I imagine that many of you already know that on May 30th my 90-year-old mother passed away. I’ve written a few posts expressing my overwhelming feelings of grief and grand loss.
My mother was an inspiration and gift to me and countless others during her incredible lifetime. And in fact, she continues to guide us through the lessons and example of a life well-lived.
One thing I’ve come to learn is that each time we experience a loss – every other loss that we have lived through begins to bubble up from the depths of our being. Like a quiet geyser ready to erupt, this new loss is the catalyst causing all previous hurts to come crashing through.
So, while we learn to navigate the waters of the most recent pain and suffering, we must learn to navigate the undercurrent of past afflictions as well. It’s not easy. It often sucks. But it’s necessary to acknowledge and vital for our overall well-being.
If we hide from the emotions, or attempt to push the uncomfortable sentiments underground, we will surely regret it. For emotions are simply energies in motion and they need to surface, to move, to be breathed into, and allowed to dissipate of their own accord. Trust me on this, if ignored they will come back to bite you in the butt even more powerfully and potent. And most likely they will arise again when you least expect it.
However, with consciousness and acceptance of what is true for you in that moment of time, your honesty will clear the path for a broken heart to heal. With a little super-glue of self-compassion, self-care and self-love your dismembered heart will piece itself together again. And where the new and old fissures of pain exist the light of love will more readily shine in and through.
We are meant to experience all that life offers. Emotions are called Rasas, they are the tastes and textures that bring flavor, meaning and context to your life. From a Tantric yoga perspective, the primary Rasas include love/beauty, laughter, joy, anger, sorrow, disgust, fear, and courage.
Can anyone relate to these emotions and see how love itself will eventually bring us loss? And loss will bring anger and sorrow as well as joy, laughter and the full spectrum. It is the creation cycle playing out in our everyday lives.
The path of a yogi is the path of the spiritual warrior. It takes courage to meet one’s life head on. Yes, granted, some days we curl up in bed with a good escape novel, drink too many cups of coffee, or find a myriad of ways in which to numb ourselves. But sooner or later we wash our face, take a cold shower and greet the day anew.
The last year or so of my mom’s life we began to speak of legacy. What she was leaving this earthly physical existence with. What she was leaving her beloved family and friends with. It was not monetary. It was way beyond that which money can buy.
Her legacy is how she lived, every day of her life, the core values that were instilled in her by my immigrant grand-parents. While my mother was a Christian woman, like the Dali Lama, her true religion was kindness. Where she saw need, she gave of herself. Where she saw hurt, she offered solace. Where she saw inequality, she spoke out.
My mother understood that life was a blessing. She was grateful for the gift and encouraged others to not squander theirs. My mom remained curious and interested in people until she was no longer aware of her surroundings.
In one of our last conversations in which she spoke of my work in the world, my mother wondered what I would do next. “What do you think your next book will be about?” I laughed and said, “I’m not sure if I’ll write another book.” “Oh, of course you will,” she assured.
In her courageous and forthright manner, she wondered how the experience of walking through the shadow of death with her would affect what and how I taught. My mom urged me, just days before she passed, to not allow my grief to take me down. The bright shining light that she was, and still is, she encouraged me to continue my work and let my heart guide me to new shores.
I’m still swimming in the stream of sadness and sorrow. Of joy and gratitude. Of pain and of blessing. I’m still swimming in the question of, “what’s next for me?” Inviting the creative life-force of the Shakti to guide me, just as my mother will continue to do. Her voice is clear to me, “take it slowly,” I hear her say. “If it feels right, then do it. If it doesn’t then say no. This time of your life is important. Make it fun.”