Yesterday, Chris was talking about someone in his life who he knew only in the “after” of a “before and after.” Before, the man was in medical school and led a stable life. The after came after the Vietnam War, where the man was a medic and had suffered greatly physically and mentally. After the war, he became addicted to different substances and struggled with homelessness.
It reminded me of a different conversation I had, about a woman who was seriously obese and then woke up one morning and said “Not anymore.” Now, she is physically unrecognizable from her “before,” and I wonder if she is mentally unrecognizable, too.
All this makes me think about huge shifts which leave us, in different ways, unrecognizable to our former selves. It makes me wonder what it would look like if I experienced a radical shift. What would a radical shift, in me, look like toward the story of the man (negative)? What would a radical shift look like toward the story of the woman (positive)? It’s easier to imagine what it would look like for me to have a backward slide, but, for whatever reason, it is very hard for me to conceptualize what an upward climb would look like.
After a very long day, sometimes I will think of the day as if it were multiple days. As in “in the morning, when I took a long hike, that was one day” and “in the afternoon, when I made large quantities of apple sauce, that was another day.” I’m starting to think about my life in terms of a really, really long day; there is the possibility of doing one thing the whole day or having one part of the day be entirely encapsulated from another.
It wouldn’t take a psychologist or someone who has known me forever to sense that I am feeling the need for a new part of my day. A radical change, where maybe I become unrecognizable to myself and others in some way. It will not be a giving up or a quick, dark destruction. I’m going the other way, but I don’t know what that looks like.
It doesn’t take a war for a radical change. What would a radical change look like in you?
Emma Silverman is a yoga teacher and a blogger. She recently moved to Ithaca from Madison. She primarily teaches in the Kripalu style currently. She started with Iyengar and has gone through many different styles of yoga including Bikram, Ashtanga, Kundalini, and Viniyasa flow. This has been reposted with permission. You can find the original post here.
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