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Meduim: Watercolor on stonedge natural paper Size: 18" x 13"

It’s been a while since I’ve connected with my favorite Hindu goddess, Akhilanda.

Okay, I admit that she’s my favorite Hindu goddess because she is the only Hindu goddess I know.

Akhilanda.  Her name means Never Not Broken, she rides a spinning crocodile on the river of fear, she is a cut crystal in the sun shedding new light on every reality, and she is powerful beyond measure.  Oh yeah, I could use some of that ju-ju.  It’s time she and I hang out again.

Akhilanda first spun into my field of view in the fall of 2011, when I read this piece by JC Peters in Elephant Journal. Then I wrote about Akhilanda in April 2012, when I was about to begin a four-month sabbatical from teaching Nia, and everything about my practice felt broken. Now, in what I am lovingly calling The Sucky Summer of 2014, I am writing about her again.

Akhilanda’s Never-Not-Broken power lies in the breaking of entrenched patterns and habits and making ourselves new.  Of course, this can be uncomfortable to put it mildly.  The Never-Not-Broken feeling can be one we go to great lengths to avoid.  When difficult circumstances arise, it’s easy to shake my fist at the heavens and curse those damn Hindu goddesses.  The spinning, multi-faceted jewel of Akhilanda, however, offers 10,000 perspectives on every situation.

Akhilanda rides through the body.

As Frank rebuilds his strength after six weeks of virtual immobility, he experiences one of the body’s paradoxes: in order to build strength in the muscles, the very fiber of the muscles must be broken. The process of breaking and healing makes the muscle stronger than it was.

Akhilanda rides through emotions.

To see my tall, strong husband buckled over, in a wheel chair, then slid into the MRI machine felt like more than I could bear.  The temptation to stay in the waiting room, to look away, to keep my emotions at a manageable mid-range was strong.  Akhilanda’s wisdom invites me to jump into the river of emotion and allow myself to feel the depths of sadness, grief, fear.  Like strengthening a muscle, as I stretch my capacity for feeling painful emotions, I also increase how much joy, happiness and love I can let in.

Akhilanda is rides through scary situations, those things we think we cannot do.

I feared Frank aging and being disabled for a thousand reasons not the least of which was that I believed that would be a cross, angry, useless, horrible caregiver.  My prediction was that when in the presence of my beloved in serious pain, I would be pathetic mess.  Not surprisingly, I have feared any circumstance that would reveal this ugly side of myself.

Then, I found myself spun right into the heart of just such a circumstance.  My partner injured and pain with just me to look after him.

Mother Theresa, I am not. Sometimes I am a cross, angry, useless horrible caregiver and a pathetic mess.  But surprisingly, this is the exception.  Mostly, I can stay present and connected and do what needs doing and offer whatever comfort and service I can with love.  In this scary and painful situation that I feared, I discovered something unexpected about me and about our relationship.

All of which begs the question, of course: is it actually a Sucky Summer or just a crocodile-riding one?