Today will be a very difficult day for me….. It is the day that I will bring my daughters over to my Mom’s house and say goodbye to my Step-Dad and her as they make their way to Florida, their new permanent residence, the next step on their journey of life. I’ve known about this day since the summer. This day has taken on an identity of it’s own. At times, it has been the big, creepy monster sitting beside me on the couch while I try to enjoy my morning coffee. Other times, it has been in the form of my yoga mat, holding, cradling and supporting as I cry through my entire practice. Another time it came in the well-meaning advice of friends assuring me that now I will have a great place to vacation to. Yet again, here it is, a fullness, an emptiness, an excitement, a joy, a heartbreak, sorrow, bliss, confusion, wonder and dread…. Yup, as I try to welcome each guest into my guesthouse, as the great poet Rumi recommends, it isn’t always easy. I’m not only holding space for my “guests” but my daughters’ as well. Part of my yoga practice and teaching is about welcoming EVERYTHING and ANYTHING equally, without judging. You know, laying out the red carpet, listening to each guest, in case they have a message from beyond. It’s a welcomed, nurturing practice when things are fairly stable, and when something big is happening, I have to really condition these muscles for a workout of a lifetime, like this day.
The part of this practice that can be most difficult, is the non-judgmental piece. Not labeling any experience as good, bad or ugly; just experiencing what is happening, noticing, witnessing and being with, making space for all of it. Not always easy, huh? There is a place of strength and contentment that resides down deep inside of all of us to assist with this noticing. I visit this place regularly during my practice. It is the “I’m OK” part of you that resides within and without, independent of external circumstances. We all have this source of SELF. Maybe you have experienced it, you feel a deep seeded peace, love, bliss, and contentment even in the midst of chaos. This place is a rich source of support. At times in my life, I have needed to call on it more than others, although it has always been there. Vivid memories such as when my Dad died suddenly right before my wedding, during graduate school, through 2 colicky babies and now saying goodbye to my Mom. She is not dying, yes, I know, but she will no longer be 10 minutes away, in a physical location that is easy for her to be an integral part of my family’s life and upbringing.
The place that I have finally arrived at in the past few days, thank you Yoga, is snuggling up to the GIFT of non-attachment; a direct result of the welcoming and non-judgement that I have been practicing. The realization that my Mom and I are on this journey of life together. Yes we came together as mother and daughter, co-existing in this lifetime, independent of each other and WITH each other. There is a difference, a freedom and spaciousness. We have so many similarities, rough times in early life, our fathers both died right before our weddings, we had colicky babies (yes, I was her’s), we are natural caretakers, we bend, accommodate, and we are very dependable. We came together in this life to learn lessons from each other. I’ve tested her in ways that she probably could not even imagine. She helped me to become intimate with my inner strength of “ok’ness” when she didn’t even realize it. We have learned along the way to communicate, even the really hard stuff because the pay off is so sweet. We have laughed harder together than we have ever laughed with anyone else (we share a warped sense of humor). We have cried louder, deeper and have shared intense feelings. My greatest gift is that she has given me the deepest, most unconditional love I have ever known in my life, I’m lucky I get that from Nate too! We have shared anger, joy, heartbreak, confusion, rawness, vulnerability, and everything in between. She has been one of the greatest teachers in my life! I can see through the eyes of non-attachment, that we are both on this journey of life, at a crossroads, she is going in one direction and I in another.
It is from this place of non-attachment and non-duality (accepting both happy and sad) that I can let her go AND hold her deeply in my heart. I will miss her with every cell of my being, my heart breaking, experiencing unimaginable grief AND immense happiness for her! I want you to spread your wings Mom and fly like you have never know flight before. I want you to soar, dance, sing and become the beach bum that you long to be! Sink your toes in the sand, feel the warmth of the sun, the wind on your face and listen to the sounds of the ocean. Know that I’m wrapped around you in all of that, let’s visit often in our hearts. Thank you, Mom, for this wonderful journey and all of the gifts that I have received by being your daughter and the gifts yet to come……