I've been thrust into a new practice...it's called grieving. It sucks.
My Dad passed away unexpectedly on Thursday September 21st. I had been fighting an awful stomach virus and had subbed out my early morning class that morning to rest (thank GOD). I had just awakened and felt led to go to my altar and meditate. The urge was so strong that I felt something big must be coming up for me. Shortly after I received the dreaded call that my father passed away in his sleep. He was 66, too young. My life suddenly completely changed. My body began to shake violently. I didn't know what to do. I'll never forget this feeling. I was in disbelief. How could my dad, who I had just texted and spoken to the day before, suddenly and forever be gone from my life?
Suddenly I was thrust onto the road of a real hard grief. I'm a beginner in the grief department. This practice is hard...it hurts..it stings...it's unpredictable. It demands 100% honesty and commitment. My dad had requested I sing at his funeral...something I knew one day I would have to do. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do...but was also the greatest honor. You see this new grief thing is full of this contrast. You do something and it feels great but at the same time it feels like gut wrenching. I catch myself days later immersed in a movie and feeling so happy to have my mind distracted-but then GUILTY for enjoying the movie and not thinking about my Dad. I'll enjoy one of my Dad's favorite meals and suddenly realize in the middle of nowhere that when I get to be the age he was when he passed away that I will have over THIRTY YEARS without my father. That is gut wrenching to me. At times it takes my breath away. And then there are moments of complete numbness where I'm not feeling anything and I worry that I'm too calm.
After almost a week I re-emerged into my physical asana practice today because my body needed the movement. I was craving to see where my mind, spirit, and body connection was. It was the most challenging time on my mat. Childs pose, fish pose, and down dog were my go to asana. Suddenly my tight hamstrings felt open, it was weird. I have reached a new phase in my life where things are looking completely different. Things feel different. New choices have to be made, and suddenly the "meaning" of my life is something I am constantly thinking about,
Life is different. I don't know what that means yet. I'm a beginner....riding this journey. I do know I'm grateful for my connection to my Dad, which now feels stronger and more eternal than ever. My relationship to my life and to my Dad are now forever changed.
My Dad was a wonderful, talented, and amazing man...he was not perfect...but his deep longing for intimacy with everything in his life is something I am holding myself accountable to achieving in my lifetime. The days ahead will be challenging in new ways...entering this new practice of living will be a life long journey-with my Dad as my guide.
Thank you to you all for your kind support....your words...your love...your prayers...thoughts....energy....food....consideration...it is remembered and appreciated more than you know!
I'll be returning home to NYC later this weekend and will be resuming teaching starting with my Sunday evening 6:30 PM Hot Vinyasa class. I hope to see you all on the mat.
When someone says "do your best" do you feel overwhelming pressure? Or is it just me? When someone says "do the best you can do" I automatically turn into a ball of anxiety. What does that statement even really mean? I've been thinking about this a lot lately...
I just came back from a week in Los Angeles, my favorite place to be. It's a tremendous city that has an unfortunate (and inaccurate) reputation for being a strange and superficial city. I actually find myself more at home and at peace in Los Angeles more than I do anywhere else. I jive with that energy. I was able to practice the entire week at an amazing studio called Light on Lotus. I rarely get the chance to practice these days in an actual studio with other yogis. A lot of my time is spent bopping around teaching, so my own practice is often spent in the privacy of my home at either ungodly early hours or in the middle of a hectic teaching day. I love my home practice, it serves me and I've grown from it. But there's nothing like standing in the middle of a crowded studio and moving through Asana. I observed myself all week as I was challenged through some strong classes. The words "do you best" kept coming into my head for some reason. At one point I was so challenged by a posture that I tuned out. I was in my mind chatter so much that I wasn't even listening to the teacher who was next to me trying to guide me into the posture. Wow what a moment for me.
I was in my head...listening to that voice that was saying "you're never going to be able to do this. Your hips are too tight. Why did you come to this advanced level class, etc, etc." I gave over to that voice and stopped doing my best. But the most amazing thing happened...once I noticed I was in my head I realized doing my best was literally listening, trying to do what I COULD do and acknowledging the limitations for what they are. Yes maybe today wasn't the day I was going to get into the fullest expression of the posture, but at least I tried it out for me. That's my best. My best is not going to look like your best. Maybe on a day when I've had a great evening with friends and have had too much wine, my best will be slightly different because I might be moving a little slower. It doesn't mean that I PUSH myself into anything. Our best at any given moment is listening to where our bodies, minds, and spirits are at that exact moment and honoring that place.
We're gonna groove through a soulful flow this week...maybe move out of our comfort zones a bit. Let's focus on listening to where the mind, body, and spirit are TODAY and honor that as we move and shake our spirits around. And can we have some fun doing it? Yes!
See you on the mat! As always if you want to come to my class and haven't tried out one of the studios where I teach please reach out to me--I'm happy to have you be my guest!