‘Cause 2016 was a wee bit of a challenge.
It began with a great big new year’s bang on January 2 when I landed in the hospital for an emergency endoscopy. And that my friends was only the beginning.
This past year was fraught with personal health issues that forced me to step away from teaching. It also found me helping move my elderly parents into a senior living community. While facing the mild to severe health concerns of their generation. Not to mention lots of hiccups that occurred in between.
Furthermore, this is the second time I’ve helped to close down a parent’s home. A home well-lived and loved in. Trust me, it’s hellish.
Often I felt as if I were walking through an emotional minefield.
Any moment now as we carefully inspected a treasured item, deciding whether to pack-up and take with, give away, or toss, the potential for explosion was imminent.
Mostly, it was my mother and me doing the work. Hearts inextricably tied by the cord of our history. We attempted to keep my dad, just shy of 90, busy with tasks he could handle, or we’d still be there months later sorting through the threads of their lives. His arthritic grip tight, releasing nothing.
We laughed tears of joy and sorrow. My mother and I doing our best to stay focused on the job at hand, keeping our exhaustion at bay, in order to navigate this dangerous new terrain.
As a grown daughter each time I looked into my mother’s eyes I saw myself; my future, my legacy.
The saying, “growing old is not for the faint of heart,” happens to be spot on. You can’t stall or push back time’s passing. You can’t pretend things are not changing, frequently becoming more demanding and wearisome.
Well, you can pretend, but at some point it will all come crashing down. The land mine of memories will eventually erupt. Better to gear up. Put your brave heart on. Get up real close to the threat. Do what needs to be done.
Really, here’s the thing. At every threshold, every passage, each and every difficult encounter brings about the possibility of something new and different. Of course when you’re in the middle of the muck it feels futile to consider anything antithetic.
But I’m here to say from my experience, there is a moment when a breath, a pause, a gap opens up, and in that space grace enters. If you let it. And grace, well she bestows gifts of singularity.
Not always on my wish list. But gifts nonetheless. This past year of facing and dealing with my health issues has brought many awarenesses. Insights that I might not have ever realized.
In the same way, supporting my elders as they move dignifiedly into the next passage of their life was and remains a privilege.
Relationships are softer. More precious. Time silkier. More fragile. Even through the disruption of my life this past year, I have experienced friendship and love that continues to take my breath away.
Denise Hatch and I, colleagues and co-founders of mysticheartyogaretreats have deepened the bonds of our sisterhood in ways neither of us conceived. Grace simply waited patiently for us to invite her in.
The participants in our retreats and workshops have entrusted us with their spirits, minds, and bodies and are truly pilgrims of the mystic heart. We are filled with gratitude for who they are and what they have so freely given of themselves.
In Italy we now are blessed with many new friends and can’t wait to return in 2018. This last trip ignited a fire in me to learn the language of my ancestors. Listening to the musical flow of the Italian conversation brings inexplicable joy.
As we neared the close of this year my son got engaged! On Christmas Eve, my birthday. The best gift ever. My new “daughter-in-love” brightens a dark day by the purity of her smile alone. Their commitment to one another is a reminder that the bonds of love not only strengthen one’s foundation, but allows for authenticity. Vulnerability.
Life is a paradox, is it not? Truly the path for tantric yogis. Urging us to live life to its fullest. Accepting all that shows up on our plate for lunch, as the renowned Pema Chodron suggests.
We may presume a glimpse of the future, but the truth is 2017 remains a mystery. Meanwhile, no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, life as we’ve know it is forever altered. Change is a-coming whether we like it or not. Whether we’re ready for it or not.
So, it’s especially imperative that we keep to our practices. Shore ourselves up with that which nurtures and sustains. Build memories of love with family and friends. Go out and experience life. Now. Today. And everyday.
Denise and I have committed to each other and our mystic heart pilgrims to continue our travels. We’ve found it’s one of the most extraordinary ways to dive deeply into the richness of life.
Visiting different cultures and meeting the people. Eating local foods. Opening up to a vast array of customs. It’s how we learn to know one another. That we may loosen the chains of fear that grip us. Ultimately, that separate us.
We’re headed to Bali next. July 20-27, 2017. Where the beauty of the country and its people have been calling our mystic hearts for quite some time.
Please check out our site and consider whether this sojourn is for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. http://mysticheartyogaretreats.com/
May we join together in 2017 and support all beings in love, compassion, peace and joy.