It's been one year since Palestine.
It's been one year since an unlikely Yes turned my reality on its head, pulled a chain that set in motion a series of events that changed my entire life.
It has been one year and a million heartbreaks. One year and so many goodbyes. One year and the shedding of identity, reorienting to the essential self; one year and a thousand, rolled into one.
It has been one year since my homing device took me as close to the Iran of my childhood as I had ever been. One year since a long held back part of me rose up and said 'enough', said 'I am still here', said 'don't forget.'
One year since I gave myself to the process. Since I said, yes, even if.
Yes, even if I lose you.
Yes, even if I hurt.
Yes, even if it is difficult.
Yes, even if I am afraid.
It has been one year since deception and hypocrisy and self-aggrandizement left an awful taste in my mouth, and I said No, walked away, closed the door.
One year since I wiped my eyes clean of the smoke in the mirror.
Since then, despite the losses (maybe because), I have opened a door I had closed shut ten years ago. Ten years ago, I walked away from writing because what I had to write was too scary. Because the story that I had to tell felt too big. Because I didn't have the tools to hold myself intact and allow the story to come through. It was a mighty flood, and it was going to take me out. I chose survival, as I have so many times in my life.
And so for ten years, I closed the book and I practiced. I taught myself how to sit with difficulty. I taught myself how to breathe when I wanted to run. I learned how to be intimate and have boundaries with the object of my attention, how to give a thing space, how to be patient. I learned about flow. I learned how to let the thing talk to me and tell me what it is; I learned that forcing my will does not create a spacious, generous thing, a thing with wings.
I learned to listen.
I learned that creating is a balancing act of softness and boundary. I learned about structure and integrity, focus and play.
I learned how to show up, and how to get out of the way.
I learned to not expect growth, but to create the conditions for it.
I walked away from writing to practice Yoga, and unbeknownst to me, I learned how to write from Yoga. I learned to trust the process, however long it may need to take.
With Palestine, came the story I had tucked away. It came to me loud. It came to me in dreams, mid-practice, everywhere. It kept me up at night, consumed me until I had no choice. I had to say Yes.
Palestine gave me voice. Gave me courage. Gave me new eyes, a broken heart. It reminded me that truth telling is a full time job, that practice must include everything. That self-interest gets in the way of deep practice. That deep roots are stubborn and will send up new shoots even if you are far away from home.
So I retreated even more, into the woods. I brought the outside in. I grew plants and tended to their tender leaves, spoke to them in reassuring terms, all the while, speaking to the fearful one inside: Yes, you can write. Yes, you are the only one who can tell this story. Yes, ask the difficult questions, write the things you are afraid of saying aloud. Tell the truth, even if it's different than what you expected. Be brave. Say: Yes, Yes, Yes.
I resolved to be someone I could trust (Satya). Someone who would do the thing they said they would do. The person I was afraid of being all along.
So everyday, I sit at a desk surrounded by growing, unfurling things, and I put pen to paper. Most days, if I observe the correct vinyasa, the voice that says no, you can't stays behind the door, grows bored, leaves. And when it barges in with its doomsday scenarios, I don't fight it. I get up, move my body, breathe into the parts that lift and expand under my attention, and let the flow of creativity be what it is: wild, untamable, fluid.