Sunday, May 27, 2013
This Body is All She Has in This Life Time
The other day I was working with a client. I asked her to close her eyes and be with the center of her body, from the inside. I asked her to sense into what feels hard and painful. I asked her to put her hands on her thighs - to touch her own body. Within moments I thought I could see tears at the corners of her eyes. After a few minutes, she opened her eyes and took a deep breath. She told me that she spent most of her time moving away from the pain, avoiding it completely, trying to get away from it.
Her words have stuck with me since we met. I haven't been able to stop thinking about her avoidance of herself, her desire to get away from herself, and her inability to see the beauty pouring from her eyes. This body is all she has in this life time.
Backbend and Forward Bend
I know she is not the only one who has felt this way, who feels this way . . .she is not the only one who has wanted to not feel what the body is offerring.
I have felt this way recently. A recent event in my life has stirred up this deep sadness in me, has brought me in touch with that dark place in the center of me that has been dissolving, but is still there - that place in me that feels dead and alive at the same time.
I know the only way to deal with it, is to go through it, be with it, to fully allow it to expand inside of me and soften around it, to open my heart by bending back and release it all by folding foward.
Pain is Mandatory, but Sufferring is Optional
This darkness has been there as long as I can remember. It has changed its shape and depth. It used to just be this big black hole inside of me that sometimes felt like it might take over. I tried to heal it by making big changes in my life. I have tried to heal it through all of my yoga, self-care, and all of the ways I live my life. Yet, in the very act of making change, I have caused this ocean of grief that is beyond repair - the grief of losing my children for half of their lives.
For a while, I waited for the intensity to pass. Almost eveyone who I spoke with said it would. I know now, that it actually won't become any easier and that the very best that I can do is to be with it and myself in all the ways I can. This is my sufferring. There is this buddhist saying, "Pain is mandatory, but sufferring is optional."
This experience is definitely both - pain & sufferring.
Much of the sufferring, I'm sure, comes from my constant desire for it to change, from my inability to accept it, my inability to accept the reality that this is my life - as it is. At times, I want to cut out this part of myself, cut out the part that hurts, cut out the part that is dark and sad.
But, how can I be sure, if I do cut it out, that I won't cut out any other parts. And, isn't this my journey to be lived and my body to live it in? Some days, I just don't know.
We Have to Accept All of The Ways We Are Limited
All we have is the body we are in, the life we are in, the circumstances around us, and we have to figure out how to be with the hard stuff - accept it first, and then change what we can about ourselves, because we can't count on anyone else to change. The loss we experience gets woven into our tapestry as it cracks us open. It can either limit us or expand us.
I think about my client, this incredibly beautiful and strong woman, who only sees the parts of herself she wants to get rid of, the parts of herself that hurt. I want to tell her, as I want to tell all of my students (and myself) that first we have to accept it all - just as it is - without change. We have to accept all of the ways we are limited and grieving and wrong and injured - we have to really accept them, make them ours, before ever being able to fully change into the part of ourself that is our essence, the unchangeable, amazing, essence of ourself that is not affected by time, location or circumstance - our birthright.