The process of alchemy, or simply put: changing something toxic into something valuable, has been a part of my personal journey. In homeopathic medicine, the cause of the disease can also be the antidote. I view my upbringing in this light. My conflicted relationship to my father was peppered with all sorts of practice in this area. This included meditation, self-exploration, and yoga. When I was a child, a part of me resented that yoga and meditation took my father away from me. His journey into self-discovery left him ignoring me and my brother, and left us scrounging for ways to get his attention. One of the only ways he seemed to notice and pay attention to me was when I mimicked what he did and assumed the yogic positions.
Although my journey into yoga began this way, there was also a curiosity; the desire to learn this skill, and take this path of self-observation and detachment. It sure didn't seem like dad was detached. It seemed as though he was able to unwind himself right out of his pretzel contortionist position with both legs wrapped around his head and yell at me for something as innocuous as drawing too loudly with my markers. Wasn't he missing the point? These exchanges often left me feeling empty and alone. As if I could do nothing correctly and could never be enough.
This foundation for my relationships became the very fuel that I have used to achieve and accomplish my goals. Initially, the desire to be self-sufficient, so that I would no longer "need" my father's or anyone else's approval or support, sent me on a path that lead to lack of vulnerability. In turn, this created a loneliness that would only be salved by that ability to detach and look inward.
Back to the meditation and yoga that my father was immersed in (to the point of ignoring me.) I was now following in his footsteps and giving to myself what he never gave, and what nobody else really could give to me. Over the years, there have been several turning points and incidents which could be viewed as unfortunate, however, within each of these experiences there was fuel. There was the opportunity to take that very same energy, hold it, and let it burn until something pure appeared. In essence, I have found that my ability to take any incident and transform it into something valuable and beautiful far outweighs any storybook fantasy I may have had.
It takes hard work. Sitting in the process of purification, without shying away from the unbearable feeling of transformation, and sticking with it long enough until one day: Poof!... It gives every single moment—"positive" or "negative"—true value. The ability to turn lead into gold. Knowing the True Self. Namaste.