I haven’t been home in a while. My life on the road is a series of suitcase bumps up and down escalators and relentless packing and unpacking.
Swimming in my pool – this is the life
Six years ago things were different. I had a home, a son in high school, a marriage, a stable income and my pancreas was still producing insulin. I can remember swimming laps in my pool and thinking, this is the life.
But just when I thought things were hunkey dorey, the shit hit the fan.
My particular brand of crisis didn’t actually happen because I was diagnosed with diabetes. It happened before then. It was happening because I was sick and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was convinced that my marriage, my home and everything stable was dragging me down. I wanted adventure and radical change.
Then all hell broke loose.
The details are irrelevant (a whole book in itself ) but within a year or two I was no longer married, my son had moved to Melbourne, someone else owned my home and I was living out of a suitcase in India. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times that phrase, “be careful what you wish for” rolled around in my head!
That moment of radical crisis forced me into a corner and made me question everything. Especially my roles. The big question? If I’m not a mother, wife, yoga teacher, who am I? I’d lived through so many ideas about who I thought I was that I realised I didn’t have a clue who I actually was. It’s the existential question most of us soul-searching bohemian types ask at one point or other right?
My eat-pray-love adventure
Lucky for me I slam dunked into a person, who having been through something similar, was now out the other side. We met in India, as you do when you’re in the middle of an eat-pray-love adventure. He led me to a teacher and a teaching which answered every single soul searching question I’d ever had. Sound unbelievable? I thought the same. But it just so happens that a crisis is the only time in your life that you are forced to question. And in India a traditional teaching, which has existed for thousands of years, is designed to provide the answers.
Diabetes diagnosis – getting on with life
As a westerner I was so full of my own ideas, conditioning and beliefs I never thought I could drop all that, but I did. As the simplicity of it all dawned on me I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. And rather then being devastated I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Suddenly everything made sense. It enabled me to accept my diagnosis and get on with life. Living as artfully, passionately and fully as possible.
Coming out of crisis for me was finding home in myself. And to be real, words cannot adequately describe what I’ve been assimilating since being exposed to the wisdom of the upanishadic tradition in India. What I can say is that in spite of living with a chronic illness I’ve found peace.
So when friends ask me how I manage to travel constantly, teach yoga, manage my relationship and live with diabetes.
Keeping it simple
I keep it simple, practicing yoga every day, eating small nurturing meals. Walking in nature, taking time to be still and be with myself.
Rachel Zinman’s groundbreaking new book, Yoga for Diabetes is out soon..