I entered this summer thinking that I would be taking a much-needed reprieve from work, responsibility, creativity and was fully committed to the idea of spending the summer pool-side with my family and a pile of good books. The first book (and what become my last book) on my list was Michael Singer's latest, The Surrender Experiment.
I wasn't even twenty pages into the book before life started to take a hard right turn.
The premise of the book is to surrender (hence the title) to what the universe/God/Love is asking of you and then to go do it. I read it, cover-to-cover in one sitting.
I put the book down, looked up at the sky, rolled my eyes, and settled in to what would become 60 days of radical surrender.
Divorce is horrible. And unfortunately, it's even more terrible for our children. This week, one of my students posted on my online forum asking for help. Her tween daughter is unhappy which means she is unhappy. My student is newly divorced and their entire lives have been upended. Once having lived in the expansive stretch of a McMansion, now living in a tiny two-room apartment. Her daughter complains about the apartment, the clothes, the new life. The mom feels guilty and ashamed and is grasping for anything she can do to help her daughter feel safe. Feel loved. Feel like it's all going to be okay.
I remember what this was like. I remember that first year, living in my little house. I remember the tears, night after night, as I tried to put my inconsolable daughter to bed. I remember her fury and her heartbreak.
Let me be clear: I was fortunate. One of the lucky ones. I was young, pretty, fit and already stretchy when I entered my first class. Even though I was incredibly self-critical, I was able to tolerate (barely) my mind and body for an hour. It wasn't excruciating to look at myself in the mirror. I was nowhere near perfect, but I definitely was within the "profile" of the yoga-type-person.
But, that just isn't the case for many of us. Some of us are older, more rigid. Some of us are hurt or sick. Some of us are carrying so much weight that even sitting hurts. Some of us are carrying so much shame, that a mirror is simply too much to bear.
If this sounds familiar, I want you to know, that yoga is not lost to you.