankyou again for your vulnerability in honest writing… … … na Terimoana

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Terimoana,

      Lovely to hear how your journey is going, and yes I remember our emails. I’m so glad that the grounding practice is bearing fruit for you.

      Am I bi-polar? I don’t even know what that means, and to a degree, neither does the medical profession. It’s a label to describe a collection of behaviours that can surface in a persons life. Do those behaviours show up in my life? No, not any more. Did they show up in the past? Some of them did. Does that make me bi-polar? I have no clue.

      Blessings,
      KL

  8. Nikki says

    Kara Leah do you know how much by being so “real’ helps people?
    I met you at the yoga retreat in Auckland recently and put you on up on a pedi stool because you are beautiful and warm and amazing at what you do. And I so I got your book while I was there, which was perfect timing because I had just had a month of depression outta no where….. I thought that I had cured myself and bamm!I started being fascinated by yoga and meditation about a year ago after I myself reached burnout and major bowts of depression. And until recently had been feeling amazing….. by hearing you keep it real and say it’s ok to have crap days and it’s ok to not have to be perfect at your yoga practice has helped me so so much. I had been to try different ones and some how yoga was starting to feel out of reach….So by being the amazing woman that you are will be helping so many others. Thank you so much, I hope that you too are finding your happy xo

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Nikki,

      So lovely to hear from you. Meeting people like yourself at the conference was the highlight for me (that & teaching a room full of eager yoginis!). It is so easy to put those in the public eye on a pedestal as often we only see their game face, never the anguish of life going on in the wings. I would hate to think that yoga was ever inaccessible for anyone, but I know that for many people, the way yoga is portrayed in the media can make it exactly that. I’m so glad you’ve found your way to a practice.

      What I’m learning is that sadness & happiness are both a part of life – they’ll always be there. We’ll always go up and down. Shit will always happen. We’ll mess up, get sick and die. However, by leaning fully into those experiences – truly living them – a deeper layer of eternal joy reveals itself. So even in the midst of the deepest grief, we can feel the pure joy of being alive.

      Much love,
      KLx

  9. Stacey says

    I just wanted to share a bit here:
    I just had this realization this past Sunday, May 4, 2013 and have been processing it all week. And then I come across this article of yours. I never heard of you or your site before now. But I love that the Universe (or whoever/whatever) guided me to this article of yours…such Beauty is the life, eh? So thank you for putting so eloquently my realization into words, haha. Really, beautifully and wonderfully said…I am right there with you….
    Thank you,
    From the other side of the world….Pennsylvania, USA.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Stacey,

      Oh I love that too… glad you found me & the site! Such is the beauty of life.

      Many blessings,
      KL

  10. Omy says

    Thank you thank you!!! Reading this is like Reading my own words. Im a bipolar and im being trying to fix myself all the time because all the “failures” in my life (relationships, Jobs). Im a single mom of a 5 yo girl. I struggle every day, i struggle with yoga i started more than a year ago and then stop practicing and now im trying to take it back and it seems i cant find my path back in yoga. im lost and I know that….. but everyday I try to find myself again.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Omy,

      I’m so glad you found this article, and got something out of it. Stick with the yoga practice… it’s been the most valuable thing I’ve ever done!

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