At the end of my yoga classes I read a passage from a book called “Journey to the Heart”, by Melody Beattie. It was given to me a long time ago, has been lost, found and then lost again. My most recent copy was given to me by a nun, who was also a yoga student of mine. She’s someone who… without needing to know the details….. knows the details.
I am a person of faith. Dare I say spiritual. I don’t go to church, I worship in my own way. I think many of us do. But I believe that there is something or someone… the higher power as we say….. and I believe with everything I have. Although it’s not always easy.
In one particular reading of the book, she speaks about a mosaic heart. To her it’s representative of life…. of the many fracture lines that run through our own hearts. They don’t heal, they are always there…. and they are a part of who we go forward as. The lines can become smooth, and they become what joins the broken pieces of us together again.
Photo by Kenny Maths
A few years ago I endured a tremendous loss. One that I have never recovered from. One that I will never recover from. Details aren’t important…. loss is loss. We have all been there. We all share that in our lives, mine is not exclusive.
A wise woman once reminded me that there are things in our lives that we never get over. We only get through.
It’s been a long time. The space between then and now is wide. Like an ocean separating us. I can go months, dare I say a year without shedding a tear, and then all of a sudden something… somehow raises it to the surface and I feel the world crash down all around me again. In this case literally. This week was that week. There was an anniversary of sorts, something caught my eye on the news…. I took an unplanned trip down memory lane. Nightmares returned. The kind that wake you up at 1am with a heart rate of 175, feeling like someone is crushing your chest.
All of a sudden it’s right here in front of me again.
Friday night I went to Yogapoluzza at Midtown Athletic Club, where I teach. I had the honor of team teaching 100 yoga students with 12 amazing people who I teach with. It was beyond fun. We laughed. We giggled. We were ridiculously silly.
My yoga family is amazing. And fun.
It was beautiful. I stood in the back row with my fellow teachers and as the rain poured down so hard you could hear it…. we flowed. We took turns teaching and we took silly pictures during. And it was light. It was fun. In yoga I get to feel so vulnerable and so protected. Like I have said before you don’t have to come there for any reason or even lay it all out on the table. We get one another. We flow and move and share that energy. As hokey as it sounds….. it’s real, if you are open to that sort of thing. It’s like the old school radio tuning into the radio station. If you can find the right station, and have patience you can hear it loud and clear.
As I said we laughed and flowed and were just…. together. I could feel that old grief…. that had come to the surface so unwelcome and so violently…. I felt it there. I felt it pretty deep. Just standing where I was standing was healing. Just being in the middle of that group of people was good for me.
There is no instruction manual on this stuff. You just have to ride the wave when it comes and not fear the wave when it rolls out to sea.
I left right afterwards not because I didn’t want to join the after yoga party….. but I just needed to… have space. Cry, remember, and run my fingers along that fracture line in my heart. Trace the pattern and know it will never go away, I don’t want it to go away. I am afraid of forgetting. I am afraid of moving on. I am afraid of losing the memory.
When it comes back like this it comes with things I swear I can still smell, hear and see. I can even remember texture. The feel. The embrace. The voice. The day before. The week before. The month before. The year before. Grief is fickle and finicky. Not only is there no instruction manual there is no map.
In my life…. I am the person people come to. Which is what I want. Which is what I love. I am calm and resilient. I can see the big picture, I can see different points of view and I am a listener. I love to listen. I love being the go-to person for people. I love the feeling of being trusted.
What I am terrible at is reaching out. You start to feel like you should just be able to handle these waves as they come. So you get on the bike and you turn the pedals. You run the hills harder. You swim the laps faster. You know the depth of the pain in your heart and maybe if you go hard enough you can go deep enough to match the pain or maybe even touch the pain.
But you never…. ever can.
You don’t reach out… because there is just nothing more to talk about…. this wave has the same stories, same feelings….. there is just nothing to be said. It’s just grief. It never gets better, just further away.
As I walked to my car it was raining. That spring rain that promises new life. Part of me still reels, part of me still is ricocheting from it…. part of me wants it to just stop coming back…. and part of me is grateful that it does.
I find healing on that mat. I find healing walking in the rain. I find healing driving home in silence. I find healing in many places. In many people. On my bike. In the pool. Running. In that text from someone who doesn’t even know… just asking how you are feeling…. because you haven’t been yourself today. In the smile from the barista at starbucks when he guesses your drink before you order. I find it everywhere. I am open to it. I take it wherever I can get it from. Because that’s what the world is for isn’t it?
There are a lot of fracture lines on this heart of mine. I am sure you have just as many. What shatters us into a thousand pieces is not always easy to articulate. It’s not something we ever HAVE to get over. But we get through. The pieces come back together and form this mosaic heart within us. There are the experiences that makes us who we are. That enables us to be there for others. To lend the shoulder.
Remember, the heart doesn’t stay broken. It becomes mosaic.