Cathy Weiss

Yoga | Author | Spiritual Teacher

Private and small group yoga instruction for women. Professional, reliable, authentic.

Empty Buckets Overflow

About 18 months ago several women told me that they would read a book if I wrote one. I felt excited and challenged by that idea and decided to go for it. Several months into the endeavor I was realizing that I bit off a bit more than I was ready to chew. One of my intentions for 2012 is to release fear and holding back. So even though it feels a bit daunting and scary to tell you about some aspects of my life story, I'm doing so with the intention that by sharing my experiences with you, you too may be inspired to live courageously, fully, and fearlessly.

The title of my book is Empty Buckets Overflow: One woman's journey to wholeness through yoga.

I am completely capable of writing the book, but at this point am choosing to focus my energies on other aspects of my career. So for now what I have decided to do is use my blog to give you pieces of my story. I have so much to tell you! I'll be doing it in bits and pieces and will certainly write about other things that cross my mind like I normally do. But for today, let's begin here...

Over the holiday break this year I was thinking a bit about my youth and something struck a chord with me. I was ruminating on the fact that I came from an uncommunicative family. We didn't talk about "it". The less than pretty parts of anyone's past were an enigma - sort of, kind of mentioned but not really. There was a lot of "Oh, I don't remember what happened." And I always felt like it was a disservice to me. I still can't tell you for sure certain things about my grandparents and even my parents or my sister.

There were probably plenty of life lessons I could have learned from hearing those stories, about how to overcome adversity, to be courageous, to trust and love myself, etc. I realized that I was following that same pattern when I tell you how yoga completely changed and even saved my life, but not telling you how. I've been glossing over some of the not-so-pretty parts of my past and realized I was doing you a disservice by not sharing with you where I've come from and how practicing yoga brought me to where I am today.

Today I'm just going to paint a picture of how I was when I first encountered yoga at the age of 25 and then over the next few weeks and months show you how by practicing yoga over a long time, without break, and in all earnestness helped make me who I choose to be now.

You see, I was raised to be co-dependent. I didn't know at that time and wouldn't know for a few more years that I was co-dependent. Co dependency is a behavioral disorder in the realm of relationships.

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. ..Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

Often the trait of someone who is living with an alcoholic or other type of addict, for me it was a result of my upbringing. As stated above, it was a learned trait. There was a deep lack of honest communication in my family, so the roots of this trait are not fully clear to me. I feel it is possible that both of my grandfathers were alcoholics. I only surmise this from bits of stories I have been told. I didn't know my paternal grandfather, he died when I was an infant and I didn't know my maternal grandfather very well. If this is the case, then both of my parents are adult children of alcoholics and thus co-dependent. I don't blame or hold a grudge about this fact. It is just a fact of my childhood and upbringing that resulted in who and how I was as a young adult.

In my late teens and early 20's, being in college was the only thing I had going for me. Earning good grades was the only positive re-enforcement I received and I craved so deeply to feel validated in any way that I continued with school for the grades and the financial reward my parents placed upon those grades. As long as I was doing well in school they paid for tuition, books, rent, food, gas, insurance. You name it, it was paid for. I even received a weekly paycheck from their business. At that point in my life if it weren't for the conditions of school I'm sure my life would have headed in a direction of quiet desperation that would have been so profound and consuming I'm not sure I would have been able to crawl my way out.

I was dedicated to school and good grades, but in all other areas of my life I was just trying to make others happy and make them like me. I occasionally smoked marijuana so that my boyfriend and his friends would think I was cool, that I fit in. I never liked it, faked it a lot, and always wished I had never done it. I would say this is my biggest regret in life. I knew in my core being that I was not interested in drugs, I knew the effect they have on the physical body and I completely blew it and let myself down in order to please someone else. There is nothing in my life I have done that I feel worse about than that.

I also lied a lot. When I did have a part time job I called in sick a lot, I would hand my background pay voucher to another extra to turn in and would leave the set mid way through the day. I had no work ethic, no appreciation or consideration for others. All of these traits only compounded how terrible I felt on the inside. I knew what I was doing was wrong but yet didn't really have access to or role models of right living.

With no role model or guide, no idea or clue about how to be spiritual, how to love and trust myself, how to have a healthy relationship with anyone, I gave up. It was lurking there in my heart and soul, right inside me, but I had no access to it. I had a great big hole inside.

I was empty.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about how yoga became the first few refreshing and hydrating drops in the empty bucket of my soul and the first glimmers of my transformation from fearful to Flirt-astic.

If you are interested in learning more about co-dependency, this web site is a great place to start: http://www.nmha.org/go/codependency