“I so wish I didn’t have to be here, and I am so glad I came!”
This was the heartfelt wisdom that a participant shared at our last Yoga for Grief gathering. I have been holding sacred space for bereaved folks for almost a decade and I could not have said it any better. Why is it that the deeper we love or the fuller we live, inevitably we each must enter into the healing ground of grief one way or another?
Each gathering that we have held has reminded me that while grief is a universal teacher, that everyone has their own unique way of coping with loss. By acknowledging this and other paradoxical truths in the grieving process it can be very disorienting and baffling at first but as we map out our own path we grow more confidently aware that we do indeed hold internal resources and resiliencies that help us along the way. It is like stumbling around in the darkest of rooms knowing that there is a flashlight, candle and matches or a light switch somewhere. We are not sure how we will find the light but we must search nonetheless. In the yoga for grief gatherings, participants get to have their own nest and safe space to deepen their yoga practice and at the same time be witnessed and bare witness along with other group members. Mary Oliver shares with us yet another one of those unavoidable and paradoxical realities in her poem “In Blackwater Woods”:
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.
I am honored to hold space so that participants can circle up in a way that allows the ancient and evidence-based practices of yoga and other healing rituals can nurture our bereaved minds and bodies. As you read this, trust the part of you that intuitively knows if this is the right gathering for you or for someone you know. Trust that if it does not feel like the right time to join that just by contemplating these paradoxical truths about our mortality you are already part of our circle. And trust that if it does feel like the right time to join us, that you will be held and supported by me and the other group members. It is in this gathering that the light of other members often helps us realize that we can indeed find the light within, even in the darkest of rooms.
There is indeed a time for all things and this is the time for you to trust your heart and know you are on the right path. Thank you so much for taking the time to open your heart just now. And may you deepen your breath into what ever thought or emotion arises in this moment, because that is a gift you can always offer to yourself.