Where’s My Shovel?


I have absolutely no idea why I expected that all things would come together after I finished my TT. I didn’t miraculously think my life would be solved, but I did think that it was a big thing I did and brave and that now I could handle anything, keep moving through, have the skills to….

oh, yeah. That IS what happened.

It’s like my sweet friend who chose “forgiveness” as her word for the year and who has had to deal with issues around forgiveness in huge and unexpected ways ever since.

We get what we ask for, though not necessarily in the way we want it.

So, during the last week of teacher training I was scouring the internet looking for new trainings I could take. I found an amazing Yin training in August and I found a Restorative training that happened this last weekend and I was chomping at the bit to move ahead, do something more, keep moving. After all I had learned to deal with things, my relationship with myself was changing, meditation was growing, all the things I had asked for were happening.

Well. All those things I asked for and ask for are ways to deal with what  life actually hands you, really.

(An aside…in terms of the final testing I absolutely killed the teach, probably a post about that coming, but the written test? That 40 years of no school and testing showed. I give myself about a 50/50 chance of having passed. If I didn’t I can retake it. I’m hoping for the best and not worried about the outcome.)

On Sunday, the last day of training, I started getting this weird rash on my forearms. I already had a different kind of spotty rash on my stomach and legs, but I figured it was because (TMI?) I was sweating so much in yoga clothes, some sort of contact dermatitis. This arm stuff was weird, but I’d hit the dermatologist and all would be well.

Then it began to spread up my arms. Then my neck.

On Tuesday , two days after TT ended,  I bit into a soft piece of candy and a crown fell off.

DAMMIT!   Oh well, dentist, he’ll glue it back.

It can’t be glued back, I’ve been in and out of dentist offices for 2 weeks . Next week I get the remnants of the tooth pulled (under general anesthesia! ugh!)) and get prepped for an implant which won’t actually go in for almost a year, because that is the process.

Meanwhile my new “woo woo” doctor (he wears a kilt and does kinesiology) says the rash is me detoxing from some unfamiliar foods I was eating during TT (popcorn and nuts) and the derm has no idea but is giving me cortisone (which is all they ever do and I  am not taking it) and I am sitting here typing this naked slathered in coconut oil and lavender (TMI?) and chewing adrenal supplements…

Kind of what the fuck? Kind of shit hits fan! Kind of WAH! this is not FAIR!!

Kind of, YEAH! I have the tools to deal with this.

Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. That’s the compassionate thing to do. That’s the brave thing to do. We could smell that piece of shit. We could feel it; what is its texture, color, and shape? We can explore the nature of that piece of shit. We can know the nature of dislike, shame, and embarrassment and not believe there’s something wrong with that.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

So the training in August won’t happen.There will be some trainings coming up closer to home (that one was in B.C) that I can drive to.

I’m supposed to go to MN for a wedding and family reunion with Tom’s family in June….was going to drive and then meet my friends in KY.  Who will, sadly be out of town.. Have a trip planned to a meet-up with friends near SF and was going to extend my stay with  friend in the city, who, sadly, will be out of town. What?

Hmmmm…I have tools.

If TT taught me nothing else it taught me that there are still  possibilities. That I can do and walk through hard things (not like life hasn’t taught me that, but I wasn’t listening.  You know)

Here’s another Pema quote I cherish and remember all the time :

Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”

I come to my edge every time I get on the mat. My preferred style of yoga, Yin is all about that. Starting at your edge and holding for time, allowing yourself to relax and breath into a new experience, a new edge.

It’s what I asked for.

I am itchy and rashy and it’s hot and I am sleeveless, a little embarrassed but there’s nothing wrong with that.

I am missing a tooth that will take a year to replace and cost me SO much money that I don’t really have. Shame. Embarrassment. Nothing wrong with that.

All my travel plans are weird

All my further teaching plans are weirder.

I’m at my edge. So what do I do?

The thought of  a cocktail hasn’t occurred, hasn’t entered the equation. Some of the other ways I do remove myself from the edge (like ice cream, chocolate ) will be taken away. All I’m left with is who I am and what I have….


The reminder that plans are useless.

The reminder that all I need and want is in me

The reminder that all I have to give is service and compassion  (even to myself) and that by doing that I reduce and lean into my edge, allowing myself to go deeper and discover more about myself.

I can lean in and triumph over this “shit” . I can smell it, explore it, accept it and let it be.

I always have a choice with shit, you know? We all do.  I can throw up my hands and gnash my teeth and curse the heavens and stop my life.

Or I can keep digging for the pony.

Pass me that shovel.





Add yours →

  1. And while your digging, just keep laughing at the hilarious absurdity of t all.
    That helps too.

  2. Love this 🙂 Full Speed Ahead!

  3. Beautiful perspective!
    Maybe next June we should meet for the yin training in whistler. No electricity for a week…
    We have a year to consider.
    I hope the rash goes away….


  4. runningonsober May 3, 2015 — 8:18 am

    Oh my god, I love you so much.

    What do we do? We dig! Just keep digging, digging, digging…. (Swimming, swimming, swimming…)

    Pema. ❤ have been listening to her "getting unstuck". So good.


  5. Really beautiful Mish. We always have choices how to respond to our situation in life, but it is so easy to forget this! One of the things I love about practicing meditation and mindfulness is that the space between my thoughts and feelings gets a little wider and with a clearer mind I don’t react as quickly. Sometimes, anyways 😉
    Thanks for this reminder too. Hope it all works out, and if it doesn’t, you got your tools at the ready. AND, if you come to BC to do anything, please get in touch!! xo

    • you’re in B.C?
      that’s awesome.
      I wish I were going in august, but you never know…
      and yes,it’s in the response that we can shine or shit.
      Reaction doesn’t work so well anymore, thank god!

  6. Thank you for this, I needed it. I’m at my edge right now too – not medical but feeling a low grade sense of constant panic over the move and all the balls I need to keep in the air in the meantime, like work and money and kids and marriage and yoga which I have to fight with my husband about going to lately since we really don’t have the time, it’s important dammit. It’s really a storm and I’m not weathering it very well in terms of my sober plans. Thanks for being such an amazing role model.

    • Yes, yoga is important.
      sobriety is too….when you’re sober the other things come easier.
      seriously. things get done!
      all the balls could drop at any second, concentrate on the important things, the underpinnings.
      you can do it, i have faith in you!

  7. I always knew you were a smart cookie, but these last several posts… Your wisdom is running DEEP and strong. It’s inspiring! I love reading your stuff.

    • thanks Kath!

      i hope all is going well with you….going off FB really has me out of loops I actually liked, tho it still was the best move i ever made…
      so much quieter in my head!

  8. Goodness. You poor thing! That whole tooth thing taking a YEAR to finish? Sounds like a nightmare. However, I did chuckle at the “I’m writing this naked applying lavender oil” bit. I have an entire box of pure essential oils I got a year ago that I have no idea what to do with. Tried googling it several times and I got a big list of what NOT to do with them instead.

    I do love your posts. You make me smile :).

    • essential oils can be awesome for a host of ailments. Mine are by Do-terra and there are piles of info on what TO do with them too!
      implants take forever…and cost a fortune.
      glad i can make you smile!

      • Yeah, when I googled the oils there were tons of warnings about not allowing them to touch the skin? Is this true? I think the lavender was the only one that was supposedly safe? I have peppermint and eucalyptus and lemongrass, and I’d really love to be able to use them!

      • mostly you have to put drops in carrier oils, coconut oil is the one i use most. lavender can be used on the bottoms of feet before bed for sleep, and small drops rubbed unhands is calming. Check them out more. the peppermint is good in water, a few drops and drink it, good for digestion.And rubbing on temples when you have headache There are lots of good recipes for use. Do terra has forums where people share ideas…those are good ones.

      • Awesome! Thank you! I’ll definitely check out those forums.

  9. Hi!! I haven’t visited in a while, but this post reminded me why I was drawn to your blog in the first place. Love your honesty and bravery in telling it like it is. Love your view (and Pema’s) on how to handle the shit life throws at us. It took me til my 40s to realize that I have a choice in how to respond to the curve balls. Loved this too…”The reminder that all I need and want is in me.” Great way to start my morning!

    • it took me longer than my 40’s….but i’m grateful it’s here.
      i just smile so at that quote, thinking of that soft spoken little buddhist nun talking about the shit of life…
      thanks for saying hi!

  10. I relate, I relate, I relate.

  11. Oh I love this post. Not for the rash or the implant or the weird travel plans, but how cool and accepting you are underneath it all. The quotes are spot on and timely for me, and I guess everyone else on the planet. Also, I belatedly picked ‘patience’ as my word, or maybe it picked me, and have to say I’m feeling the lessons. Love how it works.

    • those pesky words do work, don’t they.
      mine is curious, and i feel more and more like alice i wonderland…but i’m enjoying the ride as i travel down curiosity dark holes.
      cool and accepting….those are 2 words i would never have expected to be said about me, but i think they are becoming truer, so thank you for noticing!

  12. You gave me Pema a few months back and I’m forever thankful. For that, may I offer a shovel and help? I love shoveling shit and doing it with you might make it even more fun.
    I’m sorry about your tooth and your rash and your weird travel, but reading this made me love you even more (if that’s possible). I still remember the first time I “met” you. I remember thinking, “Wow…she is FEARLESS.”
    Turns out that I was SO RIGHT!
    love you!

    • fearless?
      i love that idea.
      i don’t think i’m fearless but I am less and less afraid.
      I’m thinking it has to do with becoming more real, owning it all, the good and the bad. becoming more authentic…and that is even hard to say because that shifts every day.
      you, my friend, are so YOU. I admire that much.
      (get back to your book dammit!)

      • I thought of you this morning. I went into yoga with the intention of “letting go.” What the HECK do you do when you start to sob during class? It was almost comical. I held it together (mostly) until I got to the car and just let ‘er rip after that. Felt so good by the time I got back to my house.
        As for “get back to your book dammit!”…You’re not the boss of me!! I can stay here and visit if I want to!
        Okay, I actually wouldn’t mind if you were the boss of me. *wanders off to the rough draft.
        (Love you!)

      • i cry so often in yoga they must think i’m insane.
        and i don’t care! it’s such a safe place to feel the real stuff for me. I never really know when it’s going to hit…but if i know i’m in a tender space and want some relief, a restorative class really helps. Tak about being able to let go, and everyone around you is blessed out i their own place so no one pays attention.
        I didn’t mean to be bossy, but boy! I can’t wait for that book! xoxox

      • So true! The letting go is why I get my butt out of bed in the first place. That, and I absolutely love the smell of the studio 🙂

      • You’re so sweet! After I wrote the bossy comment, I realized that you had no context. My family and friends always tell me how “easy” I am. Except my best friend – she feels like she can’t talk me into anything! Just to push her buttons, I always say “You’re not the boss of me!” It makes her giggle every time.
        I promise to work on my book next week 😉 xo

  13. I’m just catching up on *what I missed* and this was great for me to read. Like, I can relax because you’re so honest here. Thank you for just being raw (sorry, no pun intended for your rash, and I hope it’s better)…and open and real. And yes, you have the tools! ❤

  14. Plans are indeed useless. I’m finally learning this…sort of.

  15. I have been known to get some weird rashes (lip allergy to toothpaste!?) & got in an accident on my last weekend of teacher training (!). Out popped a self described charismatic episcopalian minister from the car I hit. Thank goodness for the universe’s sense of humor, and TOOLS! Just found you blog. Love it.

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