Practicing: Losing Your Ghost(s)

Today on Oprah’s Super Soul podcast I listened to Jay Williams, a former professional basketball player, open up to Oprah about this near- fatal motorcycle crash, his regrets and how he started to fulfill his destiny despite the doubts about how he threw his whole life away. The title of his podcast was, “You Can Survive Your Worst Mistake.” Now I won’t go into detail about Jay, (because you have to listen to the podcast!) but I will tell you one thing that keeps reverberating in my head. There was a line said by Jay and then repeated by Oprah, “I was done chasing my ghosts.” I literally stopped mid-stride on my walk today and repeated that out loud. How many ghosts from the past are we all chasing? Still talking about? Living with? Losing sleep over? Marring new relationships by holding on?

How can we stop chasing the ghosts from our past and step into reality to create a MOTHER ***** amazing future? OK, I think I have a recipe. It’s not easy, but stay with me here.

I was 25ish and in love, like the kind of love that wakes up just to look at him in bed and smile (even after an argument the night before). I was so lucky and I knew it. I had a dog, a beautiful home, a  career, a handsome, successful boyfriend, whom was my partner; my person. I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. I remember day dreaming about every detail of our future together.  I hated even spending one night away from him. I am sure you see where this is going… one day, 4 years later, he told me that he didn’t love me anymore and that he wanted to break up. My world began to spiral, crack, burn and whatever else you can imagine a world doing that has just been shattered. I had no idea what was up or what was down. I could not be without him.

Three months later, I was found sobbing myself to sleep in a studio apartment, which I never wanted. I felt empty and now understood what the word “heartbreak” not only meant, but felt like at a deep, visceral level. Six months went by, a year, three years and this ghost was haunting me; at all hours of the day and night. It marred every relationship I tried to entertain, or lack thereof. It marred my sense of love, worth and basically my outlook on life.

At the “something has got to give, Emily” moment I signed up on a whim to attend a Spiritual Healing Yoga Retreat in Guatemala. To say that saved me would not be true because it didn't, it moved a block that would ultimately restore a speck of hope inside of me. It gave me space to see how I was better off now, and how this life was intended for me to be without a partner at this moment in my life. From my Spiritual Healing Yoga Retreat, I attended a yoga teacher training to further my healing, not to become a teacher! I had no business being a yoga teacher (I thought), I was still just trying to rid my ghost.

I then started traveling, alone. I went to countries that were affordable and safe for single female travelers and I made sure there was some type of yoga studio nearby. I felt safest in Central America because I knew a tad bit of Spanish and I had a healing experience in Guatemala already. My first non-retreat trip was to Belize, where I was asked to teach yoga for the owner because she was stepping out for the day. I had no idea what I was doing, but apprehensively agreed and I have gone back about 8 times since, leading 3 retreats with the same studio.

I can honestly tell you that I only shed this ghost just this year. It has been about 8 years and my eyes still wallow up when I talk or type about this. I know now that holding onto this ghost, not only didn’t serve me, but it bound me. It blocked the other ghosts that I was holding on to that were actually rooted much much deeper from childhood! I feel so much lighter and powerful and it shows in everything that I do. I am so damn fortunate to have had this experience, the people along the way, and the vision to see this as such.

So, I will answer the question… How to rid the ghost of your past?

1. Get honest with yourself about these ghosts. Call them out and write them down. Ego aside.
Be patient.
2. Spiritual Healing- Yoga retreats (Moab in June!)
3. Support- life coaches, friends, yoga
4. Travel. alone.
5. Go deeper. Generally the ghost that comes to the surface first is not the root ghost. (We can talk about this!)

Emily Tully