Who were you seven years ago?

The Icy Pit to Hell by Stuck in CustomsSatya writes: I found an old diary yesterday and I started reading.

Seven years ago I was worried about money, and struggling with compulsions around food, the internet and overwork. I enjoyed gardening and poetry and spending time with my friends. I was a psychotherapist and a writer and I loved my cats.

Today I am prone to be worried about money, and am working on my compulsive behaviour around food, the internet and overwork. I enjoy gardening and poetry and spending time with friends. I am psychotherapist and a writer and I love my cats.

I am also now married to a different man and living in a new house in a different part of the country. I am a Buddhist priest and I run a local sangha with Kaspa – my name is Satyavani, not Fiona. I have more wisdom and more patience and more insight into how I work and how deeply flawed I am. I have a new worldwide family. I have spent the last two weeks not working and not being online and not eating too much cake. I have more faith. It feels pretty good.

Have I changed at all? Is there anything the same about me at all?

Think back seven years. What do you find?

What really struck me, reading my old words, is how very deeply we are rooted in our favourite compulsions. Like chasms in rock that go down and down and down, almost to the hot bubbling centre of the earth. Another way of putting this is that we all have favourite ways of avoiding the truth, and we use these patterns of behaviour to build our identities. What are yours? Are you always the victim? Do you push away help or other people? Do you use shopping or television or too-much-exercise?

My various favourite compulsions have ebbed and flowed over the years – some have disappeared completely and some are new arrivals. For me, these hard-to-kick habits all came into existence to help me avoid this unfortunate (and wonderful) truth: I’m not in control.

“…the primary addiction that almost every human being suffers from [is] our addiction to the illusion that we’re in control of our lives.” ~ Joan Borysenko

And so, for me, the first step towards change is an acknowledgement of just how deep these fissures in our personalities are. How vulnerable I am, and how little I know. How frightening it is to peel off my layers of protection. How long this takes. The limits of my self-will.

Paradoxically, truly acknowledging this somehow allows something else to step in and help me, and this is where the magic happens. This ‘something else’ might be another person, a book or even an off-hand comment from a stranger that shows me something I needed to see. This ‘something else’ allows me to accept help. I am a very foolish being, and that is okay. There is always hope. Change does happen. Grace arrives, just on time. And it can be truly miraculous.

If you’d like help with making these deep-down, life-changing transformations, our first two e-courses of the year start tomorrow – Writing Towards Healing with Satya and Journalling Our Way Home with Kaspa. They are designed to gently support you as you look at who you are and who you’d like to be. As I write there are spaces left on both courses but we’re expecting them to be full this time round.

Do let me know how you’ve changed and how you’d like to change in the comments. Go well.

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Image: The Icy Pit to Hell by Stuck in Customs

Comments & replies

25 thoughts on “Who were you seven years ago?

  1. Eve Castle

    Seven years ago I believed I was in control of my life, otherwise, about the same…
    same job, same house, same folders of poetry and short stories at various levels of completion
    I have a husband and pup now, I’m trying to breathe now, stay in the present more and sleep more – all important changes that help my overall well-being
    the limits of my self-will would be too long a list… the one I would like to change is procrastination… what’s odd is seven years ago that wasn’t a problem… realizing control is a mirage brought it forward. I will ponder this a bit. After breakfast. 🙂

    1. Satya Robyn Post author

      Made me smile, Eve! Interested in the link between relinquishing control and procrastination. It’s felt a bit the opposite of that to me – allows me to get on with the things I CAN do, letting go of the results I don’t have any business with…

  2. Billy (ex Addict)

    I thought about death an awful lot less, not having been out dating with it for some years just then – we’ve had a few goes at a relationship.

    I had still not met the woman who would change everything I knew about serving (which is Love).

    And despite my current depression I was not as happy back then, even though I would have said I was – because if I refrain from measuring happiness by feelings and mood states, or, of course, neither by limited physical dimensions – rather measuring it by endurance plus wisdom, then, yes I’m much happier – longevity is key then.

    Oscar Wilde said, ‘Wisdom comes with winters” – a wise statement for one who was persecuted to death so youngly (sic)

    I am exhausted with group / community (whether my 12 Stepperies / or Christian Fundals – Christian Spirituality is marginalised inside of Western Monasticism here, and therefore remote, and seemingly threatening to its very own groups), And tired too of an over-bearing reliance on scriptures (Big Book and Bible, or even any ”text used as idol” – its the contents we need not the container).

    I’m sensing the next layer is body-vital and remains a primarily silent function – “oh we do words already, don’t we huh?”

    Jesus would have been both embarrassed and I believe angry about what we have done with his work – making him God the most distressing of all – when he said “I and the Father are One!” he was clearly intuitive of The “Univershally Interconnectivical Oneness”. Cos there’s only one Love (but many ways to experience Her – the Every-way! – so many Christians (you would describe me as one if you knew me) seem happy with the idea that ‘if you don’t love Jesus your’e going to hell”. Why would anyone want that to be a concept of God. Its certainly not Loving, or Love so it cant be God. Now is Eternal. Now is Heaven. Hell doesn’t have a postcode (oh there’s a book title). I have spent nine seconds ‘at’ forever – the place. I only knew I’d gone away that way when I came back from there – in fact once \I arrived back in the chair.

    1. Satya Robyn Post author

      Hey Billy. Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time with group/community recently. They’re tricky buggers. Don’t give up…
      And yes, a shame that some religion puts so much emphasis on ‘my way is the only way’ – it just shuts people down/out. This Buddhist is happy to be on the same path as this Christian. It’s all love & service. Deep bow.

  3. Sharon Strickland

    Seven years ago I was white and up-tight. This was prior to my cancer diagnosis. This was prior to my exploration of yoga and the yoga lifestyle.
    I read Lance Armstrong’s book. He opined that cancer victims are the lucky ones. I did not understand. After going through cancer treatments, I gained understanding. I think it means that cancer victims are given the opportunity to know who loves them, to receive unconditional love, and experience life slowly. A gift. if you may.
    Yoga teacher training gave me the means to find myself and reclaim my joy of self, joy of life. I gained security, family, will power, empathy, communication, knowledge, and the Holy Spirit.
    I am grateful.

  4. SM Jenkin

    7 years ago, I was preparing to travel to North India for a couple of weeks. I was ill and desperately stressed about work.
    Those seven years have stripped away a lot of pride, but also a lot of fear.

  5. Samadhi Yaisha

    Hello 🙂 I have been receiving your e-mails for a while and wondered how frequently do you offer the course Journaling Our Way Home. I am very interested and it seems like good timing, but my schedule is over-packed with stuff. I’m trying to learn how to de-clutter it. I’m afraid I am putting too many things in my calendar, beyond what I could do, and if I commit to the course I won’t be able to finish it after paying, which has happened before with online courses… Anyway, thank you for what you’re offering, it is comforting. I will come back to visit your page again for resources. Blessings 🙂

    1. Satya Robyn Post author

      Hi Samadhi good to meet you. This course is next running in April or May – it could be that it’d help you with your decluttering, but I can’t guarantee that! You’d need a little bit of time every day and a little bit more once a week, but the courses are pretty flexible and often ‘work away on you’ in the background. If you had any more questions do email kaspa@writingourwayhome.com – there are still a few spaces. Do keep reading & enjoy your month whatever you decide to do!

  6. Daphne Radenhurst

    I love your blogs, Satya. Seven days ago I felt I was walking on air, I was filled with grace, I felt I only had to be open and receptive and accepting, from moment to moment, and the universe responded to me. Then I overdid it. Today I am overtired and I have become angry.(There was a cause) I realised this when another driver became angry with me. Life is a tightrope, it needs eternal vigilance to stay in balance. Never mind, it is when we fall off that we learn. I know that I have changed in seven years. For one thing, I have acquired a computer and made a lot of online friends who have enriched my life considerably. I have also started writing seriously. I think I have become a bit wiser, though old problems crop up from time to time. But at least life is never dull. I don’t often get angry, so I am observing this one with interest. I know that I shall keep on learning till I die, but I am grateful for that. And I am so grateful for your love of poetry, as you have opened me out to a whole new world of poets.

    1. Satya Robyn Post author

      Thanks Daphne. And ALWAYS happy to introduce people to new poets/poems! Go well _/\_

  7. wallace jean diskin

    I want to weep with gratitude Satya and my fellow pens here. I too read some journals more than 7 years ago but indeed the same issues are here today as then. Though one caveat is that I own them, acknowledge my penchant for gobbling up not food per se, but friends, and they feel gobbled and retreat. This past two years have been devastating in that realm – but I am slowly and surely recovering myself, my inner voice that has become an agent of compassion for me at last. This is my first input of these first seven days. My ex-husband (though still married) leaves today after three weeks, and I am suddenly filled with sadness, though glad to have my home, space and alone time back. Nevertheless I would like to post more here today since I have dying for time to be here and this is the first day —–my intention however, is to go back over the posts and answer them.
    But suffice when I was out walking the other day the softest warm breeze crossed my face and I looked around and up at the trees, nothing was moving or swaying – I can still feel it………I am so grateful to be here with friends today – at this moment I could write all day and will do so at every spare moment – in the meantime – yes I will sign up for “Writing Towards Healing” I can never get enough of this class. And so very appropriate at this time

    1. Malek Montag

      Night glistens as yellow light reflects in fallen rain. Near midnight. Human activity fades. She creeps from a hedge. Slowly. Silently. She sees me and stops. Mid-road she waits. I carry on my path and she melts back into the night. She’ll hunt elsewhere, when I’m gone. There are a few things to eat in this town. She looked unkempt, rugged. A scavenger of an urban jungle. A pest. Vermin. But she’s a cunning, wily street fighter. Stealthy. Soundless. She stalks our lives through the undergrowth. And in the morning we’ll see her nocturnal labours on our streets.

  8. John S Oliver

    Alive Instead of Dead

    It is over cast in Dallas today.
    And it rained some last night
    These combine to make the front lawn look different.

    Normally bright sunlight makes the dormant winter grass unremarkable.
    But somehow it is lovely.
    It is usually a dull yellowish grey.
    The color today has some orange and is like ripe wheat.
    It seems alive instead of dead.

    This may be a combination of the soft light and saturated leaves.
    If I was not seeking for something to write about today I would have missed this.

  9. Judi Sillifant

    Seven years ago I had lots of life to live. I had trust and was in love. Then the universe found some ‘to do’ list that had my name on it. The carpets, rugs and lino all got pulled out from under me in one fell swoop. I lost both breasts, my hair and my husband and I discovered years of cheating. I had to heal from 4 major surgeries, chemo therapy, radiotherapy and a year of other treatments. Now I am different and I have only each day. Me, myself and I are learning about life all over again and I am so alone.

    1. claire barton

      Me, myself and i ~ what a wonderful trio!
      May you love every aspect and grow to experience all your gifts ~
      Sailing the seas, aboard this Ship of Friends may you feel: We Are All One.
      Namasate!

    2. Satya Robyn Post author

      What a tough time. Very sorry to hear this Judi. I hope you can begin to find some companions again.

  10. Nonnie

    I often read in my devotional about accepting that I can do nothing all on my own. I’ve had to learn to be the one in charge since I live alone due to the death of my husband 8 years ago. So…I try to relinquish the wheel over to God. Otherwise, I may split apart at the seams.

    1. Satya Robyn Post author

      Handing the wheel over sounds very wise Nonnie. I have to remind myself again and again to do this. And again……

  11. Play Ice Hockey

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

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