Yoga is the lifeboat, Meditation is the medication and Stories are the Compass! This has been the story of my life, I can attest!
That has been my life’s Mythic Yoga Journey™ powerful living through following my personal myth! At age 50, it’s all I can do to explain the marvels that have unfolded in my life as I look back in awe – all of it despite relentless episodes of grueling loss, grief and despair.
And all I can say is that despite these intense life’s obstacles, I have prevailed and am thriving, because yoga, meditation and stories were there to get me through. In fact, it was my story when I went for refuge and took my vows as a Buddhist with the Volusia Buddhist Fellowship a few years back. I was given the name of Guy-yo, Brave Sun. Because I kept going.
I hope others will find benefit from my journey to keep going. Where I was depressed and suicidally ill from trauma and mental illness in my past, I am so happy now from my efforts of yoga, meditation, ayurveda and expressive arts and narrative therapy, my Mythic Yoga program, to re-story myself and get me through via my personal mythology.
Of course I have bouts of difficulty on occasion, especially under extreme duress, like having to fix up a house in Orlando and move to Japan! But I bounce back quickly because have the tools to cope. I’m so happy and survive the trials of life, yet I see now around me such despair and those who do not. I hope others can have these tools. In Japan, suicide is the number one killer of citizens ages 15-39. One in four Japanese have thought of committing suicide. Japan’s birthrate is at record low.
Here in the US, depression, despair and suicides are epidemic, spreading across the U.S. Suicide is at a 30-year-high in the United States, especially among middle-aged women. It is the tenth cause of death in the U.S. Twenty U.S. veterans commit suicide every day. In Florida, suicide is the #3 cause of death for ages of youth ages 10-24, #2 for 25-34. It’s #1 for kids age 10-14 in my home state of Colorado. For every suicide, there are 25 attempts. 42,773 people kill themselves in the U.S. every year. Number one killer of adults in U.S. over all? Prescription drug overdoses.
I sure have been depressed much of my life and all things considered often wondered why I didn’t kill myself. What keeps me here? My personal mythology includes the story of my father surviving a Japanese concentration camp at Ambarawa 7 concentration camp in Java during World War II. Around the dinner table he became my first yoga teacher as he testified about having a death experience from beri beri and dysentery.
“There is no death,” he always said. “I know. I experienced it!” Even though he was suicidally depressed during my childhood and my sister eventually killed herself and so did my husband. The yoga and the stories and the personal mythology, the curiosity of discovering who I am, the truth, satya, the mystery of the universe and knowing this truth there is no death, those things kept me going. Just constant creation and destruction, creation and destruction all seen from a still point. A depth and inner reality watching all on stage and spewing it all out. That’s where I found myself bottoming out instead of killing myself. I just kept going.
And now in amazement I find myself moving to Osaka because of my husband’s job transfer. I have fixed up the Orlando house and will be getting on with the next leg of my journey soon.
As this wonderful country of Japan opens up so much healing and beauty in me. The temples and shrines, my father’s past – all the stories, all the pain and sorrow of war now transformed as I, in middle age, move forward in a next exciting chapter of my life to be told here in these Osaka Diaries.
And be a voice for suicide prevention. That’s why I’m here. It keeps me coming back in the world rather than hanging out in a cave. My Bodhisattva Vow. But that’s another story!