Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Swells of Sadness and Love

Lately my impending move (from this house, this town, this community, this life) feels like a bone-crushing weight.

I'm reminded of all the lessons and questions I offer students in my yoga classes. We can numb and hide through lack of action, surely. But we can also avoid ourselves in mental or physical busyness. We can “push” through to keep from feeling. Sure, we get stuff done. We act. But what am I ignoring?

The humor isn't lost on me. During the yin yoga training I led recently, I asked the participants to notice what sensations and emotions they feel when the body is still and quiet. We can be so scared of what we experience and allowing all that sensation to wash over us is intense. There's no getting around that.

One lesson I learned very early is: when we offer questions or insight, we probably need those wisdoms ourselves. Sometimes the circumstances are already in effect. Other times, the question I ask my students shows up in my life not two weeks later.

I resist admitting I feel scared or sad to others. Usually I don't fight sadness within myself, but I haven't wanted to succumb to this grief. Friends have asked me, “So, are you excited about the move?” No, I'm not really excited. Then I feel awkward because they're excitement for me suddenly deflates. Or they continue with the common follow up question: then why not just stay here?

I taught my final yin yoga class at the studio—one of the Sunday night classes. Often as a gift to send with them I sing or chant while everyone is relaxing in savasana. This time, my song represented a final goodbye. I felt the air pricking my skin and a soft pressing on my chest. I knew I wasn't the only emotional one, but one person packing up let her tears fall more freely. We embraced and held each other for a long time, and she murmured in my ear: “It's the end of an era.”

A couple nights later while clasping hands with an intimate soul lover I tearfully expressed the grief I felt. I haven't wanted to feel this, I haven't allowed myself to. To feel this sadness means letting go of an old life. Not completely, these years are still a part of who I am. But leaving the yoga studio, leaving the house I've inhabited, leaving the town I've existed in (it has never really been a home to me)... Initially I just wanted to escape from this place. But in the last few months the same soul whose fingers were now tangled in mine reminded me that the things, the goals, and the people that are important to us, they matter. How we spend our time matters. Being vulnerable to ourselves and the people who matter changes who we are, inspires us to run toward something beautiful.

If I choose to run, I want to run towards something, not away.

During that night I repeatedly wiped my cheeks to make room for the next wave of tears. The loving soul in front of me sat quietly, tracing the lines of my fingers and palm. I truly wish and hope that all of you find safe spaces to be with the upheaval inside of you and release it. Yes, it requires trust and vulnerability, but when that space can be held for you, or you hold that space for someone else, that is sacredness in all its glory.

I'm sure in time, as plans form and intentions and goals are recreated and discovered, excitement will begin to set in. But in many of these moments, terror and grief blossom deeply in my throat and behind my eyes. As days draw closer to some form of final end, this is my reality. After choking on a rush of sobs, I whispered, “I don't know how to honor that.” But that is how I can honor it. I ask my students, “What does it feel like to be in your body right now?”

It feels painful, and sad, and beautiful. I feel loved, I really do. Even with this gravity, there is still love here.  

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