I think of my edge as that place where the human experience and the deeper self – the soul – the essence – the divine – meet, and sometimes collide. Those moments when we begin to awaken. When we FEEL. When we realize that we are so much more than this body, this space and time - and tune into our intuition, our fears, our resistance, our pain – all in an effort to return to our true self – who we TRULY are.
As a child I encountered my first edge at the age of 11 when I finally told my sister that my brother had been molesting me. It happened in a moment of anger – I couldn’t hold in it any longer. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. It felt so BIG. So much bigger that me. But deep inside I knew that it needed to end. That I deserved to move beyond the abuse, the confusion, the intense pain, and the resulting self hate. I felt fragile, alone, and scared but I dug deep inside of myself and followed my gut. I opened my eyes. I opened my heart. I moved beyond the pain, if even for a moment…I started to awaken.
From a very young age I learned to stuff down my feelings. To pretend. To avoid the edge at all costs. That communication was dangerous and feelings were even worse. I learned that silence was the answer. From that silence grew a pain that couldn’t be ignored. So I didn’t ignore it. I addressed it – I found the edge with drugs. Whatever, whenever, as much as I wanted. I did it. I sold it. I OD’d on it. I lived my life around it. I lived my life on the edge. It showed me more than what I knew. I felt love. I felt a greater meaning in life, a greater connection to the people around me, and I found a deeper part of my soul. Perhaps it’s unusual to look back on a decade of drug use and abuse with such a fondness. But it was what got me to my edge, and my edge is what got me HERE.
Motherhood has definitely pushed me to my edge. If you can’t dig deep for your child, who can you dig deep for? I have learned patience, understanding, compassion, and PURE love from my son. Being so blessed to be his mother carries with it the responsibility of being the best me I can be for him. This requires constant work. A constant pushing up against the edge. With the extreme love that you have for your child comes the other extreme – pain. You ache for them. You feel dropped to your knees and raised up to the heavens all within a moment of each other. In these extreme moments of motherhood I find my purpose, my mortality, that place where my human experience meets something so much larger than you, or I. I find a love so perfect, so divine, and so never ending that it exists beyond this time and space, beyond this body, beyond this human experience. I find my edge, and I smile in gratitude.
There are times in our life when it all just bubbles up. Like hot lava, so thick, so undeniable that you have no choice but to wade through it. To BE in it. That hot lava feeling started for me during my last marriage. He was depressed. Horribly depressed. He was negative, and reclusive, frustrated and miserable. His pain, my pain – the pain of multiple miscarriages and a marriage crumbling beneath me boiled up. The urge to run from the pain subsided and the need to STAY forced itself in – the edge appeared. It was a 40-day transformation. It was yoga. It was journaling. It was meditation. It was exactly what I needed. From that edge I could see my path so clearly beneath me. It was beautiful. And open. It was where I was going – but not where I was. The view from that edge allowed me to see not only where I had been – but where I was called to be. From that edge I spread my wings and jumped – with complete abandon, despite the fear, despite the worry – I jumped as high as I could and as I slowly descended – the net appeared. The net was divorce, the net was leaving my career, the net was following my heart, living my truth, meeting the love of my life, going to teacher training, finding forgiveness – for myself and others – the net was teaching, was Leap, was Yoga, my yoga community, my passion, my path, my love, my purpose, my light. From the edge I jumped and careened into the light.
From the edge I continue to float, finding new edges along the way. Sometimes the view from the edge reminds me of where I’ve been. Sometimes I see where I’m headed. The view behind me is not always so pleasant. The view from the top is filled with light that illuminates all of the shadows beneath, exposing the cracks and crevices, exposing the shadow and the darkness that lives within the cracks. It can be scary and unpleasant. For most of my life I’ve tried to avoid this view – choosing to move away from the edge and gravitate towards solid ground. But there are times when I’ve felt pushed or led there. Like I have no choice but to step up to the edge and just take it all in.
At the end of 2012 I was called to the edge and I decided, yet again, to jump. The edge was ayahuasca, a medicinal herb from Peru in the form of a tea. Ayahuasca takes you on a journey that exposes it all - dark and light. It takes you to the edge and shoves you off. I plummeted into the darkness, opening it up, cracking it wide open and allowing the light to penetrate through. I felt my insides literally ripped out, and years of pain exposed, dissected and ultimately destroyed. In the absence of the pain rushed in light, love, clarity, strength, understanding and healing. From this edge I found the courage necessary to tackle the next edge, and the next, and the next.