I am sitting here tonight feeling more at peace than I have in I don’t know when. Deeply at peace. The everything-is-going-to-be-alright kind of peace. This isn’t a feeling I have known often in my life, but it is happening more and more.
The more deeply I have worked with my mindfulness practice, slowly, very slowly, I have been watching the pieces of my life, of my work, drift together as if gliding down a gently sloping hill. It is happening because I stopped pushing, stopped panicking, rushing, and running in terror. I came to the place in my life where I said to myself, “Okay, there are no guarantees in life for anybody about anything, but if I just take one moment at a time and build on it, do the best I can in every moment, keep moving steadily forward not worrying about anything but what I can do right here, right now, a slow momentum will begin to gather and soon what feels like an uphill battle will even out and I will just get up everyday and keep moving forward.
It didn’t happen overnight. There were night terrors and mornings when I wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed if I hadn’t had to take care of my animals. Nightmares, so many times where I was flailing about uselessly getting nothing done at all, but then, one day, I.just.stopped.
My mother used to say, “Everybody has the same 24 hours in a day, even the president of the United States.” As a child I never thought much about that one way or another but it came to me a few months back and I thought that we are all on a level playing field in terms of time. Our circumstances will differ but as long as we are able to get up each day and put our best foot forward, so to speak, and keep that foot moving forward, we will eventually get somewhere.
The best thing I did is start working with a business coach. I needed guidance and direction and Rachna (Dr. Rachna Jain) has been a godsend for me. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard in several places now is that you need to invest in yourself, really believe that you are worth investing in yourself, and this was huge for me. The “I am Bi Polar, I will never be able to support myself, I am so flawed, I have so many problems, yadda, yadda, yadda,” was a tape loop running through my head. I needed something to break the cycle. I have said this before but it bears repeating because my work with Rachna changed my life in such fundamental ways that everything has changed in every direction. First of all because she was first (and is) a psychologist, and also a business coach, she was able to guide me through those scary passages when I was so terrified I wouldn’t be able to do “it.” (At that time I had no idea how this business would take shape.) I had to get over the Bi Polar hurdle before I could really do anything at all.
One day when we were having a session I kind of blurted out one of my worst fears. I knew that I was a good teacher, mentor, and guide, I have 4 decades of experience in a number of areas and I am actually quite good at what I do, I am proud of this, but my fear was that if I did the thing I wanted most to do, which is work with people one on one in private sessions, and it got to the appointment time and I had “a bad bi polar day,” WHAT WOULD I DO? What Rachna said to me just flipped me over. I was stunned. She asked me “What if we were supposed to have a session and I contacted you and said, ‘Maitri, I am really sick, I can try to do the session but I don’t feel I can really give you my best.’ what would you say?” and I immediately went straight to, “Well I would tell you not to worry, to take care of yourself, I’d be glad to reschedule.” She didn’t say “Bingo!” but it was a Bingo kind of moment. Actually it was more of a “Wow I could have had a V-8” moment!
I was so terrified that people’s thinking would run along the lines of “Oh God, she’s BI POLAR and God knows WHAT else! I’m not going to work with HER!” (Lord it’s so sad how hard we are on ourselves.) Every penny I have ever paid Rachna I would gladly pay again and again just for those few moments because it was the major turning point. In that moment I started looking at my strengths and talents and gifts and possibilities. Yes, I could reschedule a session if I needed to but realistically I knew it wouldn’t happen often if at all. I just couldn’t get around thinking of myself as the bird with the broken wing. And the thing is my wing might be in a sling but I am starting to SOAR!
Once I got over that hurdle I was able to move forward. Nothing has happened overnight and these are still early days but from that moment on I knew that one way or another I could do it. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I needed Rachna’s steady advice and counsel, her support and wisdom, and she has done so much more for me than I could ever have imagined. Finally, however, all the help and advice in the world aren’t going to be worth a hill of beans if you don’t get off your duff and do the work. I got off my duff, and man have I been doing the work!
My private mentoring sessions are going well. I am just starting a paid subscription program for Daily Mindfulness podcasts because I have had as many as 20,000 people listen to my Sunday 30 minute free podcasts which I will still be doing but I want to offer daily support in an affordable way for people who want to build the practice that I have and do use to get my work done and live a successful life, bi polary bits notwithstanding. You can look at the tabs at the top of this site for more information about either of these! And very soon my Wabi Sabi School of Mindfulness will be opening.
I have many other plans but I will implement them slowly. I wanted to have the school opened before now but what I have realized is that, being bi polar, it is more important for me to gradually open one new thing every few weeks and let it build, and it is coming together beautifully, and it is feeling so good, and I am so happy, so so very grateful.
I am writing about this because I know a lot of people have issues that are frightening them or holding them back. I know because a lot of people write to me, via e-mail or private messages on Facebook or Twitter because they are too shy to post in the comments section. They long to do things, they feel alone and afraid, and they tell me, over and over and over, that they are so grateful that I write so openly about being bi polar, and dealing with the other issues that I do. Well, writing about these things here is as much my work as anything else, in fact it is probably the most important thing that I do because I know that it means something to people. More than a million people have visited this blog. Over 700,000 from 2007 until I opened this site and the blog migrated here on July 1, 2013. Since then over 400,000 people have visited the blog now on this website. (The old blog is still there at maitrisheart.blogspot.com and the complete archives are here on the right side in the drop down menu.) I will keep recording my journey and telling my truth because I believe we were meant to help one another. I want you to know, if you are reading this, that you are so much more than you can begin to imagine. Believe in yourself. Take the first step. I did, and I’ve come a long way. This is just what I help people do in my mentoring sessions. It is my life’s work.
I hope wherever you are you are being gentle with yourself. Please, take tender care of your fragile heart. And remember, you can do anything, accomplish anything, one moment at a time. I have, I do, and I will continue. You can too.
Blessings and Love to each and every one of you. You are so very dear to me…