“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”
Since losing my Mom, a little more than a year ago, I have been pushing my grief down. Literally, physically, metaphorically. Most of the time I am fine. Most of the time I move through life with an overall sense of optimism. I feel a deep sense of love, purpose and meaning. But then, moments come, and I miss her so hard there’s a lump in my throat and tears always threatening to fall when someone even asks how I am. Sometimes she is so far away that I can’t believe anymore. In anything. That grief, that hardcore loss that shakes you up and rips the rug out form under you… is good to feel. The times it’s risen up and become unbearable, the urge to drive it away and bury it is overwhelming. To become so busy I can’t think of it. In this past year I’ve learned that the moments of greatest clarity come in our moments of stillness. The layers of healing that happen when you are just able to “be” with your pain are transformative.
Right now three of my good friends are grieving…two of my clients are grieving…so many of you are grieving. My heart, empathetic by nature, is feeling this commonly shared experience so deeply. Having my own grief understood and reflected is such a gift.
“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life” ― Nicholas Sparks
So in these moments I’ve found some things that help. Here they are in no particular order.
So now I’m letting the grief rise. Experiencing it fully. Letting it overflow however it sees fit. Whether that be tears or song, anger or despair. This allowing is more healing than anything else so far. Two grandmas and a Mom in 3 years. That’s a lot to lose. I’m thankful for my sister and my girls. For my friends who are my sisters and for my teachers. This beautiful feminine energy is still there. Always with me. Supportive and nurturing. Helping me be the same for you. Thank you and I love you.
Lokah Samastah Sukinoh Bhavantu
May All Beings Be Happy and Free
The Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures, Three Refuges, Precious Triad, or most commonly the Triple Gem Pali: त्रिरत्न, are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge. The Three Jewels are: ⁕Buddha ⁕Dharma ⁕Sangha (Wikipedia)
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
Ahh pain. Suffering. What is it? How do the two differ? How are they the same? Today I injured myself giving a Thai Massage. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Pain and suffering are not the same things. Pain is a physical sensation; suffering is how we choose to experience it.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote,
The Buddha compares being afflicted with bodily pain to being struck by an arrow. Adding mental pain (aversion, displeasure, depression, or self-pity) to physical pain is like being hit by a second arrow. The wise person stops with the first arrow.”
“Same same but different” echoes the ethereal voice of my Thai yoga teacher in my mind. Slowly, slowly. Arms straight, back straight. “I did this massaging someone” the thought invades my mind, carrying with it grief and disbelief. I know exactly what I did. Lift, twist – from the core. Bandhas engaged, breath mindful. Intuition at the beginning of the massage telling me to go easy. And yet – in that last moment – I felt it clearly. I gently let go.
Knowing and Honoring my body, I saved myself from more serious injury. I’m certain of that. I’m also certain and grateful for my yoga practice which created this inner wisdom.
Five lessons I’ve learned from pain
be where you are, no escaping
suffering is optional
there are many things to be grateful for
We learn the most powerful lessons during our times of greatest suffering.
So, have you ever felt your heart break? Just right open? You know that sensation you feel. Physically. Is it sharp or dull? Does it run deep towards the pit of your stomach or high up in your throat making it so that you can’t breathe?
I’ve felt it before. I’ve seen people suffer physical consequences of the emotional trauma. Working with Deborah Heart and Lung and fifteen years in the long term care industry, one becomes quite acquainted with death and grief. Never enough to prepare me for my own mother’s death of course, but definitely a deeper understanding of the process of life. I’ve sat with many people as they passed. It was an incredible comfort to have been able to do so. Today I went through a few photos of my Mom and the people surrounding her as she left this world. They are so beautiful. If you’re dealing with grief at the moment I can recommend a few things for you:
I’ve been figuring that one out. I still am. Thanks to some of the incredible teachers in my life ~ Sudha, Melissa, Trish, Jennifer ~ among many others, I’m learning to walk this path with as much grace as I can muster and I try to create a life of compassion and integrity, truth and beauty. They inspire me to keep working at it. The more I heal the more I can serve. So Thank you <3.
Below I’m sharing a yoga class and some inspiration for dealing with grief. I hope it helps. If you have questions about it please feel free to connect with me via Facebook or email.
Heart Chakra Class for Grief
The color green for the heart chakra
Think warm and grounding – provide blankets, pillows, nourishment
Deerga Pranayama. Then deerga layered with ujjayi.
Mudra & Sound
Vajrapradama mudra. Affects manomaya kosha. Good for depression low self esteem. Stimulates thymus gland , heart chakra. Chant the seed sound Yum.
Pratyahara – Return to oneself. Withdraw the senses inward. Listen to the sound of your heart.
Santosha – Practice contentment.
Cultivate the boundless states of loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity manifest as forces of purification which transform the turbulent heart into a refuge of calm focused awareness.
“There is in this city of Brahman an abode, the small lotus of the Heart, within it is a small space. Now what exists with that small space, that is to be sought after, that is what one should desire to understand.”
— Chandogya Upanishad
Just Let Go
Breathe in Love
Breathe out Pain
Breathe in Peace
Breathe out Heartache
Breathe in Peace
Breathe out Peace
Breathe in until you’re completely full
Breathe out until you’re completely empty
Dance between these places, notice the space between the inhalation and the exhalation, gently release the space just letting one breath flow into another.
From the Radiance Sutras:
The life essence carries on its play
through the pulsing rhythm
of outward and inward movement.
This is the ceaseless throb, the rhythm of life –
terrifying in its eternity, exquisite in its constancy.The inhalation, the return movement of breath,
The outgoing breath
We breathe out the old air, the old thoughts, the old feelings.
These are the two poles
between which respiration goes on unceasingly.
Between them is every quality you could ever desire.
As the breath turns from in to out,
and again as the breath
curves from out to in –
through both these turns, absorb intensity.
Enter these turning points
In the play of respiration and expiration,
Where the rhythms of life transform
Into each other.
Breath flows in, then surrenders to flow out again.
In this moment, drink eternity.
Breath flows out, emptying, emptying,
Offering itself to infinity.
Cherishing these moments,
Mind dissolves into heart,
Heart dissolves into space,
Body becomes a shimmering field
Pulsating between emptiness and fullness..
Restorative heart openers
Yin Hip Openers – Eka Pada Rajokapotasana, Agnistambasana, etc.
Grounding postures such salambasana, balasana, Utkata Konasana, Utkatasana