My Happiness Project

So it’s here!!  My new baby that has been incubating for about five years! Soba Yoga is a yoga project for people in recovery.  While the project began with the idea of creating a community for those in recovery from substance abuse and related addictive behaviors, it has turned into something much bigger.  Let’s be real here, who DOESN’T have a vice that they use to mask emotions at times?  Who  doesn’t find themselves hiding through various behaviors and means when the going gets tough?  NO ONE, except possibly the Dali Lama…although I am sure he has his cravings for sugar at times:)  Soba Yoga was born on my very cozy couch five years ago while having lunch with a friend.  For those of you that are not from Beantown, Soba yoga will NOT be serving soba noodle dishes.  The name is how Bostonians tend to drop the R at the end of words where it is supposed to be, Therefore Sober becomes Sobahhhhhh.   I like to think that this is one of the heartwarming things about those of us born and raised here:)  While one of my classes will be across the street from Haahvad Yahd…it may be quite challenging to pahk there.  If you have never been to Harvard Square you don’t know that there is hadddly any pahking there:)  It has been interesting telling people about the project.  I get a vast array of responses; anywhere from people very excited, to people looking at me like I am crazy, to people who want nothing to do with the conversation.  I will let you in on a secret as to why I think this is…
In our culture we like to categorize  and label people into subsets in order to make things simple and concrete. People with addictions have always been seen as less than. They are thought to be so out of control that they need to be locked up in programs or jails. Why do we want them to hide?  My guess is because they remind us of our own dark side; the part of ourselves that we don’t want to admit is there.  It is really quite convenient to see those whose lives are outwardly spinning out of control as somehow worse off than those of us who may be spinning out of control internally or externally to varying degrees.  Let’s take America’s addiction to sugar.  One would be hard pressed to find a person they know who ISN’T addicted to sugar because it is in everything.  We like to think this is a benign thing. Why?  Well because sugar is one of the ways in which the general public is self medicating.  I should know; I did it for a long time until the past handful of years.  Sugar is in EVERYTHING.  Studies, such as this one from Princeton University shows how sugar affects the pleasure center of the brain much like cocaine, gambling and opiates.  Sugar has become one of the number one contributers of various diseases such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, GI disorders, arthritis, Fibromalgia and the list goes on and on.  Even if you tell yourself that you eat healthy it is highly likely that you eat sugar because it is in all processed foods, condiments, take out sauces, smoothies, fruit, etc. Addiction is a dis-ease that occurs within the self that causes us to seek fulfillment through external, immediate gratifications.  This can happen through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, relationships, shopping (my personal vice) or any other behavior that has the potential to numb what we don’t want to feel. We are socialized that we should not have to feel or deal with anything uncomfortable.
Life is an unfolding process.  We are all doing the best we can with the skills that we have at the moment.  While I no longer struggle with feeding my feelings with sugar, I find that other behaviors sometimes creep up as a way to avoid what I don’t want to deal with.  We all do this.  Addicts and alcoholics who are in recovery are just on a path to becoming aware of this and stripping the layers of pain away.  There is much we can learn from each other.  We are more similar than we are not.  We all struggle and we all have pain.  We all would love to not have to go through our pain but ultimately it is the process of moving through it that allows us to release it.  When we engage in various behaviors to avoid feeling our pain, it settles into our being taking up space that could be used for happiness and joy.  It is only through going into our pain are we able to then experience freedom.  Love is just underneath fear; this is why tears and laughter are so closely connected.  For me this path has definitely been anything but perfect despite my lifelong pattern of striving for perfectionism.  The only thing that is required is a willingness to open up to the possibility of releasing pain.  What helps you slow down your impulses to numb enough so that you can feel and release your pain?  For me it’s noticing my craving for things that don’t serve me and choosing a healthier choice; even if that healthier choice is less of what is unhealthy:)
The path towards liberation is a long and winding road.  May you be safe, happy, healthy and have ease long the path.  This song by the beloved Donna Delorey says it all….May God’s Love Be with You…..Always..



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