Though I had been practicing on and off since 2005, it wasn’t until October, 2010, that I truly committed to yoga. I was in an extremely stressful and negative job, and I came to Vital to find my sanity. The summer of 2011 was particularly rough for me, so I bought a monthly membership. Sometimes, just walking into the studio and unrolling my mat was enough to tear down my fragile defenses. As I listened to what the universe was telling me through the dharma, my heart slowly began to open. I began to see that every pose, every breath, was a chance to heal. Micah has said that we need to ‘commit to healing.’ The act of healing, on the one hand, can seem to have a definitive end: you break your arm; eventually, the break closes. But there is the transformational side as well: your arm may heal, from a medical standpoint, but things are different now. Maybe it takes more focus to move it, maybe you work with the other arm more; whatever it is, there is a change. True healing is to move through and welcome this change for who you are now. And now. And now.
Another yogic tenet I have embraced is how the back body is the universe; that we lean into the back body for support we cannot see. This is connection. As I was – and continue – to heal, I have eventually begun to trust that the universe is there to support me. This was not easy for me; one who was always thinking about what is next and trying to control the outcome. But as I slowly gave in to this invisible support and truly committed to becoming whole again, I began to see the connections. Notably, these two:
On May 1st, we unexpectedly lost one of our dogs. He was undergoing chemo therapy for lymphoma at VRCC in Englewood. He had a horrible and tragic reaction to one of the chemo drugs, spiked a fever, went into shock, and died. Not having human children, I took this loss incredibly hard. The following Saturday, I knew I needed to attend Micah’s class, but I was hesitant. I was hesitant because even though I knew it would be best for my body, I wasn’t sure if my heart could take the dharma that I knew the universe would provide for me through Micah. Sure enough, after a few announcements, Micah began to talk about the loss of loved ones. She shared with us a parable about how there is no death, only matter shifting into energy. These were the words I needed to hear, and I continue to repeat to myself in my morning meditation.
But the connection doesn’t end there. In 2005, Pam Houston wrote a novel called Sight Hound, about her dog that died of osteosarcoma. I had read the book when it came out, and I remembered how deeply it had affected me then, when there was a healthy, if somewhat crazy, two year old dog by my side. I knew I needed to re-read the story after my dog’s passing, but again I was hesitant; not sure if my heart was ready for what was to come.
I finally opened the book, three days after Micah’s dharma on loss. On the first page of acknowledgements – which I very rarely read – one of our oncologists, Dr. Robyn Elmslie, and the VRCC hospital in Englewood were thanked. This was a sign to me that not only is everything connected, but that things in the universe are the way they are for a reason. I know that it was my practice that showed me these connections. Now, I trust in the back body -in the universe- completely, and I seek out connection wherever I am. It is this me, now, that has grown through the healing process, and who welcomes the transformation into what is next.
Thank you, Vital, for guiding me into this part of my life.