Tuesday, October 16, 2012

my story of loss + intentions for healing

One week ago today, Andy (my husband) and I found ourselves in what felt like an impossible predicament. Andy was adorned with every token of good luck we’ve accumulated over our 14 year relationship.

In his pants pocket was our “magic rock”, a rock we picked up together on a small island in Texas. In his shirt pocket was a small cross the reads “Jesus Christ, a token from his father’s funeral one month ago. Around his neck he wore mala beads that were blessed by my teacher. On his forehead, a light dusting of ashes from a sacred fire that’s been burning in India for over 500 years.

Yet no amount of good luck, no magic potion, no token, no talisman could change these four words uttered by the doctor…..

“Unfortunately, there’s no heartbeat.”

In an instant, our world was rocked.  Our lives forever changed. Our precious baby boy was gone. My mind racing, “No it can’t be” while my body was already accepting that yes, it was indeed true. Dreadfully true.

A few days ago I found myself flipping through an old journal. I found these words scribbled, “Sometimes when our minds and bodies are shattered by life, it’s only the spirit that can knit us whole and keep us alive.”

My body feels defeated. My mind feels shattered. My heart, broken.

I’ve screamed. I’ve sobbed. I’ve stomped. I’ve shaken my fist at God more than once. Yet, even in my greatest moments of sorrow I can hear the quiet whisper of my spirit telling me I am not beaten, shattered, or damaged.

I pause. Draw my attention inward. Take a breath. And feel the peaceful, perfect presence of my spirit. Untainted, never defeated, always pure perfection. Then the reality of my loss sets in and I sob some more. Tis the way of grieving, right?

I’m blessed to have a team of teachers around me willing to support me. I’ve decided to take two weeks off from teaching to begin this journey to healing. To do so I will take a retreat unlike any other retreat I’ve ever taken.

Over the course of several years I’ve taken a variety of retreats….

Silent retreats, business retreats, retreats for cleansing, retreats to close out the year, and retreats to greet and set intentions for the New Year.

Never have I taken a retreat to grieve. Who wants to do that? Yet here I find myself with a complete knowingness that there is no way around this loss I’ve suffered. I must go straight through the darkness. The loss, anger, sorrow, and fear if I am to find my way to the light.

I’m armed with my intentions and a plan for grieving. It includes twice daily meditations, holding yoga asanas (poses) while literally letting go, self-massage, therapy, juicing, walking, reflecting, journaling, connecting with family and friends, reading poetry, taking long hot baths, talking to teachers and mentors, snuggling Andy and our dogs, and more.

I’m one day into my grieving retreat and I can tell you it’s been the most emotional and intense work I’ve ever done. I’ve gone through more tissues than you can imagine, burned nearly an entire candle, drank gallons of hot tea, walked my doggy’s legs off, and savored a delicious white chocolate truffle.

I can already say without a doubt, this is the most important work I’ve done in my entire life. It truly feels as if all the “work” I’ve ever done was just prep work for this moment. The trainings, the workshops, the retreats, the reflecting, the lessons, the learning, the practices, the tools, the yoga, the meditation….

All for this moment right now. I don’t intend to let any of it go to waste.

If you’ve read this far you might be wondering what all this had to do with yoga? Yoga is the full expression of the moment, right here, right now (atha). Yoga is being with the full range of life’s experiences and being honest about all of it (satya). Yoga is reflecting on that which presents itself in your life (swadhyaya). Yoga is coming up with a plan to move forward and taking action (tapas). Yoga is trusting that even in times of turmoil God, The Universe, The Divine (whatever you want to call it) has your back (ishvara pranidhana).

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. I am deeply appreciative. My heart goes out to you and any loss you’ve ever encountered. May we all learn from the past and move forward with a fierce and loving heart.

with love,

{I sent this email out this morning to people on our Barefoot Works newsletter list. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming in the sweetest of ways. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.}


Adamcfi said...

Sharon and Andy,
We have been there not once but twice. We can sympathize with how your feeling. Unfortunately I don't know any magic words to help aside from your not alone.
Adam and Akemi Stoughton

Beryl said...

Sharon, I'm a friend of Holli Powell who referred me to your blog. If you need anyone to chat with who has 'been there' I invite you to contact me. I share my own story of loss here: http://www.berylaynyoung.com/illuminate/bellas-story/ and I also contribute to the amazing online magazine Still Standing: http://www.stillstandingmag.com Thinking of you and your family during this incredible hard time. If you need anything please feel free to reach out and contact me. xo.