I have always been attracted to contrast, to black and white. Love was either all-consuming, or absent. I did not know how to inhabit the space between; neutrality seemed disingenuous, lackluster. Thrill ruled my youth, staved off any lows. If the lily pad gave out, I leapt to a new one. Another, and another, without any real foundation.

In 2012, a young woman’s decomposed body was found by the house I shared with my roommate in Yonkers, NY. My roommate told me that we, as modern-day humans in Westchester County,  lacked the capacity to compartmentalize such visual and olfactory encounters. Comparatively, if we had lived in, say, the middle ages, we would not have been as traumatized.

She began with a therapist, and suggested I do the same.

In therapy, I learned about black-and-white thinking. I learned that there is such a thing as a Wise Mind, that it is a practice, a challenge, to be where the Emotional and Rational Mind overlap. My rational mind understood Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. My emotional mind rebelled.

Then, my father died. The DBT workbook the therapist had graciously gifted me was packed in one of the boxes I had rushed to send home to be with my mother as his health declined. I no longer lived in NY. Had no where else to be.

Did my mind have the capacity to compartmentalize the trauma of my father’s death? If I had bothered to find the workbook, would I have been able to train myself, to recover from the low I could not leap out of on my own?

To make an ever-long story short, I stumbled into a yoga studio and began taking classes. All the classes. Drawn to the spirit of it, I joined a Yoga Teacher Training program. Slowly, surely, I sweat. Learned to inhabit discomfort. Watch my mind, as beautiful and as fickle as the clouds on any given day.

Four years later, I know I can do it. But my practice has changed. I don’t sweat as much. I don’t meditate as much. I am not as immersed in the ancient texts and traditions. I don’t have a yoga studio in Denton. What I do have is a church. People who say yes to light and no thank you to dark. And when the darkness persists, they pray. Together. Light seekers may have different practices, but across them all, they surrender. Devote.  Rejoice. And now, as I reconcile my past and present, I can see, in this video, where my darkness and light overlap. I can see the flame of my faith, how it has and will continue to sustain me, wherever I go.

Here is to more years of service and the many shapes it will take toward their Synthesis.