I'd like to introduce you to Rory Kai.
Rory is a vivacious, impactful light who crossed over from the realm of the physical in February 2017.
Rory's story is not mine to tell. I wasn't blessed to know him while he was incarnated in that tiny little body, behind those sweet (sometimes mischievous), shining brown eyes, animated expressions, and positively contagious giggles.
Rory's story belongs to Rory's family, to his mama whose generous heart is as courageous as the sun is bright. I am indebted to Mandy for sharing her baby and their story- her story- as she winds her way down a path I cannot fathom traversing. I'm indebted because through her words and vulnerability, I've learned invaluable lessons without which I wouldn't have fallen further into my own heart and soul. It's my personal belief that the purpose of life is living as much as possible from this place.
So while I won't be sharing Rory's story, I will be sharing the ways in which he and his mama have become gurus of sorts to me
To be clear, a guru isn't someone or a finite personality to be worshipped outside of ourselves. A guru is any energy that connects us back to our inner power. That which brings us from darkness to light, while acknowledging that the darkness here is a part of the whole- an integral (though sometimes brutally painful) part.
My most intimate darkness is depression. In my teen years and early twenties, I took medication for both depression and anxiety. In those days, I struggled with disordered eating, excessive exercise, occasional cutting, and "recreational" substance abuse as a means of escape. In my darkest moments, I secretly planned my death out under a thick veil of silent shame if only to feel some relief over having a "way out," eventually.
My particular flavour of fucked-up-ness was coloured with an almost-functioning veneer. Meaning, some days I didn't get out of bed. But most others, I dragged myself through the motions so as to not get kicked out of my University program. I was in training to be a professional actor in theatre school. There was a near zero-tolerance for missing specific classes, and at the time, I equated staying enrolled as my only bit of lifeline left. I didn't know who I was without it.
I also didn't know who I was without a character to hide behind. Without lines to say. Without a storyline to play out. I tied my worth entirely to how well I could play pretend, burying anything that felt remotely real and true.
I've written about much of this before. But the reason I put it on the table yet again is because this past summer, in July of 2017, I felt the familiar claws of depression rising from the depths of the darkest recesses of my brain. I recall the sheer panic I felt, the "Oh my god I can't go back there, I have kids, I have responsibilities, I'm in yoga teacher training, I'm supposed to be a leader OUT of this world."
At the time of this particular unfolding, I was smack dab in the middle of yoga teacher training. For me, this was a time of purging out a lot of old outdated patterns, coming face to face with a lot of stuff from my past that I'd done my best to outrun for twenty-four years or so. So while I knew logically it was a process, and while I had more than qualified teachers to turn to for guidance (and I did), that didn't mean that my reptilian brain wasn't convinced it was back in dark ages of my youth.
The difference-- well, one of the many differences between this time and last time-- was that now I knew the crucial importance of speaking authentically. To operate and communicate on the basis of my truth, even if that truth felt terrifying to tell. I got that the communication of my truth, as spoken from my heart, was all I have and is all I'll ever have.
Another difference between my first go 'round and this summer is that this time, I got that my touchstone is Interconnectedness. The flow between all beings- within, and without. Even though I wasn't feeling the connection, I knew in theory that it existed. I knew I'd felt it with a passion before. I just had to find my way back to my heart, which was somewhere beneath the layers of old pain surfacing.
I wish I could remember the exact date. I know it was July. I know I'd just laid my youngest down for her nap, and my older two children were playing out in the backyard in our sand-pit (read: a corner of our yard where grass won't grow and where countless toys have headed, never to be seen again).
I stumbled across Mandy's account through a hashtag named "#ISpyRoryKai." (I never follow hashtags. Ever. In fact, I'm a bit confused by them. I think I'm funny when I post and make them up, but I'm pretty sure I'm failing to use them as an actual tool for gaining followers. No matter). I chose to spy for Rory Kai, and that was a treasure hunt win.
I began devouring Mandy's Instagram posts, which led me to her blog. Her writing felt like lung-fulls of fresh air. Like I'd been numb for weeks, fighting to feel anything, and yet fearing to feel anything. And suddenly I was feeling everything. It was refreshing, and yet like being stabbed through the heart with piercing accuracy. It was like being seen all the way down to my marrow.
Somehow, the more real she got, the more I remembered I was real, too. And that that realness was okay, that I didn't lose my worth or my credibility for admitting I was falling, or that I didn't have the answers.
If anything, connecting with such authenticity felt like that was the answer!
Post after post, I read Mandy's words and I breathed so deeply. I cried. I sobbed. I shook. I let it all out.
(Another thing about me that is probably useful to know for the purposes of this blog, is that I can be incredibly empathetic. As in, I feel the energy and emotions of others to such a degree, that I get ill if I don't check myself. I'm convinced now, with retrospect and experience, that much of my anxiety in University likely stemmed from not knowing what was "mine" and what wasn't).
It's my belief that we all come into this life with that capability. It is a soul-sense. It's a part of what connects us. The flow between all beings- within, and without.
When we are cut off from this truth, when we're living from our heads rather than from our hearts, it can be easy to feel disconnected and lonely. On the flip side, when we tap into that connection without the awareness of what it is, it's also very easy to be overwhelmed and anxious. The dance of life is a bit like finding the razor edge of taking responsibility for what is ours, while also staying plugged into that fabric of interconnection.
Feeling deeply is incredibly disorienting at times, yes? Especially in a world where we're taught that feelings and emotions are dangerous things to be controlled, stuffed down, and managed. Mandy's writing was a reminder to me that I was safe to feel what I needed to feel. She reminded me of what I am always telling clients and students: Your emotions are just energy within your being that are asking to be acknowledged. Feel it so it can move its way out.
But what felt incredibly radical to me about Mandy's way of sharing is the freedom with which it is released. While I'd known for sometime that it was okay to feel, I suppose I was still telling myself to do it on my own. That I needed to save it all for a particular place, time, arena, and set of circumstances. Reading her confessions, her streams of consciousness, her stories, reminded me of when I first connected with the writer Glennon Doyle.
(If you've not connected with Glennon Doyle's words, get thee to Momastry or a book store, stat).
No one needs to give us permission to be who we are. We've had it all along, even when circumstances may have convinced us otherwise.
Some people have thicker walls of resistance to break through, some people have to shout louder, or take a running start at it. Some people have less privilege, and therefore more obstacles. Some people may even encounter physical danger.
But at the very foundation of our existence in this life? We choose every moment of every day to either stay true to the voice in our heart, or repress its expression. The choice is always ours, no matter how impossible the choice seems.
Mandy's words have been that reminder to me. Her relentless insistence in staying true to every scream, giggle, and utterance her heart makes. Her courage in sharing so openly that expression in a world that would otherwise convince us to control, stuff down, and manage that energy.
As for Rory, he has been a jewel shining in the light of Mandy's words.
His presence says to me, "Don't you for one minute take any of this for granted." It says, "Remember to look into your babies' eyes. Remember to smell the crease of their neck, and their hair." "Remember to laugh. It's okay to laugh, really. It's not all so serious."
Rory has become the key to unlocking a lifetime of fear I hadn't even realized I was carrying, and Mandy's words have been the turn of that key and the opening of the door, setting it free.
And on the other side of that door, beneath that long-repressed fear? The way back to my heart.
Thank you, Mandy. Thank you for your words, your truth, and the fierce alignment you have with your heart. Thank you for sharing all of your babies, your poetry, your joys, and your grief. Thank you to your family for shining a light in the darkness of fear.
Laura Biddle fights the urge to run when she hears the words, "we need a bio." She is a mom of three, a yogi, and birth enthusiast. While writing has always meant worlds to escape to, Laura is endeavouring now to open the pages of her inner life so that you too may be reminded of who you are. When not blogging, she can be found meditating, making coffee, or sidestepping over-flowing laundry baskets- it's a gift, really. Find more about Laura and her offers to the world at www.rootsforwingshealing.com