“Where There is Ruin There is Hope for a Treasure” – Rumi.
Five summers ago my daughter told her counselor that she planned to stand in the middle of the train tracks that run south of our house at 3pm the next day. No one would be home, no one could stop her, and her pain would be ended. I am forever grateful she did not follow through with this plan. Because where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. That’s a quote from a yogi born 800 years ago, and it fits because yoga became the treasure. Our experience is an example of what Veronica Roth is saying when she says, “If there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading.” I would have to wholeheartedly agree.
When my daughter told us she wanted to end her life we reached out in every possible direction. First medication. Then she was prescribed more and more and more until we finally found a doctor who was trained to work with children and made the right decisions. Through counseling and medication she was getting better. But she still needed help regulating herself when those support systems didn’t help.
Fast forward two years. I am now a teacher. My assistant principal, who knows my whole story and how many times my daughter has been to the hospital and so much more, handed me a book, ‘10% Happier’. I said, “don’t I seem happy enough?” This was laughable because I had become deeply depressed, watching my first born suffer and having no idea why or how to fix it.
So I read the book she handed me. Dan Harris is your friend telling you “I don’t know about this yoga and meditation stuff but I gave it a try”. The book opened my eyes to a new possibility – meditation – as a way to calm my daughter’s mind and relax her body. So, I researched and found that Dan Harris also had a podcast called … ‘10% Happier’.
The summer of 2016 I put headphones in, pressed play on podcast number one and started working in my yard and listening. Then episode 16 started. On this episode, Ali Smith from the Holistic Life Foundation talks about helping kids by teaching yoga and meditation through workshops and after school programs.
Have you ever had that moment where you know you’re in the right place at the right time, hearing the right information, knowing that it’s going to change you? That was it for me. I called Ali, and traveled to train with he, his brother and best friend at a weeklong class in the Catskill Mountains in New York, in a yoga studio surrounded by windows past which a family of deer literally bounded. I came home to Indiana changed forever.
The nonprofit, Superhero Training was born in 2016 as a way to help anxious students in elementary school realize they can control their bodies and breath. I have become a yoga certified trainer for adults, certified to work with youth in urban settings, and have earned a certificate in applied neuroplasticity for educators. I have trained teachers in public, private and parochial schools, social workers, principals, parents, and most importantly children about how their breath is their body’s remote control, and that yoga and mindfulness can calm these anxious, depressed, angry little minds, and even teach them empathy. It has spread all the way up to the college level where I work with students who are trying to calm exam nerves. And each time I talk to a group someone comes up to me to share their story (a story similar to mine sometimes) and I realize that because of the ruin I went through, I get to receive the treasure of helping someone else feel better and know they are not alone.
My daughter graduated high school with honors and is currently in college and working. She knows the difficult, dark days always pass. And so do I. Our goal is to continue to share this information with others so they know there is hope.