The Urban Yoga Den

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Be My Valentine February 11, 2014

Wilco2July09It’s amazing how far from my own heart I can wander.  And not even know.  Until a massage therapist hunts me down and kindly reunites us.

“Come back to your heart, Holly.”

The heart does not go anywhere! It’s right there, in my chest; it’s right there, with my head; it’s there, around and within my home; there, all over my entire life.  ‘Tis I that roams far, far away.  So far that, when I look back, all I see is a wall on the horizon.

“Ah, yes – there’s your heart.  Let’s just put that right…back…in…here…where it belongs.”  (Says my body-worker, while chanting warm OMs into my chest).

My chest, arms, elbows and hands are still tingling from today’s massage session – when my heart and I were reintroduced.  “I remember you,” I said.  My heart just smiled and wiggled its way into my rib cage.  “Please don’t worry if I cry,” I told my brave therapist.  The sobs came.  Sobs lingering in the physical memory of my oldest heart breaks.  Sobs freshly stifled during the management of today’s repeatedly broken heart.

*  *  *

DadValentineOutside(2014)My father’s mind is failing.  And my heart is falling to pieces.  To stay on track with the tasks I handle for him?  All I can do is leave my heart behind.  To appear strong and able?  I stray away from the feelings and get lost in the to-do lists.

This approach to “managing” emotions is definitely taking a toll.  That wall on the horizon can feel definitively divisive at times.  Yet I remain devoted to my yoga, my Chakra work and my meditation, which – at the very least – keep me aware and open.

My outdoor practices rock my world.

Standing firmly near frozen swampy ground with the sun shining on my face, I inhale and envision my stability on this earth (1st Chakra), my fluidity in water (2nd) and my powerful inner fire (3rd Chakra).  I exhale and ask nature: “Please take away anything that impedes the integrity of my roots (1st), relations (2nd) and identity (3rd).  Thank you for taking this from me.”  Eventually, I feel an empowered foundation from my feet, into my legs, up through my hips and pelvis, and into my belly.

Then, I move into the heart (4th), throat (5th) and brow point (6th).  I stretch my arms out to the sides and inhale, “May my heart be filled with faith; may my voice be filled with love; may my mind be filled with clarity.”  On the exhale, I envision the faith, love and clarity being shared with the world.  I might close the practice with a few OMs, or, with some quiet time to simple observe what arises within.

I am grateful for my willingness, commitment and action toward self-care and wellness practices.  I stick with these routines despite my feeling of overwhelm from the seemingly insurmountable responsibilities I hold.  Therefore, rejuvenation and healing are always accessible.

If I was not able to feel my heart awaken during a massage session, there’d be a big problem.

*  *  * 

DadValentineInside(2014)When I came home from today’s appointment, I found a Valentine’s Day card from my dad in the mail.  The man does not miss a beat in certain areas.  I am thankful for the days when he is clear, present and able.  I am grateful for the days that I am patient, tolerant, compassionate and kind.

But loving?  My god.  It’s been a long time since I have felt “loving” toward my father.  Certainly not because I don’t love him!  Lord knows, he was my superhero growing up, and became my best friend in adulthood.  I relied on him more than a grown daughter should (although some say it was a completely normal amount of enabling that he lent me…).

And now I’m trying to show up for him.  My dad.  The love of my life.

So, to get through the times that his memory loss saddens me horribly, or his demented lashings hurt me deeply, I turn off “loving daughter” and turn on “responsible adult.”  To get through frustrating interactions with the institutions and people related to his troubles, I replace “emotional family member” with “Power of Attorney.”

I become exhausted and depleted.  My heart fades further into the distance.  And I’m not sure how long I can last like this.

*  *  *

“Hello?  Holly?  This is your heart.  I’m way over here.  Can you please come home?  Please let me back into your life, your waking moments, your dreams, your hopes, your hurts, your fears, your world.  Please – will you be my Valentine?”

“Yup.  Forever.  Yours.”  (She says, looking down at her feet, sorry that she’d ever left.)

Thanks for reading, y’all.  OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

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Wild Is The Wind: A Story Of Heartbreak, And True Love April 19, 2013

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.
Let me fly away with you.
For our love is like the wind.
And wild is the wind.
Give me more than one caress.MagnoliaSun2Colorful(Apr13)
Satisfy this hungriness.
Let the wind blow through your heart.
For wild is the wind.
You touch me – I hear the sound of mandolins.
You kiss me – with your kiss, my life begins.
You’re spring to me, all things to me.
(Hmmm…)
Don’t you know you’re life itself?
Like a leaf clings to a tree,
Oh my darling, cling to me.
For we’re creatures of the wind.
And wild is the wind…so wild is the wind.
(“Wild Is The Wind” ~ arranged/performed by Nina Simone)

* * *

I used to think I’d sing this song at my wedding.

Decades ago, when I first heard “Wild Is The Wind,” I believed that true love should feel wild. That together, my lover and I would feel a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

These days, I’m not so sure about that formula for partnership. And, two painfully broken engagements, a few messy breakups and one recent heartbreak later, I’m not sure there will ever be a wedding to sing at.

But I am sure of this – true love IS a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

* * *

This week was a doozy. The world watched bombs and victims and heroes and villains. In the midst of that tragedy, I lost a love to the truth.

We knew each other in high school. Twenty years later, we landed in jury duty together. We dated off and on for the next 11 years, with gaps in between of one, two, even six years. Each phase ended the same way – him saying that he just can’t settle down, and me saying goodbye…until the next time we were drawn together again.

Talk about wild.

Deep in my heart, I wished, “Some day…” Some day he’ll have a change of heart; and I’ll sing “Wild Is The Wind” at our wedding.

Actually…nope. Not gonna happen.

Without getting into the details or timeline or psychology of it all (I’m sure you’ll make your own assumptions and draw your own conclusions), let’s just say – it’s over. Earlier this week, he told me that he is unavailable on more than one level. He told me some truths that hurt deeply. He told me, once and for all, that he can never see me again.

I sense that this time around, it’s really over. Because after all these years, I am finally growing to want what’s best for me, and, I have finally gained the tools to accept the truth and move on. This week, I listened deeply; I thanked him for his honesty; and I said goodbye.

But my heart is still feeling a bit ouchy. I’ve lost a friend. I’ve lost a lover. I’ve lost a magical story. But y’know what? It’s time to let go.

* * *

Today, quite by chance, I heard “Wild Is The Wind.” During deep relaxation, at the end of a much-needed energizing and strengthening yoga class. A class that relieved my mind of the week’s challenges, and fueled me for a productive and present afternoon.

Then I heard those first beautifully ominous notes of the song, and knew I was in for a good cry.

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.

I exhaled a silent sob. Because he can’t. He can’t love me.

Give me more than one caress.

This line made me a little squirmy. But I continued to let the tears flow as the music washed over me.

Satisfy this hungriness.

WhiteCameliaNora(Apr13)And all of the sudden it hit me – no human being could ever satisfy my hungriness.

Shiva popped into my mind. I know this might seem goofy, but I sometimes dedicate popular love songs to god instead of a man, a dream, a wish. And who better than Shiva, who has accompanied my journey through a million births, lives and deaths over the past 47 years?

You kiss me – and with your kiss, my life begins.

My silent sobs were replaced with soft smiles.

You’re spring to me, all things to me. Don’t you know you’re life itself?

A resounding “yes” struck my heart.

I continued to happily embrace and breathe in the life force behind our eternal cycle of time, the prana of life itself. The renewing power of Shiva.

After resting, I rose up, reborn. I walked out into a particularly breezy day.

Let the wind blow through your heart.

Today I heard “Wild Is The Wind” with fresh ears. I heard it as a song about the deepest devotion that exists. The purest Bhakti Yoga in my heart. The true love between my higher power and me.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.