Dearest Yogis and Yoginis,
I have two messages to share today—one very personal, and one that is for all of us to consider carefully as fellow Beings on this planet. I’ll start with personal.
Our dear kitty Miss Sweetie Pie died in Declan’s arms on Halloween day. We all knew it was coming, as her little legs had stopped working and her had appetite dimmed. Until the last days, though, her beautiful spirit shone through her loving eyes to all who looked into her, including me when I last held her the day I left for Nicaragua. I think I knew in my heart at that moment she would chose to go while I was gone, and I can’t help feeling I should have been here at home to touch her little paws and cradle her tiny body one last time instead of lead a yoga class overlooking some beautiful foreign beach. After 15 years of holding down the fort with two children and more than a decade beside two strong male felines in the house, my petite baby girl slipped away out of my fingertip reach. It was a hard day. Declan kept me in the loop by text, so at the moment of her lift off, my heart was —and still is—full of her sweet little light.
Declan built her a small pine box and, together with Finn, dug a hole and buried her in the front yard by the stone wall where she spent her last summer under the shade of the ferns. Now she will always rest in the place where friends and retreat guests would find her either fast asleep or struggling to her feet to greet them with as much love as she could muster. Coming home last week to a house without her—and without Mr. Paws who left just a month before Sweets—was one of the hardest moments of my life. These little beings bring us so much joy, but when they go, they leave a hole that seems unfillable.
Even last night I fell asleep in tears, missing the little things each kitty would do before bedtime: the demanding Sweetie meow asking for a last treat before lights out; the click of Pawsie’s nails on pine floors before the baubled baby meow, followed by his immediate and silent launch up onto our bed each and every night. Routines the heart won’t soon forget. Painful. Bittersweet. I want to remember the feel of their fur, the sound of their voices, the silly things they used to do. I don’t want to remember; it hurts. I want to remember: my mind feels the silky coat and sees the silly toes, which makes me cry all over again. Nothing lasts forever, at least physically, no matter how much we want it to… We learn how to let go. And letting go rips your heart open. Like Leonard Cohen said, “there is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” So I hold Puddy a little tighter, play with him a little longer, and let his happy purr fill up the holes in my heart. And I take all the hugs I can get from you, my friends, students, and family who have all been where I am and felt the pain of loss. Love is a balm. Love helps us heal.
How to go from kitty cats to yoga? How about your “sweet” yoga hOMe?
Now, more than ever before, the world needs yoga. I need yoga. All week in class I have been talking with students who feel despair, fear, and uncertainty—and I dare say, people on both sides of the political spectrum feel this way. Yoga can help. Rolling out your mat, whether here at Dragonfly or at home in your own living room, can offer you a sanctuary wherever you are, and this, more than ever before, is a valuable piece of real estate you really need to inhabit.
Yoga postures stretch our muscles, dig into our tissues, massage our organs, help us build strength, stability, and stamina; and the asana practice teaches us how to soften, to find the spaces between muscle and bone, to slow down, to really listen to our bodies. But yoga is so much more than a physical practice, as so many of you know. Yoga may not mean postures to you. It may mean sitting in meditation, breathing, allowing yourself to just be still, even when the mind is busy. Yoga teaches us to surrender what we can no longer hold, to accept the things we cannot change, to love the neighbor that seems more like an enemy than a friend. Yoga teaches us that we all rejoice, and we all suffer (and we all experience the full gamut of emotions in between). Imagine, if you can, a giant ocean where each one of us is a wavelet that rises to a little peak, expressing our “i-ness,” our individuality. After each expression, our wavelet falls back into a tremendous sea—the collective consciousness—the whole, where we are undivided and indistinguishable. We thrust our solo wavelet up for a moment, but we each return to the same body of water, to the Source that reminds us we are all ONE. We feel the same emotions. Our bodies have the same functions. Our eyes look out on the landscape with the same capacity to see and sense… But whether we really choose to see our commonality or not depends on whether we are tuned in to our collective, albeit fragmented sense humanity… And I would add in all living beings—our pets, the animals in the forest, this planet. Can we feel our collective Spirit? Angst? Suffering? Joy? Fear?
You may want to put your head in a hole and say, “there is no way I will ever understand those people…” Or you may choose to open your arms to everyone despite their beliefs. But here’s the TRUTH. Yoga can help us to come together, to heal wounds, to find common ground, and to co-exist peacefully when we disagree. Yoga is about loving yourself enough to practice even if you can’t balance on one foot, even if you want to swear or laugh out loud when you are practicing. It can help us get connected when we feel utterly alone, and it can help us disconnect from the things that suck our energy. Yoga can help us plug back in to the Source. Yoga reminds us that love is the answer-that we are in this together.
On the mat, each one of us comes hOMe.
I hope you will come home to yoga. Come on up and roll out your mat. Be who you are, and know that everyone is welcome to be here and share sacred space. Together we practice strength and softness, discomfort and peace, struggle and surrender, what it means to stand firm and also to let go into the sweetness of this amazing practice that will help you re-center, re-ground, and re-focus. You are invited! Roll out your mat with me and with a community of caring people in a beautiful sanctuary we can each call our yoga home. I hope to see you soon.
DRAGONFLY PRACTICE SCHEDULE: https://dragonflyogabarn.wordpress.com/dragonfly-yoga-barn-class-schedule/
Wishing you each much love and light on this beautiful November day,