The simplest way through grief

The other night, I had the privilege of teaching a woman her very first yoga class. Seeing her eager, smiling face throughout all the awkward downward dogs was a reminder of the kind of presence our practice — and our life — needs from us. Every time is the first time. Her enthusiasm for simply being able to connect with not just her body, but herself as a woman, was written all over her face when she left, and in the gratitude she expressed as she rolled up her mat.

On her way out the door, she told me that she had been processing a sudden, tragic death of a loved one these last few months, and grief had taken up shop in her heart as a result. When I expressed my condolences, she said, “Thank you, but you know, the thing about grief is that we can only get through it by grieving.”

It sounded so simple, but the poignancy of this statement hit me hard. We can only get through by being fully in it — nowhere else than where we are, feeling nothing else than what we feel. These emotions knock us down, but in the falling, they are meant to be met on the ground, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, with compassion. Only then can we begin to rise, and in owning the state we are in, catch a beautiful glimpse of grace.

So wherever you find yourself today, recognize your courage to be in it…to be where you are. High or low, I encourage you to find even a sliver of appreciation for where you may be, for this crucial step on your journey. Know that it is simply a tiny piece of the whole. And all is well.

xo A.

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