It was the beginning of this year that I really realized how fortunate I am to have my community. Today’s prompt is about our support circles as bereaved parents. “A friend, family member or organization that has been there for you..” A particular group that we’ve found healing in our journey.
I’d be amiss if I left any one person or group out of this blog. There’s no way to capture how each person, stranger or friend, has impacted my life over the last 17 months. Every person who has taken the time to tell me Sam or Lion rests on their hearts and in their minds, to the incredible acts of love that could never be repaid, have a greater impact on my healing than I could ever put into words. My husband is my greatest support circle. My irreplaceable family. My most thoughtful friends. All the loss Moms who hold me up every single day when I so often fall. My co-workers who allow me to openly grieve and love me the same. Anyone who mentions their names. Anyone who still takes the time to read my blog and travel through the most heart wrenching unknown territory with me. You’re all people I couldn’t imagine my life without. Forever friends who were destined to play this giant, indescribable role in my life.
But one thing specific to my journey that has undeniably promoted peace and healing in my life is my yoga practice and its community here in Southern Indiana. I started practicing yoga at Inner Spring Yoga as a brand new yogi in July of 2015. Much like grief, I walked in to the studio for the first time entering the unknown. What’s happened since is nothing short of magic.
At the beginning of class tonight Carrie used the Sanskrit word svadhyaya; the study of oneself. (I had her text the spelling to me because I’d probably never get it right on my own!) In tonight’s practice she had us move our bodies and breath in the opposite of what she’s taught me over the last 15 months. If I was taught to breathe in with a certain movement, she had us breathe out. She encouraged us to recognize what we were feeling in our joints, not in our muscles, to adjust our bodies to where we felt free in the posture, and the most difficult, to close our eyes and not look around the room at our neighbor as no two postures will ever be exactly the same.
Much of the same is true in grief. We travel together but we journey alone. What was I recognizing about myself and my body as I was moving and breathing in a way that wasn’t ‘normal’ to me? In the beginning it felt uncomfortable and hard but by the end refreshing and welcomed. In our last pose of the night I was the only one in class who raised my hand when Carrie asked if we did the opposite of what’s ‘normal’ when she allowed us to choose on our own our breath.
There’s a freedom otherwise unknown to me that I keep learning from yoga. I’ve spent a lot of time since Sam was born and died in svadhyaya. It wasn’t until my loss that anyone told me that it was okay to sit with myself, to study myself, to love myself, to recognize my feelings, to acknowledge their presence but to learn to just be, to adjust my life so I am comfortable and free.
Yoga continually teaches me that I am enough.
In a world where we’re judged by how we look, what we wear, the shape of our bodies, the color of our skin, our religion, our political beliefs or how we grieve; we need to be told that we are perfect just the way we are.
Healing begins with acceptance.
And I am so thankful for my yoga community who has accepted me.
I’d encourage you to sit with yourself in the quiet. I’d venture to say that the more we listen, the louder we love.