I love that I created the image above, shot the picture on my iPhone, edited it in Adobe Photoshop and am using it to relaunch and re-imagine my blog as my own DIY project.
I have experimented with authorship and been terrified by it. The earlier posts in the blog are samples, moments where I just closed my eyes, took a deep breath and just started writing. They were dares to myself to create something that could stand apart from my talking, exist as a written record that would quite simply stand as proof that I could read and write.
In earlier posts, I detailed my battles with literacy, report cards, standardized tests, and learning disabilities. Caught between grasping and aversion, I exhausted myself and got both physically and mentally ill trying by brute force to annihilate my insecurities and feelings of self-loathing.
In the early 1980's, in my 30's and already the president of Scholastic Productions, I found my way to the Integral Yoga Institute, founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda in New York City, where it is still located on West 13th Street in historic Greenwich Village.
Already struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, my medication of choice was Valium. With no real way to anticipate it, a 60 minute yoga class ending with 5 or 6 minutes of meditation, would leave me as calm and tranquil as my little yellow pill with none of the agitation I would experience as the Valium wore off.
My Buddhism has taught me, or more accurately is teaching me that we can not regret the past. Buddhism and common sense have taught me that we certainly can't change it.. So in spite of that early taste of spirituality, and first flirtation with my Buddha Nature, I went on for the next 35 years battling my demons with psychotherapy and pharmacology.
Coming up in July, I will celebrate my 73rd birthday surviving three heart attacks, two nervous breakdowns, and hospitalization for depression.
Maybe it takes a lifetime. In Buddhism, we believe it takes many lifetimes, to attain, peace, freedom and enlightenment. I don't know where this lifetime will end, or the many that may come after... but as I first learned at the Integral Yoga Institute it begins with the breath.