In the past five weeks: I killed my cat, overdrew my checking by some $15,000, STUPIDLY saw that guy that treats me like crap yet again (surprise, he treated me like crap, yet again), gained ten pounds (it's muscle?), commenced my fifth month of couch surfing, a boy in my yoga teacher training yelled at me in Starbucks that he doesn't like me because I'm a drama queen and cry too much, the girl leasing my apartment broke the antique table that took me two years to find, all my plants died, and my mom dropped my brand new computer - the one I failed to buy insurance for - on a tile floor.
A lot of poop happened, and it happened pretty quickly. And instead of processing it or just being human about it, instead of actually sitting with what was happening to me as it was happening to me, I found myself searching for the lesson, the anecdote, the affirmation, the positive spin. What would Gandhi do? What does Spirit Holly do?
I cried for one night and one night only over my dead cat and then told myself that she's in a better place and this is part of the universal plan - be strong, move on. I did a loving kindness meditation on the boy that post-coitally called me a psychotic bitch and thanked him in my gratitude list for showing me that I'm not ready for a relationship. The yoga dude that called me a dramatic crybaby? I imagined on a cloud of pink-golden light and told my friends "it's not about me, it's reflective of him" with equanimous sincerity. The $15,000 mistake? I drank a Frapuccino during the 10 minute grieving period I allowed, and then assured myself that money would flow back to me. I mean, money is just energy and the universe has me. I didn't get upset about broken antique table ("no girl, it's my fault you broke it. Allow me to pay for it."), I reminded myself that the dead plants could be replaced and that five months of couchsurfing and the same 10 pair of underwear for 150 days was a blessed adventure. And as I crumbled to the floor clutching my compromised Macbook Pro in inconsolable, uncontrollable sobs, I some how eeked out to my guilt-ridden mother "it's just material stuff! It doesn't matter. I can't take it to the grave. It's meant to happen. God wanted this."
As each poop-tastic thing reared it's head or each mistake unfolded, instead of just being with it and being human about it, I went to my spiritual toolbox and rummaged around for just the right thing. And when I couldn't find the tool that worked, I googled more and more tools. And meditated more. And I did more yoga.
And I became miserable.
Because as big and wise and spiritual as I sounded and appeared to the world, as non-reactive as I was actually being, I wasn't actually being. I was forcing that non-reaction, holding myself to having to act a certain Yogi-Holly way. I was denying any real emotion, denying who I really am, and denying what I needed to feel, or that there were even feelings there at all.
I was talking to my coach the other day - we hadn't talked for a month - and I was going over all of this. And I finally just came out with it. "I'm depressed. I'm miserable. And I'm ashamed for feeling depressed and miserable. Shouldn't I just be beyond this? When is it enough yoga? When do I get there? When do I make it? When will I be happy 100% of the time?"
And that's when it finally became totally and obviously clear. Never. We are NEVER there because there is no THERE. Ever. We are always working through human things because until we die, we are always human, and always evolving. The moment we start to think that we "should" be some level of evolved, the moment we hold ourselves to a higher bar for what we "should" be experiencing and deny that we have emotions and bad parts at all, is the moment we turn our humble spiritual path into a an egotistical search for greatness.
I've spent so much time ditching my old masks and exposing who I was that somewhere along the way I grew some idea in my mind that I've evolved into something else. Somehow in my search to be whole, I came to a conclusion that whole means there is no poop - there is only ice cream.
NOT TRUE. There is ALWAYS poop.
In the real world, when boys call me names and cats die in my arms, I'm going to feel like poop and quite possibly act like a poop-head. I'm going to feel and yes, sometimes I'm going to react. Spiritual paths are not being something else or someone else, and they for sure don't involve burying the poop that comes up that doesn't jive with your picture of your "new spiritual self". Spiritual paths require no masks, and they certainly don't warrant putting on a show to demonstrate how far you have come. Spiritual paths are the path back to wholeness - WHOLEness. Not GOODness. It is learning to own whatever poop is happening, holding yourself while it is happening, and allowing yourself to be yourself while it is happening. It's realizing the poop and the ice cream can't touch the core of pure light inside of you, or change the individual perfection of who You really are.
It's being all of You - the good and the bad - so everyone else can be all of Them.
When I am happy 100% of the time and nothing actually phases me, I'm not going to be here. I'm going to be on the pink-gold cloud I imagined yoga-asshole on, sitting next to the Supreme Creator, eating ice-cream with my dead cat listening to my own private Radiohead concert. But for now I'm living in the real world and sometimes I smell like poop.