I’m really, really happy right now. It’s 7pm on the second day of March and my bedroom sliding door is WIDE open, letting in the muggy warm night air and frankly delighting me.
My room is mostly packed up, this sliding door I’m so grateful to have wide open will not be mine this time next week. When I pulled up to my house today after yoga teacher training this evening I just sat in my car for a good ten minutes. I had a little bout of emotions, for a handful of reasons that I won’t delve into, and I just sat there. I just sat with the windows down, music playing, and sipped in the fresh air. The air is extra fresh today. It was overwhelmingly delicious in its freshness in part because I spent all day sweating and breathing inside the studio; the weather also reminded me of Colorado, which I always love. Gray, muggy, warm in a light and revitalizing way. I sat there breathing, contemplating my move. I’d just seen my ex on my way home and he asked what all the boxes in my tiny car were for, and when I told him I’m moving the whole thing got a little more “real.” He moved me into this house, and so to share that with him sort of “thwapped” me on the forehead with a WOW this is really happening realization. Yes, I just made “thwapped” a word, go with it.
So I contemplated, I basked in the invigorating fresh air, and I sat in a space of gratitude. How nice that I’ve lived this close to work for so long, yes I will miss that. I will miss being a matter of minutes from the studio and work. But this is all happening for a reason, that I trust, with every shred of my being. I believe that to my marrow. The distance is being put in place for a reason, and it has nothing to do with the physicality of it, with the geography of it. I believe that. The Universe is gently picking up my life at this very moment and placing it a town away and I trust that, I trust the shift, I welcome it.
I believe with such conviction, with far more conviction even than yesterday. Granted I did spend the day upside down, which I learned has a way of making things “click” 😉 and for that I am grateful. Sheesh, if Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Pincha Mayurasana, Sirsasana and Salamba Sarvāngāsana are what I need to do to start seeing things clearly, I’ll gladly tip on over. The exhaustion of the body sure makes for a clearer, stiller mind. I see things more clearly tonight. The fresh air helps. All is happening as it should be.
Facing fears seems to have a hand in this, I think. I realized today that I have a fear of standing on my head. I mean, I did it, but I feel like I need a lot more guidance with it and I am cognizant of the fact that it’s incredibly risky. I think the fear stems from an experience as a child. It’s actually a pretty intense memory. I remember sitting at my kitchen table with my mom, I couldn’t have been more than eight years old. I recall my mom telling me she had to talk to me. All she said was, “Shawna’s Dad,” and I knew what the end of the sentence was going to be. It was a strange moment that bordered on clairvoyant, and one that has remained unparalleled in my life since. I’ve never had another moment like it. I knew my mom was going to tell me that Shawna’s dad had died. I don’t know anything other than I knew what was coming. And that’s what she said. Shawna’s Dad had been sawing branches off a tree, had climbed up high, and he’d fallen. He’d fallen and broken his neck. It was all very sad and I should be there for Shawna as she went through this horrible loss.
I remember Shawna telling me that she felt her Dad’d neck, at the funeral. They let her put her hand behind his neck and feel the looseness, the spine detached, vital nerves and vertebrae frayed, broken. Destroyed. She was proud, that she’d been allowed to feel it, proud as though it gave her back a little of what she’d lost. She had confirmed, yes this is what took him, this is why he’s gone and will never come back. That’s what did it. It was a graphic confession and one that has never left me since.
I learned many years later that the tree climbing story was fiction, made up to preserve the innocence of young girls, to shelter an abandoned daughter from shame and confusion and further devastation. Shawna’s father had actually hung himself. The untruth was how it happened, but the truth was that a broken neck killed him. I’m grateful that I wasn’t told the true story at that young age as I already was very raw around the topic of suicide, knowing my uncle had committed suicide nearly decades before my birth, and that it had changed my dad forever. Devastated him. A broken neck and the loss I watched my little friend suffer was enough.
I haven’t talked to Shawna in years, our friendship pretty much ended due to her mom’s increasing instability, and my own beautiful mom’s fierce, protective maternal instincts. I just wish we could have saved Shawna too. I think she suffered a lot at the hands of that instability. I think she is a mother now herself. I hope she is happy. This is all beside the point, but it surfaced for me a few hours after standing on my head.
Needless to say standing on my oh-so-fragile neck is not something I take lightly. It’s not something I’m eager to do, and yet that makes me all the more convinced that I want to get comfortable in the pose. Luckily I’ve finally come to the realization that “getting comfortable” in a particular asana is something to which I will dedicate years. I am learning that I’m years away from even attempting many asanas. It is through that realization that I know my practice is advancing. I am becoming more comfortable with not being able to do things, more comfortable with not feeling comfortable doing things. I am growing less judgmental of this. Some days are better than others, but I see the little shifts happening. I see the subtle growth, change, evolution taking place. I’m actually taking more physical modifications with the asanas and yet my yoga practice is advancing. That’s profound.
I’m really happy. I have every reason to be happy. Things are happening out in the world, real things, things that elicit real grief. My soul sister Jen Pastiloff’s in New Mexico right now visiting her friend Emily Rapp, an incredibly inspired author, for Emily’s beautiful son Ronan’s memorial. Her sweet little angel lost his battle with Tay-Sachs disease last week and my heart has been pouring out love to her ever since. Actually my heart has been pouring out love to her since I very first learned of her existence, of Ronan’s disease, and of their soul-penetrating story. Humanity. That is happening. Loss and devastation and the utter “oh my GOD this is really happening” actuality out in the world. Everyday. To my fellow human beings, around them, within them. Shawna lost her Dad more than fifteen years ago and it was real, harrowing, gut-wrenching. Diseases are diagnosed, homes are lost, bodies injured. Real things happen everyday, and my heart pours out love to every single person suffering. So I have to move. So what? If all Emily Rapp had to worry about was moving I’m sure she’d be a helluva lot happier right now. But that is her journey, that is the horrendously trying loss that was placed in front of her and it’s her experience to survive it. Luckily she has incredible people in her life like Jen, and Katie Devine, to help her through the miserable reality of such a loss.
What I’m saying is that that is real and, while it doesn’t deem my emotions and experiences invalid, it puts things into perspective. The daily horrors that occur in third world countries, the atrocities committed against women in cultures where women have no rights, the disfigurement, murder, genital mutilation, sexual trafficking, the I-could-go-on-and-on-horrors that occur on a daily basis put things in perspective. I am not listing these off so that I won’t continue to feel strange about moving, or so that you’ll read this and think, “Wow those poor people I feel so bad for them,” or “man I have it good I’m so lucky thank gosh I’m not them,” or even “I am happy and now I feel guilty for being happy. How can I be happy when others are in misery.”
That’s not my intention at all. My intention is to stimulate a deep, overpowering sense of humanity. Of compassion. Of love. My intention is to waken something deep within me, within you, within us all that says this life is precious, not promised, and so very fragile. I will not waste it. I will not spend it pouring hatred out of my heart but rather love, I will spend it pouring out love to every being. I will move mountains with the love in my heart.
You can move mountains with the love in your heart. You have that capacity. So tonight, have a moment of gratitude. If you are suffering, feel your suffering, and then let it be. If you are happy, bask in your joy, and then pass it on. You are alive. You are a blessed, breathing, heart beating, sentient gift to this Universe and you are brimming with love. Sleep on that tonight. You are love. I am love. Take that to rest tonight, concentrate your dreams on that love and, when you wake, let it all pour out.