Personal, Perspective

Channeling grief into healing

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. Waves of grief still come and go while I continue to process the death of my father – sometimes violently and unexpectedly, sometimes slowly and nonchalantly.

I was very attached to my dad from a very young age. I wouldn’t say that I was a daddy’s little girl because he didn’t really coddle me or my sisters. But we had a close bond that was unique to our relationship. I remember pretending to fall asleep in the car so he’d have to pick me up and carry me to my bed. I loved the warmth of his embrace (and if you know anything about my Taiwanese family, hugs are few and far between!). I can remember the size and shape of his hands and how they were always warm to the touch. He always held space for me, whether he realized his ability to do so or not.

I stepped fully into teaching yoga soon after his memorial service. This wasn’t really the way I planned to start my yoga teaching career, but I think with the way this whole year has gone, nothing is like I expected. As I came out of the initial fog, I surprised even myself with how I could channel my grief into healing and holding space for my students.

The energy of grief is powerful. It is expansive. I feel like when my heart shattered, the pieces have reconnected in a way that is so much bigger than it was before. I now have a larger understanding of loss that is a shared part of the human experience. We will all lose someone close to us at some point in our lives – a friend, a grandparent, a sibling, a parent. None of us can escape loss. But we can channel that energy if we choose.

Grief has also made me more observant and sensitive to my students. I can sense their moods and their energy levels more acutely, which sets the tone and direction for my classes. Sharing my humanity with students has deepened my approach, made me more adaptable and allowed me to offer what my students need rather than what is expected.

I honestly wasn’t sure whether my grief would surface in my teaching as puddles of tears or a strong desire to run away, so I’m rather relieved that it tapped into a deeper well of compassion and healing both for myself and for those I lead in this yogic path. Perhaps this is the spirit and energy of my dad living through me. He always had a welcoming, warm, open-hearted demeanor that I happily and readily channel.

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