Monday, October 29, 2012

don't grieve, anything you lose comes around in another form


Little did I know what the year would hold when I scribbled these words on a napkin on the first day of 2012.
I can’t say I’ve listened to Rumi’s advice of “don’t grieve”, but the latter portion is serving up daily support.
A reminder to look everywhere I go, eyes looking, heart opening to the possibility of this idea…..
What you lose today comes back in another form.
The flowers in my garden look like they are dead. They are brown and brittle, lacking any signs of their former vibrant life. The tulips come up early every spring and for several weeks they fill my heart with such simple joy. When they wither and die I feel a little sad. If only they could blossom year round, I occasionally think to myself.  
Letting go is not easy for me.
Yet they are burrowed deep in the earth, dead to my eyes, but some part of me trusts that come spring they will once again make their miraculous and beautiful appearance. Undoubtedly they will appear different than the year before. The size, shape, and shade of color will depend on the nourishment they received from the rain, sun, and such.
I love the fall season when the leaves put on a dazzling show for all to enjoy. The trees are adorned with red, gold, yellow, and orange leaves. What is it about a bright orange leaf on the ground that causes us to pause, take a longer look, tilt our head back and for a moment appreciate all that is right in the world.
The colors of the leaves, the way the light dances across the sky during the fall season make me swoon. Undoubtedly, when the trees are naked, standing in all their glory, I can’t help but feel a little sad. If only we had more time to witness the magic of the color of the fall season.
Letting go is not easy for me.
Yet the leaves that fall to the ground, the ones that rest on the bed of the earth in their dazzling colors will turn brown and brittle. They appear dead to me.
Yet each day I am seeing that they are not dead. Some leaves hold the seeds that will become future trees. Some leaves provide a home and nourishment for other life. All of them will decompose and contribute to the livelihood of future trees and plants.
And so it is with Nico Joseph Tessandori.  Our “hello-goodbye” baby boy.
The lines of his beginning and ending are a blur and for this I’m comforted, I’m thankful.
His beginning was not his birth. Nor was it day 120 when the Vedas say the baby in the womb receives his/her soul. Nor was it Nico’s conception.
Was his beginning the moment Andy and I dreamed him up? The moment we were a full, enthusiastic, outright, “hell yea we want to have a baby!”
Or was his beginning part of our parents beginning? Or our ancestors?
And his ending?  It’s all even more mysterious.
All I know is that he feels more and more real, more present with me each passing day. He lives on in my body, my mind, and most certainly my heart.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk says this in relationship to death….
“If you are locked into the idea of a separate self, you have great fear. But if you look and you are capable of seeing “you” everywhere, you lose that fear. I have practiced as a monk. I have practiced looking deeply every day. I see me in my students. I see me in my ancestors. I see my continuation everywhere in this moment. I have not been able to go back to my country in the past thirty years. I left Vietnam in order to call for peace, to stop the killing, and I was not allowed to go home by many succeeding governments. Yet I feel that I am there, very real. I don’t’ have that kind of painful feeling of a person being in exile because friends of mine go to Vietnam, and new monks and nuns are there. I see myself in them. I don’t think that I am not present in Vietnam right now, just as I do not think that I will cease to be someday.”
Nico lives on by the ways he has changed me as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
He lives on by the ways he has changed me as a teacher. While it’s certainly not clear for me, I know my trajectory as a teacher is changing and evolving each day.
Nico lives on by the ways he is serving, teaching, and healing others.
I lost count at 150 emails I’ve gotten from friends, family, and students. The majority of those were from other women and men sharing their story of loss with me. Many of them thanked me for “naming what it was they experienced.” Some expressed their regret in closing down during this time of being broken open. Nico’s story was helping them to bring closure to their own story.
A dear friend said this to me in an email, “I have been floating you through my mind in my yoga practice and tears have rolled down my cheeks as I imagine the pain that you and Andy are feeling. I have been angry at God and asked the Universe why? My own fear has showed up and I can tell you have a powerful teacher in your little one because his teachings are rippling out.”
Undoubtedly, I am sad that Andy and I didn’t get more time with our little one.
Letting go is not easy for me….
But each day I’m learning how to lean into letting go of “the Nico” I previously imagined.
Each and every day I practice letting go of the life I dreamed up with him.
Each and every day I keep my heart open to the lessons he is teaching me.
Each and every day I look around to see, hear, and feel Nico’s presence.
Each and every day I’m mustering up trust in the words of Rumi, that what we’ve lost will indeed come back around to us in another form.

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