It's 6am. I'm sitting cross-legged in a room full of other crazy people who get up before the sun rises to drag their exhausted bodies into a yoga studio. I've been up since 4:30 because early mornings are the only time I can carve out for myself to work on my novel these days. My eyes are closed and I'm trying to listen to the yoga instructor (who is so amazing I just want to crawl inside her skin for a couple of hours to see what balance and grace and peace feel like).
"Root down through your sit bones," she says. "Really feel your body connecting with the earth today."
So I do. I'm rooted. I'm grounded. I'm connected.
"Take a deep breath in," she guides, and I do. I am really feeling what it's like for my body to breathe today.
But then she tells us to exhale and release it all. Oh no. Anything but release it all. Maybe I should start wearing a shirt with a disclaimer about offers to just relax or let it go.
My breath comes out strained and heavy, and with it a dark shadow seeps out and fills the room. Each exhale sounds like that horrifying moment in sci-fi movies where demons or death eaters materialize out of nowhere. The temperature drops a couple of degrees and I open my eyes to confirm that there is literally thick black smoke coming out of my mouth. It's so dense that everyone around me starts choking. Tears stream down my face. It reeks of fear and the acrid smell of ants burning under a magnifying glass. I try to release it all, but there's so much darkness inside me I know that all the exhales for all the rest of my days will not get it all out. My lungs feel like I smoke two packs of sadness each day. The dark is a cancer slowing eating away just behind my heart. And just when I think I'm about to suffocate in the black hole of it all...
...the little gong rings and we are instructed to open our eyes and I'm back in a room filled with spandex, sweat and the smell of new yoga mats.
THIS is living in the darkness.
Most of my days are so much lighter now than they were a year ago. Weeks might go by where I feel buoyant, weightlessly floating by on happiness.
But then there are mornings like this one (and the past couple of days) where I am humbly reminded that there is still darkness deep inside me and so I am still climbing my way out.
Join me to Climb Out of the Darkness on June 20th.