I have been thinking this week about grief and loss and heartbreak. So often after class, when we are having our tea, our conversations dive deep into quite personal issues. I have noticed how often we talk about our children, our parents, our partners, our health. Because I know the background story of most of my students, there are certain things I won't bring up around certain people, so as not to upset them - and to allow them to maintain their 'yogi glow' beyond the studio. But of course, not everyone in the room knows everyone else's story. I watch and listen and redirect as needed.
We all have our stories. We have the ones we tell others. We have the ones that we tell ourselves. And then there are the ones that never happened, yet still take up so much space. Anytime we have a conversation, we are potentially triggering an unwanted reaction in others - whether it is sadness, regret, envy, distaste. We have no control over this. And if we were to second guess every comment or story that we share, well, we probably wouldn't share so much.
What I see in the studio, is the way those who have suffered loss deal so gracefully with the flippant comment - the complaint about rude teenagers, needy elderly parents, body dissatisfaction. It lands upon the ears of those who have lost children, parents, partners, parts of their body to cancer. Yet they nod and smile and offer support.
To me, this is grace. This is the embodiment of what it is to be human. The ability to truly see, sit with and listen to another person, and hear their story without stifling it with our own.
To be human is to suffer. Loss, heartbreak, grief and despair sit alongside love, desire, joy and laughter. We will experience all of them some of the time. And some of them, all of the time. Grief can snuggle up against love as a constant.
I know now that I would much rather have the deep conversations than the shallow, trivial ones. I am pretty sure I annoy many of my friends by digging deep. But that is where we really live. That is who we really are. And I think that real connection lives in the conversations and stories which we share that are not glossy and perfect, but the ones where we are turned inside out and upside down. The stories where we are fully submerged, flounder, then resurface, made anew.
The other day, my Mum suggested I do something different with my hair. It has been the same forever, she said. And she is right. My transformation is more internal - I feel like every cell has contracted and expanded and morphed and finally settled. I know this will keep happening. That there will be suffering, alongside the joy and delight. I am so very grateful to my lovely yogis for showing me how to deal with life, however that may look, with grace and generosity. And I am grateful every day to have this practice of yoga to allow the space to pause, contemplate and appreciate the depth and breadth of this short but wide life ❤️