To say that my family (by blood and by marriage) has experienced immense loss in 2015 is kind of the understatement of the year. We’ve had to say farewell to loved ones too soon, and the gaping holes left behind have been too immense to fill.
I know nothing superficial that I do will ease the pain or make it go away faster. Believe me, I tried to eat my feelings; it only made me feel bloated. Instead, I turned to the wisdom of Pema Chodron.
The day of my father’s cremation, I found myself completely frazzled, shaken to the core, and mentally frantic. Reality was setting in. These are, of course, completely normal and healthy reactions to loss. But for whatever social reason, our tendency as humans is to hide our feelings away and bury them so no one has to see us bawl and heave and shake and wipe away our tears.
Yoga philosophy tells us to sit with the experience and the emotions. Instead of trying to avoid difficult situations, the only way to get to the other side is to go through.
The earth had shifted beneath me with the passing of my father, and I needed to find solid ground again. I needed to be held in a larger sense. No one could comfort me – not my kids, not my husband, not my siblings, not my mom. As I sat in the backyard of my childhood home, letting the sun and the breeze dry my falling tears, the lyrics of Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” kept playing in my head.
I said I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly
I wanna sleep on the hard ground
In the comfort of your arms
On a pillow of bluebonnets
In a blanket made of stars
I am allowing myself time to grieve and process and feel. I don’t want to be numb to this experience. Death is a part of life, and life must go on after death. I’ll always have my memories with Dad and the thousands upon thousands of photos he took. And I’m comforted with the thought that he taught me everything that I needed to know from him before he passed.
Coming out of this, I’m ready to hold space for others again. My calling to teach yoga is strong as ever. The 8-limb path of yoga is important work that we do to heal ourselves and to make us brave warriors of compassion. I hope you all will join me on the mat as we finish out the year and close the book on 2015.