Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Yoga Mat, Battleground December 5, 2009

If you’ve not been through an eating disorder before, it can be very hard to understand just what is going on inside the head of someone who is. Today on my yoga mat, Ed* and I engaged in battle. I wrote it down in my recovery journal, but I thought it might be helpful to post it here for others to see. Maybe it will help some people make sense of this disorder. Maybe others who suffer will know that they aren’t alone.

I got to yoga and I sat down on my mat. The first thing I noticed was that it felt good to be there, on my mat. And then I decided that I was going to let this practice be organic. I wasn’t going to push myself to get farther in postures, I just wanted to be right where I was this morning and that would be great. As class began, we all closed our eyes and began centering. In that very moment that things went dark, Ed stepped in swiftly. This was the perfect place for him to start.

Ed: Hey, it’s dark in here. I’d like to fill all this space in. Let me turn on the light.
Jenny: No, Ed. This is my practice. You can’t have my yoga practice today.
Ed: Hey remember that you got rejected by your friends last night. I’m here for you because no one else wants you. I’m always here to help you when that happens. Don’t say no to me.
Jenny: I have not been rejected, Ed. And I don’t want you here anymore. When have you ever followed through on one of your promises to me?
Ed: That is some accusation, Jenny. You’re not good enough and I’m here to make you better. To guide you to perfection. If you’d do what I say for a change you’d see how happy I can make you.
Jenny: These are lies, Ed. I’ve had enough. I want to feel again.
Ed: NO! Look- look at that woman. Let’s see if you can be more flexible than her. That’ll make you better and happy.
Jenny: You’re desperate and trying to distract me. Stop. You can NOT have my yoga today. You’ve taken enough from me. Right now I’m FEELING, Ed. I feel my body. You never let me feel my body. It’s not fair.
Ed: That’s because the EYES have it. It’s not about feeling. What has feeling ever gotten you? Whatever. Anyway… Hey do you want to eat after this?
Jenny: ENOUGH, Ed. Be silent now. There’s no room for you on my mat.

The more I moved and felt myself move, the stronger my true voice became. I told Ed again that I was sick of him. He has only lied to me from day one. He told me yoga betrayed me. But it never did. The whole time it was Ed distracting me from the purpose of my practice. He can’t win with things like yoga around. He is so threatened by the thought of me connecting to myself. He wants me to believe I need him. He’s so desperate he’ll do anything. HE is the scared, weak one. Not me.

I hear Ed so loud and clear these days. He keeps screaming but what he doesn’t realize is that the more he screams, the more I understand what he sounds like. He screams but I will use his screaming to separate myself. If he’s taught me anything lately, Ed, it’s that this is geurilla warfare. That’s fine. The gloves have come off. Today, I’m ready to fight dirty.

I know the war is not over. But today I won this battle. And every victory gives me fuel and energy to persevere. Every victory gives me the will to keep fighting.

*It’s always helped me separate from the eating disordered voice in my head by giving it an identity separate from myself. So I call my ED Ed and I treat my ED like a person who is not myself. Because that is the truth: I am not my ED.

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Renewal of Vows November 20, 2009

I was going to apologize for my inconsistent blogging but instead I decided to accept that I’ll probably never be a person who blogs on a regular basis (unless it’s regular that I’m inconsistent and in that case, I’ll proudly boast that I blog regularly). So even if I come here in spurts and even if I take a month or more off in between, I’ll feel uplifted that when I do make it back to my blog, I’m giving you a true part of me that is honest, open and heartfelt.

Here’s the truth. It’s not always the case, but a lot of times when I stop blogging it’s because I’m not riding the highs of life. Either I’m just coasting through or else I’m down in the dumps. The way that has always been my pattern is that when things get hard for me, when I struggle, I recoil. I go inward (in a bad way), refuse to ask for help, refuse to voice my hardships even when that is the time I most need to.

This was definitely the case in my last hiatus. As a matter of fact, I’ve told a few people now that this last low was actually the lowest I’ve felt since I was in therapy 2 years ago. It hurt me to say it at first. Just like before I entered therapy to get help with my ED, I was ashamed to say I was struggling or needed help. I think in this case it was hard because I’d been doing so well and it undercut my pride so greatly to say that after 1 year of doing so well, that I had “fallen prey” to ED again. I was supposed to be “recovered.” I mean, c’mon. It’s me we’re talking about. I was supposed to do recovery better than anyone ever has, right? Who me? No I’ll just need this one experience and then I’ll be a “pro” at recovery.

So I didn’t do recovery “perfectly.” So life happened and it happened fast. So I got caught off guard. So I stumbled. But did I fail? Am I failing because I still don’t feel quite back to where I was? For a little bit I thought I had. I couldn’t believe I had gone back to that place. The desire to restrict was so strong. It was so clear to me that I’d become checked out. I couldn’t concentrate on conversations with people. I was becoming abnormally forgetful again. I was crying a lot. And those desolate thoughts of “I can’t live my life like this.” “Why me? Why again? ” “Will this ever end?” came right back to me. The mental and physical fatigue that comes with it. I questioned my strength and my ability to remain a warrior in the fight against ED. I doubted my ability to win another battle.

This went on for a few weeks. And then, one day, I said it out loud. “I’m struggling with Ed right now.” One of the most powerful things I’ve done for myself in my recovery is simply to be open about it. I figure, the more people I tell, the more accountable I’ll be held to my own health and recovery. So at the risk of overshare, I just started telling people close to me that I was struggling. And I realized I hadn’t failed. Not even close. For starters, I’m immensely proud to say that during this period, I NEVER restricted. Not once. I wanted to. I wanted to really really badly. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I’m grateful for the strength that I did have from my previous bout with ED, the strength and awareness that I had gained that kept me from depriving myself of nutrition.

Like I said, things aren’t quite back to where they were before, but I’m working on it. I’m trying. I’m not giving up. I’m taking some new lessons from this. For starters, and the whole point of blogging today, I am RECOMMITTING myself to a CONTINUAL effort to be healthy and proactive in maintaining my recovery. One of the downfalls to thinking that you’ve “perfected” recovery is that if (and/or when) relapse happens, you’re caught blindsided. The mistake I made was thinking I’d be immune to any kind of relapse.

Another mistake was that I was defining relapse too extremely. To me, relapse was going back to my old patterns and not knowing what I was doing and/or not wanting to go back to healthy eating. This of course is wrong. Now that I am body aware again after struggling with ED, I don’t think it will ever be possible for me to not know again when I am becoming detached from my body and leaning towards disordered eating.

So here are a few of the lessons I’m taking away from this latest battle:

For starters, once again I have discovered the importance of being vocal and open equally during the highs and the lows. I will no longer be ashamed when things feel as though they’re going downhill. Instead, I’ll be honest about it. I have an amazing support system ranging from my amazing family and friends to my cybershala on Twitter. I’m loved by these people and I know they want me to be happy and healthy, so why not let them be there for me?

I also think it’s time I became a little more of an activist in the recovery world. I think it will be good for me, it will keep me motivated. But also, how wonderful to be able to help others like me? When I was in therapy and I started to become happier, I was finally able to see just how deeply in the dumps I’d been for the entirety of my untreated ED. I have always meant it when I’ve said since then that I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy (if I had one) or the most heinous person on the earth. What an awful, awful way to have to live our lives. It’s unfair. No one should live like that. So I want to be more active, in anyway I can. I have a lot of love and compassion to share and I think there has never been a better time for me to share it with the ED community.

Finally, I am going to have start by showing myself a little compassion. For Namaste Book Club right now, we’re reading a wonderful book by Pema Chodron and I’m learning a lot about befriending myself and everything about me. My favorite line from the book so far is when Pema writes, “The desire to change is a form of aggression toward ourselves.” So often I think I’m working to rid myself of my ED. I think, “If I can just do x,y and z, I’ll be free of these thoughts.” Or ,”I’d be so much happier if I didn’t have to deal with ED.” Well sure. Of course I would. But the truth of the matter is… I have Ed’s voice with me. So this isn’t changing. Now my work (and believe me when I say it’s work) is to learn to live along side of that voice. To be aware of what ED sounds like vs what Jenny sounds like. To allow mindfulness to help me when I want to react to Ed. Recovery isn’t black and white. I don’t have to feel like a swinging pendulum. I can listen for and be soft with Ed when he pipes up. I can kill him with kindness, even.

The key here, the most important thing, is that I acknowledge my ED. No more hiding it. No need to go back and forth. No need to be anything other than what I am. And what I am is a young woman who lived with anorexia and who works to strengthen herself everyday from it. I won’t let my past or current battles define me. I refuse to be “Jenny, who had an eating disorder.” But I will work with what I’ve been given. Not defining myself by my ED struggles does not mean that I also ignore them all together. My ED and recovery are not things to hide any longer. I am honest (and even outspoken) about every other aspect of my life. This will be no exception.

It occurs to me that I’ve written blogs very similar to this in the past but here it is again. No matter how many times I reiterate and reshape this same idea, I’ll rewrite thisĀ  blog every day til I die and mean it. No matter how many times I have to do it, I will always and forever commit myself to health and happiness, to truth and to freedom.

 

Then and Now June 27, 2009

I happened upon a website started by Rainn Wilson (maybe you know him as Dwight Schrute on “The Office”) the other day called SoulPancake. It might surprise you to learn that this website is all about fostering spirituality through creativity. They ask what are called “Life’s Big Questions” and request readers to participate in the dialogue. It gives readers something to think about. Presented in a fun and semi-light-hearted way, the website really asks the audience to find a way to answer the tough questions.

Yesterday a found the following post: Plenty O’ Priorities by SoulPancake

It asked readers what their top 5 priorities were in the past, what they are now and if there any overlaps. I thought this was a pretty awesome blog prompt.

For starters… I had to really stop and think about it. What ARE my top priorities in life, right now? What is important to me? What am I living for? What is my purpose? What am I seeking? Honestly, I had to think for a bit. So I thought on it, wrote some stuff down, and thought I’d share what I came up with:

I started with my priorities from my last years of college and they were as follows:

1. Get far away from my childhood home.

Since I’d been in high school I equated success with moving away from where you started. To me it meant that you recognized the world is bigger than what you know. The more places you’d been meant the more you would understand about the way life is. To be totally honest, at the end of the day what I really imagined was using this as a way of someday returning to people from my past and having great stories to tell that no one could compete with. It would make me better than them and it would make them wish they’d included me more when we were in school. It would make them jealous. (I’m not going to pretend it was a super-up-standing philosophy but at least I am being truthful!) The same was true of me in college and I continued to do a lot of things simply to have the story I could tell people. The plus side is that I got to go to France, which was a catalyst for a lot of changes in my life and I also ended up here in Evansville, another life-changing event. So despite my wicked intentions, I am thankful for that drive that allowed me gain every good thing that I have now.

2. Get straight As (aka Be perfect aka Know all the answers)

It’s not secret that I had control issues. If my grades were perfect, I was perfect. It was very important for me to feel in control of things and never to be out of the loop about anything.

3. Get skinny/ be skinny/ stay skinny

This one goes without much explaining. I placed a lot of emphasis on this one.

4. Explore the world

I wanted to be a nomad, a sight-seer, a traveler. I wanted to have been lots of places and seen lots of things. This kind of goes along with the first one I listed but also was less wicked. I loved (and still love) knowing that there is so much of the world I haven’t seen and know nothing about. Geographical exploration is a great thing and it is so important to understanding the connection we all share.

5. Get boys to notice me

If you had asked me then, I would’ve said my priority was to find a boyfriend but the truth is, I just wanted to be noticed. I went most of my life being the fat friend and when that wasn’t the case anymore, I relished in the response it got from boys. Finally they were looking at me. Nevermind that they weren’t looking at me with respect or compassion. They were looking and I did all I could to let that continue. It resulted in some pretty questionable decisions. I don’t regret anything I’ve done but I do offer tons of gratitude up to the Universe and the Powers That Be for keeping me safe and mostly healthy throughout it all.

Then I thought about my top 5 priorities now. Had they changed much? Here’s what I came up with:

1. Build a stable foundation

For as much as I wanted to be a nomad then, I now have a healthy respect for stability. I love the life that I have built for myself and it is so fulfilling to have a homebase and great people who I know will always stick by my side. It is not a lonely life I lead and it is so helpful knowing that no matter what life throws at me, there is something here to catch my fall.

2. Explore life

Whereas I previously wanted to explore the world to learn about life (and that is still true to an extent) I believe I’ve realized that I don’t have to leave in order to be able to learn about life. There are lessons in every moment, but it is important for me to be present for them. So in a way before I was trying to run away to get the answers, but now I see that I can find so many good lessons right where I am.

3. Be healthy and happy

I don’t want to be skinny anymore as much as I want to be healthy. I want to feel strong and capable. Furthermore, I want to be happy. I didn’t get happier as I got skinnier, not by a longshot. But as I turned it around, got healther, stronger and more capable, then I became happier. I don’t feel the need to know all the answers before the question is even asked. Instead, I rest in the comfort of knowing that whatever happens, I am strong and I will make it through. I have found the seed of my power.

4. Develop healthy, lasting relationships

I don’t even mean this romantically. I mean really, truly, surrounding myself with people who lift me up, and who I lift up. I don’t want people just to look at me, I want people to see me and I want to see them. I want to play with our connectedness, to feel it and recognize it. I want to build bonds and I yearn for compassionate relationships. Romantic relationships are honestly not at all a priority for me (at least it didn’t make my top 5 anyway…), but I am now in a place where, if it should come along, I will be looking for a companion. A partner.

5. Make a comfortable living out of what I love

For the first time in my life I feel as though I know what I am meant to do. It’s safe to say that my list here of priorities may not be in order of importance because I would honestly say this one is my top, top, top priority. I am putting my heart and soul into this one. I can’t presently see anything else that I am better suited for. Over time this may change, but what I mean here is that no matter what it is, what it becomes, what it will be, it is my intention to make what I love the same thing I do.

So what about you? What were your top priorites a few years ago? Maybe even a year ago? What are they now? How have you evolved? Or have you not evolved so much as you have flat out changed? Share with me. I’d love to read and find out.

 

Immersion and Transformation #3.1 June 2, 2009

After the sessions on Saturday, the floodgates were opened for me and I was constantly writing in my journal. I made three long entries on May 31 so I am splitting them up over 3 days.

May 31- A.M.

Yesterday Gabriel said two things that have struck chords with me.

1.) As Yogis, we are artists using our bodies as artistic expressions to recreate divinity and our inner light. He demonstrated sun salutes with that expression as intention and then sun salutes practiced as simply movements and postures. The difference, as we all know, is astounding. The lack of beauty when artistic intention, full commitment to the posture, is dropped is unbelievable. But watching Gabriel practice and shine his expression outward was enough to bring tears to my eyes. It was like watching a divine dance, so beautiful and graceful.

2.) The other thing he said, which goes right along with this, occurred at dinner. He said, “Yes, you’re practicing yoga, but are you realizing it?” Meaning, are you just making thos physical movements are is your practice a living thing? Is it driven by divinity? Supported by intention?

During class that afternoon I used as my intention that artistic expression, full commitment to every posture, and shining my divinity outward. I don’t know what it looked like to an outsider watching, but I know how if felt. It felt beautiful, graceful, strong. I felt so completely satisfied at the end, like I had stirred my inner divinity awake. Let this always be my intention. Let me never forget that one reason I return to my mat is to touch divinity, to be the light and shine it onward, to share it with the world. It is as simple as keeping my focus on the present moment, surrendering my mind and committing my every bone, ligament, muscle to the posture and the expression, connecting with my breath and filling with light.

It’s like walking on the beach with God, hand-in-hand at sunrise. It’s love like you’ve never experienced. It’s compassion all-encompassing. It’s knowing that within us all resides the strength to reach out to others, to embrace them, to welcome the universe into our hearts. It’s knowing that it’s all already there. It’s inhaling and feeling the vastness of your own heart space. It’s exhaling and letting the cycle begin again.

Inspire. Expire. Start anew.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a separate note, the realization has not escaped me this weekend that I used to see that I had much to learn and would be filled with resentment for all I did not know. Yet now I see how much I do not know and revel in the possibilities before me. With so much to learn and discover, there can only be adventure, transformation, awe and beauty before me.

Tomorrow: 5/31 continued: Post-Ashtanga practice realizations.

 

Immersion and Transformation #2 June 1, 2009

May 30

After sleeping on it and having time to absorb Gabriel’s words more, I have some thoughts on my teaching practice, things to consider, etc.

1) Gabriel mentioned during a particularly long flowing series that the length of the flow was meant to keep us from practicing by memory when we went to flow on the opposite side. He also mentioned in conversation and emphasizing of staying out of the head during practice. So something I can incorporate then, would be less on the actual physical posture and more on keeping students from going into their heads. I should structure my flow in a way that guides them to awareness and focus.

2) Another thing that is apparent is his emphasis on community. His Thai Massage and Thai Yoga are prime examples. These are practices centered around our connection to one another. It reminds me of the importance of sangha again and touches me on more than just an asana level. How do I reach out to the community and to those I meet? How harmonious are my interactions with others? This is definitely a lesson to be taken off the mat!

3) I also feel called to live more yogic-ly, to top calling asana “yoga” as though that is the only part. I have a renewed energy to live as authentically a yogini as I can. I also think it is time I started studying the yoga sutras.

5/30 Post Backbend Class and Yin Class

During sun salutes, I dedicated myself to be active in every movement. I realize the importance of being fully active and present and involved in everything I do, from sun salutes to daily conversation.

It occurs to me that my 100% has changed. Much like the longer we hold a posture, the deeper we find we can go. What used to be my 100% is no longer my full effort. I am in a new place, I can go deeper (physically, mentally, spiritually). My 100% has deepened and it is my responsibility to move forward and meet it where it is, not matter where it moves, and to continue reaching to go further.

Tomorrow: May 31- pt 1

 

Grieving May 2, 2009

Filed under: being present,death,grieving,peace — Jenny @ 7:42 pm

This morning I woke up and couldn’t have found enough paper in the entire world onto which I could write all of the reasons I thought I was in a bad mood. Certainly it was partly because I haven’t eaten healthily enough of the past few days. “I’m sure I gained 10 pounds last night alone…” And surely it had something to do with the fact that I will be missing more yoga classes this week than I like to. How can I remain in a good mood if I don’t have my yoga? And don’t even get me started on the fact that there hasn’t been sun in a few days. I’m obviously deficient in vitamin D and clearly a lost cause. All of these things combined, how could I possible be light and cheery today?

I meditated. I begged for clarity, for a single ray of sunshine, for a way to be light. My meditation ended and I went on about my morning. I didn’t notice any changes immediately following, so I figured I was pretty much doomed. It was only 6:31 am and already my day was shot.

About an hour later, I got into my car and began driving to the yoga studio where I was to be teaching two classes today. Behind the wheel of my car, I started crying. Tears wouldn’t stop falling. I realized suddenly just why I felt like I was in a fog and I knew how to remove myself from it. I realized that my made-up list of Why I Should Be Pissy Today was just my ego’s way of protecting itself/myself from feeling pain. It was a diversion tactic, in other words. Interestingly, it was also the first time I ever truly saw how anorexia was a desperate egoic action– my ego saw something it didn’t like, ran in the other direction and frantically waved it’s arms, drawing my attention away from the reality of my life, away from truth, only later to get lazy long enough to see what was truly haunting me and realize how much it had gotten out of hand, having been ignored. But I digress some.

So there I was, driving and crying, and I realized that because I had asked (okay, seriously I begged) for clarity, I was finally receiving it. The fog was lifted and I was left with grief. Three days after learning the news, I had now begun grieving the loss of my cousin.

Instead of trying desperately not to feel pain, I let go and became present for my reality. I showed up for my grief. I sat with it; I allowed it to saturate me. I let it do what it needed to do. I let it work itself through me. My grief told me it couldn’t handle being ignored anymore. It needed to talk, to be heard, just for a short while. It asked that I put my shield down, open the curtains and cease to be ashamed of it. “Please,” grief implored, “I just need you to accept me.”

And so I cried the whole way to the studio. I cried because my cousin ever hurt. I cried because we are all hurting for him now. I cried because I want to be with my family as soon as possible and that’s not soon enough for my own preference. I cried because we are in the midst of a family tragedy. As I cried, the clouds of my mind parted ever so slightly, Release softly assuring me it was on the horizon.

Stacey was the only person to show up for the 8:30 class. She listened to me as I was finally acknowledging my grief and letting it be heard. She let me cry some more and then offered to sit and meditate together as opposed to doing a physical practice. So we sat, and I continued to give grief my attention, as long as it needed it.

Then, slowly, I began to feel warm. Eyes closed, I felt the sun shining on me from the inside out. The sunshine that can only come from my Source. I was transported to a grassy field. I got warmer still, sitting in this field. I could feel the Sun and a soft, warm breeze. I became aware of the grass and I felt my cousin Johnny with me. He was a blade of grass and he whispered to me that he’d never leave us. I was touched with such an overwhelming sense of peace. All I’d had to do was stop denying grief, to allow myself to be present for it, and eventually my grief would be transformed into peace.

I knew the next thing I needed to do was to write. So I wrote my Aunt Kathy, Johnny’s mother, a letter that I will give to her at the wake. The release kept coming with every stroke of my pen and when I finally finished and looked up for the first time, out of the studio windows, I saw that the clouds outside had parted ever so slightly and through them, the warm and generous sun was offering a few beautiful beams of light.

 

Living Dharma- Self Titled Blog April 13, 2009

Filed under: being present,Dharma,mindfulness,travel — Jenny @ 12:57 pm

I just finished reading the latest blog from the Yarn Harlot, entitled “Bridge.” In it, she describes her disdain for transitions. Specifically, she talks about traveling from one place to the next and the emotional and physical upheavals into which she is thrown. It struck me as interesting because late last year I wrote a blog with a similar emphasis on travel, except I took the opposite stance, describing what I loved about leaving places.

So as I was reading I started thinking about how much I enjoy the transition, the excitement of something different, the excitement of the upheaval, and furthermore, how I tend to struggle instead with readjusting once I have arrived and then maintaining a level of excitement once I am rooted.

For me, I feel as though the journey, the transition is the greatest part. There is something about having only exactly what I need, the bare minimum upon which I can survive, the supreme detachment to all of my stuff and then embarking on an adventure. It’s here that I can learn the most about myself because myself (or, you could say, my Self) is all I have. It feels like I’m living Truth. This, for me, is what life is about. The journey, the adventure, the learning, the revelation.

It is when I arrive that I am most thrown off guard. What do I do at the destination? Sometimes it feels as though I’ve forgotten why I initially intended to travel, having gleaned something I often feel is absolutely greater than I what I set out for in the first place. So I am there, and I have new information and new eyes. It would appear that I may never find myself lost while traveling, but may instead have no idea where I am when I arrive. Where do I set my things down? How do I interact with others? And generally, riding the Traveler’s High, I generally am thinking, When do we get to do it again?

So it’s safe to say I am not always most comfortable with the settling period. (Oh, by the way, if you haven’t caught on yet, I’m so very not talking simply about literal travel anymore…) Eventually, however, I do. And the next thing that comes is the attempts to stay excited about where I am. You could say I sometimes may confuse the word “stable” for “stagnant.” It happens in yoga (“When will my next ‘aha’ moment be?!”), it happens in my life (“This daily routine feels like I’m stuck in a hamster wheel!”).

As I’m writing and reading here, I am now able to see that the difference here is awareness and mindfulness of the present moment. In one situation- when I travel and experience detachment- I am fully alive. I am aware only of the present moment. In the other situation- when I am settled and becoming more attached to things or stuff or what have you- I am distracted and I lose this awareness.

Last night I had dinner with a friend and we had an extended conversation about balance and the middle path. As we talked about things happening in our lives, and the issues that were most important to us presently, we realized that at the core of every issue, we were trying to find the center between to poles. It seems that in this life we are always attempting to find balance. How can I be nice and not a pushover? Stern but not a bitch? How may I follow my heart and my own path without disregarding the feelings of others? How may I find myself both rooted and detached?

If I could find a way to see my life as the ceaseless journey it truly is, I could be fully aware and alive. There is no hamster wheel! Every moment is an ‘aha!’ moment!

Incidentally, I have just gone on the journey of this blog. I have traveled and explored. I have arrived at a destination, and I am lost. Now what? Now that I have gained some insight for myself, how do I apply it? How do I use it without overwhelming myself? At the end of yoga class we have 10 minutes lying in Savasana for deep relaxation, to let our practice sink in. Yet again, yoga gives us tools for real life applications of this new knowledge… My mind just did a really intense yoga practice and needs some Savasana.

I’m on to something here, I know it. It’s something I need to meditate on. It’s part of this transformation. I call my blog Living Dharma for a reason. I can find this middle path, or walk a lot closer to it on a more regular basis. I get closer every day and am grateful to think of myself as I was 2 years ago, 1 year ago, heck, 2 months ago and know that I get closer every day.