17 years ago this month, I was packing up my life in Tucson.
My house had been sold as had most of my belongings. What I still owned fit into my old blue Subaru Outback and a small storage unit.
My partner and I separated. I wasn’t clear what was going to happen with our relationship as I embarked on a cross-country drive to Ananda Ashram. I planned to stay for the summer, to rest and heal the spiritual awakening I sustained in my November 2004 car accident.
In the fall, I was moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to start at the Ayurvedic Institute; I had been admitted and was looking forward to it. But I was open to other paths if they arose.
In June, just as the heat descended into the Sonoran Desert, I departed with my 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Zoe.
I remember that spring was difficult on many fronts.
First, I had a mild-traumatic brain injury (MBTI). I was living life from an altered state, mostly in my right brain after a lifetime of living mostly in my left brain. I was following the energy, struggling with migraines, and although hearing guidance and following it, I felt like I was floating. And, I had to step through the many minute details of leaving a place and community of people I loved – selling a house, arranging for lodging at the ashram, supporting my partner in finding a new place to live, deciding what to keep and what to sell. It was a challenging time.
Second, moving through transition slowly and intentionally was a new idea for me. I preferred leaving a place or relationship quickly, like ripping off a band aid. Leaving things in this way meant I didn’t have to directly feel the loss and grief. But that spring/summer, I felt EVERYTHING – sadness, excitement, deep grief, wonder, and especially elation. My feet hardly touched the ground.
I suppose you could say that was the third “difficult thing” – the kundalini awakening that resulted in this feeling of floating. I was still seeing ascended masters, guides, and angels in my living room. I was interacting with trees, plants, animals, and rocks, seeing and communicating with ghosts, and spontaneously healing animals and people with the energy that flowed through my hands.
Spiritual awakening is often The End of Your World*, as Adyashanti wrote in his book of the same name. And although I had a vague sense of what was happening to me, grounded in the idea of a kundalini awakening described in the Vedic tradition, it would take 17 years for the experience to truly integrate into my life and come full circle.
The End of Your World
17 years later, in the spring of 2022, I am beginning the process of leaving New Mexico to return to Tucson. Much like a heroine’s journey, I left home (Tucson) for a transformational adventure (New Mexico), and I am returning home deeply changed. During my years in Albuquerque and then Santa Fe, I’ve lived so many chapters.
My time here opened with the Ayurveda and it is, not so coincidentally, closing with Ayurveda. When I arrived, I was high on life (and a head injury). I was wildly psychic and had all kinds of healing energy coming through my body. There were no boundaries and I could hardly control the Universal input.
I came to study, heal, and learn to navigate this spiritual awakening with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute. I bought a home and dove into a wonderful community of classmates and learning. I had never intended to become an Ayurvedic practitioner, but I integrated much of the teachings into my own being and life.
Yet over the years yoga, meditation, Vedic study, Joytish, and Ayurveda moved to the margins. I developed an on-again off-again relationship with yoga and meditation. The foundational beliefs were embedded in my life, but the practices were often dormant.
As this epoch of my life is coming to a close, I am reminded of the many other chapters that unfolded in New Mexico that supported my transformation:
- Learning Nonviolent Communication, meeting my husband in those rooms, and being a part of 12 International Intensive Trainings (IITs) with Marshall Rosenberg.
- Being a member of Unity Spiritual Center of Albuquerque for twelve years, learning about New Thought, and serving in so many capacities it makes my head spin.
- Coming back to higher education administration at Southwestern College and wrapping up/letting go of that chapter of my life in 2020.
- The health challenges (hysterectomy, chronic fatigue, and recurring Epstein Barr, to name a few)
- Returning to a Ph.D. program at the University of Arizona – and then leaving it for the second time!
- A global pandemic (COVID)
- And the ongoing, never-ending chapters of marriage, personal development, and spiritual growth.
I could have never imagined my life here would be so rich or so challenging. That I would have healed so many karmic and psychological patterns that plagued me in my early life and likely for many lifetimes. Particularly since I’ve never felt at home here – living in New Mexico has often felt like living on the moon to me.
But here I am. Grateful for the experience, the friendships, and the transformation. New Mexico has supported me well through it all – even through the bankruptcy! So I am stepping through this transition slowly and mindfully, like I did when I left Tucson.
I’m feeling all the feelings, being in the moment even when I’m not sure of the next step, following intuition, and sensing my way through. It’s Bittersweet* and it’s freeing.
Back to Ayurveda…
These last few years, particularly since leaving my work at Southwestern College, I’ve rekindled and deepened into a friendship from my time at the Ayurvedic Institute. We’re star sisters, having navigated this world in parallel for much of these 17 years. Kimberly Giunta dove more deeply into classical Ayurveda as I meandered, and she is reminding me of the healing power of the Vedic lineage.
I’ve also developed a friendship with a local yoga teacher, Melissa Spamer, who is steeped in Ayurveda. I’ve been working with an Ayurvedic physician at Arogya Center for Panchakarma and Classical Ayurveda for the last several months and have some hope for healing the seemingly chronic conditions that ail me. Ayurveda, you see, is known for pulling traumas, karmic patters, and other deeply embedded behaviors and beliefs out at their roots.
Early in June, I am retreating for a 7-day panchakarma (affectionately known as PK), something I have both longed for and avoided during most of my time in New Mexico. PK is intense and potentially life-changing. But alas, it is time for closure and deep integration and PK surely will offer that.
My spiritual gifts are blooming again, demanding attention, a deeper integration, and a practice full of intuitive readings, energy healing, and coaching. That requires a healthy body, integrated mind, and the capacity to carry particular frequencies without “blowing the circuits”. I cannot think of anything more suited to prepare me than panchakarma.
Transitions and Closures
I am reminded of the many synchronicities in my last few months in Tucson. People I hadn’t seen in years crossed my path offering an opportunity for a Tucson life review and tender farewells. And now it has started here in New Mexico.
I was in Albuquerque last week talking with the staff at Arogya where I am having the PK. I attended a FemCity networking lunch and then I wandered around ABQ uptown, biding my time until driving back to Santa Fe. I popped into Frost, my favorite gelato place, and a man and his daughter came in behind me. I vaguely recognized him but turned back to the case.
He walked up behind me, put his hand on my shoulders, and said “Hello, Emilah.” It was Andre, a man I attended the Ayurvedic Institute with. We had a sweet, deep, non-romantic connection, sharing an Italian lineage. I hadn’t seen him in at least a decade. The last time was also a synchronistic encounter at an ABQ Botanical Garden summer concert. We hugged and reminisced in Frost. I met his daughter, who was a toddler when we met at the Botanical Gardens. We vowed to reconnect, although doubt we will – the message was delivered.
I heard the Universe. I really am leaving. The transition has begun. My time in New Mexico is ending and I must walk though it with awareness, tenderness, and that bittersweet feeling of simultaneously loving and leaving a place and her people for the next epoch.
The final design is being woven for my New Mexico tapestry. The stories, memories, and people will arise for closure. All I need do is follow the energy. And read Susan Cain’s new book, Bittersweet*.
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