Joy and pain: a practice

I am at a loss with your losses. All I have is my presence and willingness to feel the loss with you without getting lost.

Joy and pain.

Yoga. Dharma. Conscious contact.

The goal isn’t ecstasy.

The goal is presence in the face of the entire spectrum of being.

Joy and pain.

A bullet through your window stopping short of your children’s bedroom.

A family member dying the same day you are burying the family matriarch.

The regret you carry for not checking on your loved one and finding they took their own life.

I have no special meditation.

No perfect quote or meme. 

I have no special-sequence-aromatherapy-grief-yoga-visualization-inner-bliss class to teach.

I am at a loss with your losses.

All I have is my presence and willingness to feel the loss with you without getting lost.

I have genuine empathy of this cycle of suffering in life – samsara – and the practice to not shun the feelings, but invite them and be sad and vulnerable and frightened and angry and maybe a touch defeated. 

I sit on my meditation cushion, cry literal tears and feel a heavy chest. This is conscious contact.

Joy and pain.

I am present with my breath that ventilates my heart and spirit and thus helps ventilate their own.

I carry that truth of feeling and being into my actions of taking over food without asking “what do you need?” because they don’t know or cannot speak. 

I am present when I reach out to my tribe to share the truth of my own confusion, fear, helplessness and hurt. 

I am present as I share, as a “teacher” of these practices, that I have nothing to give beyond these words, despite my desire to not let down your expectation.

I am consciously aware of caring for my heart and spirit and capacity and to not exceed them.

I hurt today in the face of intentional evil acts, on others and in my lifetime.

I hurt today with those who felt the pain too much to bear, for it reminds me of every time I choose to stay.

I hurt today with those who’s circle of loved ones dwindles with each death in their family and they believe they are alone with their sorrow.

I know if we are blessed to continue to draw breath, this pain will pass, this sorrow will soften. I pray that it will soften.

I surrender to it, not fight.

I remember “ishvara pranidana” – surrender to something greater than myself. This is yoga.

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