“Truth lives in the mud of this moment. It exists in the messy interplay of emotion and relationship and in the personality traits I’d rather leave behind. To experience truth doesn’t take sainthood or dissolving my desires. It requires diving into the muck and the mire of what’s here, feeling the anxiety and fear, knowing the entirety of me without hiding from the shadows of from the light. Choosing to be whole, awareness makes the leap to see that I am truth—always was, and always will be—the radiant singularity, the infinite in human form. The lotus never blooms without sinking root deep in mud.”
— “Mud of the Moment,” Limitless: New Poems and Other Writings by Danna Faulds
A new year brings new beginnings. I am glad that 2016 is over. I am ready to continue on my journey in life without the looming deaths and divorce of last year. I am not a person who makes New Year’s resolutions, but instead I have chosen to enjoy the new beginnings that are now a part of my life, moving forward on my quest for personal growth. Life experiences change us. They challenge us throughout our lives and often occur with little or no warning at all. I have been given a wide variety to grow from.
Once, my life felt more like dodging mud in a mud pie fight rather than a beautiful lotus growing from its wet dirt. As a farm kid, we would make mud pies and bake them in the sun or throw them at each other. However, unlike those youthful memories, the mudslinging of adulthood hurts more than the slap of the mucky mess thrown in young innocence.
I hit rock bottom in December of 2015. Unfortunately, I had the discomfort of revisiting those feelings of loss and impermanence in my life again this December. It was a flurry of organizing taxes and arranging schedules, ordering supplies and promoting workshops and retreats so that this year would be productive. The last few Decembers, the normal studio stress was accompanied with new holidays stresses and the reality that I lost people who impacted me the most. In the past, the holidays were my favorite time of year, but the last two years stand as a blatant reminder of the losses.
I felt the wounds of 2016 very deeply, but the scars no longer have as much of a mark on my life. In reality, they will always be a part of me, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. All of the challenges from last year have forced me out of every comfort zone in every single way possible. My lover had an affair and divorced me. My cousin, my mom, my grandfather, and my grandma passed away. I was kicked out of my house, and my gardens were no longer mine. I almost lost my studio. I lost my identity, and for a time, I lost myself. All year I felt the penetrating fear and crippling anxiety in waves, soon finding myself living in survival mode just to scrape by. For those of us who have endured these experiences, survival instinct is a necessary part of living through trauma and loss.
It was then that I experienced a disconnect from life. It was important to keep in mind that through the passing of time, there was obligation to move on and live. Reflecting now, I am unsure how I made it. It seemed as though it was years rather than months passing. I knew I would need to work on myself once could get my feet on the ground. I stayed with a friend for awhile before moving to Northeast Minneapolis. My life began to change once I moved, and I realized that I could withstand it on my own. The taste of balance returned to my life once again, but not before being struck with my grandma’s death. I have not fully processed her passing. I have been able to write and release all of the challenges but have found myself missing words that honor the true inspiration in my life. Certainly, it will be something to revisit again.
I know I have endured, and now I am able to see more clearly. I am not trapped in the mud but reaching through the muddy waters to feel the light and love that life has to offer. Together, my family experienced the same losses, though they do not share the same struggle with my divorce. I have the support of my family and my friends whom checked on me in times of need, listened to me express my sadness and fear through flowing tears, and have been patient when I just couldn’t find the energy to give to them. I also had the unconditional love of my pup, Rufus, who at times made sure I got up and went to work, and he made me laugh even when I would rather cry.
Last year, I was brought to my knees with anxiety and fear. I gained so many life experiences that will make me a better person and be present to my life. Today, I do not feel afraid but rather have an overwhelming appreciation for all that happened. I am able to reflect and see much clearer that 2016 was a phase of my life to bring me many life experiences through incredible heartache, changing me in profound ways. I am able to relate to my clients, friends, family and myself in a more empathetic and compassionate way. I am able to be the lotus even though my feet may still be planted in the mud.