Are You Missing Your Life?
When my mother died in 2005, I grieved deeply. Seven years later my son Alex died, casting me into mourning again, a mourning deeper than I believed possible. I realized that during those seven years Alex had been there! Yet in my grief, I’d been so focused on what I’d lost that I had been missing what I still had. That was an excruciating insight.
It’s easy to look back with perfect clarity and understanding, but that wasn’t the end of it for me; I’m doing it still.
Sadness is the culprit. It washes over me in waves, throwing me off balance, casting me into the drink. (No, not that drink. You know; the deep waters of despair.) Recently I came to know how to banish fear but I haven’t yet figured out how to deal with sadness.
When Alex died, I was determined that I would not let my grief destroy me, or turn me into a shell of a person, as I knew it had the power to do. It is in the depths of despair that we find our solid ground, that place within us that is the source of our strength and resolve. How do we maintain that grounded stance throughout the long aftermath of a tragedy?
The answer to this question came from something I’d observed in my yoga practice.
When I started practicing yoga, I was hopelessly inflexible and weak. Eventually, I began to experience incremental improvements in flexibility and strength. I persisted through the early days because I had a goal to reach optimum health in mind, body and spirit, and I realized that learning how to do yoga was a lifelong process.
It occurs to me that one could approach the aftermath of a tragedy this way. We can regard the happy moments, however small, as indications of our progress on the path of healing. We can deal with the times of sadness the way we handle the yoga positions that we haven’t yet mastered. Sometimes we struggle until our muscles tremble; sometimes we surrender into child’s pose. It’s imperative that we keep moving so we don’t become so trapped in our sadness that we miss the happy moments sprinkled throughout even the most difficult of times.
Most of us are visited by tragedy at one time or another, and when we are, sadness and fear take up residence in our hearts. But the real tragedy is to miss our lives because we’re peering into the future in fear or gazing into the past in sadness.
Has grief blinded you to the beauty that remains in your world? Are you missing your life?
Photo by Lori Gosselin