Sometimes I feel like I’m in continuous self-help mode. The past few weeks have been rough as I make my through my first holiday season without my mom. I’ve come face-to-face with doubt, negative self-talk and ludicrous stories from years past that I had thought I worked through, but alas, they are still there…lingering.
I wish I could say that the holiday season has been filled with lots of laughter and joy, and in some ways it has, but to be very honest here, my heart hurts. I know it will get easier in time and I also hear the first holiday season is the hardest, but I had not imagined it being like this. I’m taking it one day at a time, allowing myself to feel every emotion as it swells up inside of me, sometimes almost choking me, and work through each passing wave with deep intention on my breath. Much like my friend Holly from The Urban Yoga Den, I recognize that these emotions do not define me. I am not my story. Rather, they are descriptive of where I am, right now, on my journey through life. Connecting through my practice to an inner light and joy, understanding that I am a happy person despite these feelings, helps me to proceed ahead.
The hardest day so far was Christmas Eve. I was preparing to teach, as I have done for the last few years on this day, and started going through some old playlists. As I pulled up my playlist from last year I found myself transported back to this same time, same place last year as I prepared to teach this same class. I recalled sitting in front of the class, preparing to speak and this random thought that passed through my mind–a premonition that last year was the last Christmas Eve my mom would be with us. I remember getting emotional as I was speaking, but at that time, I shook it off as some random dramatic thought. Pushing it aside, getting on with class, moving on to the next thing, I let it go.
Fast forward to this year and I was brought back to that place, to that premonition, to those feelings, as I prepared for class and I completely lost it. I sat balling, just letting all of the emotions run through me, feeling my heart heave with every sob, wondering if I’d actually make it to class on time. I did. I showed up teary-eyed, but grateful for the friendly faces I encountered and the students that took time to share their practice that day. During Savasana, I cried a little while the students rested. I thought of my mom through that whole class, dedicating it to her memory and to the love I have for her. I shared my feelings with a teacher friend also at the studio that day. He reminded me to “know you are loved.” I cried then too, but not from sadness, but instead of gratitude for the reassurance. Thank you.
I left class and continued to get ready for the holidays. It was a fun but difficult time. I cried a lot. I got really emotional, nasty at times, resisting the weekend ahead. I rested. I got on with my day. The rest of the weekend was lovely, but also a blur and I am just now starting to feel like myself again.
What gets me through? That reminder that I am not these emotions and these stories do not define me. Although I feel as if my entire root system has been taken out from under me this holiday season, I recognize that I am connected to something much more brilliant than sorrow and sadness. With every passing wave of emotion, I see a new layer of healing taking place. I breathe and allow the space to fill with awareness. I continue to work on opening my heart. I continue to practice.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. May there be peace for you, your family and friends, and most certainly for this world.
How do you work through difficult situations? Do the holidays conjure up uncomfortable emotions for you? Do you block them out or choose to work through them?