This is a picture of two people that don't exist anymore. Yesterday marked 13 years since George's physical departure after a protracted battle with leukemia. I've worked hard to heal from not just the pain of the loss, but also the wounds left behind from our often time dysfunctional relationship. Yep. That's something I've never spoken about, save a few dear friends, because there's a societal rule that dead people are elevated to a superhero perfection status. He had many great qualities and I adored him. I was proud to be his wife. Also true: he had anger management issues that I would have been better off without.
His death remains a perpetual paradox. I like the complicated nature of it, because it mimics what I find in other aspects of my life. Sometimes I miss him, love him and hate him in equal measure. So what? My healing work has taught me not to hide out from any of it. I welcome all the various emotions that run through me when I think of him. Which is often.
His death put me on a path of deep struggle for a while. Being a single mom and the head of a household was extraordinarily challenging. People often ask me how I got through. There's no answer. You just keep showing up day after day and time just passes. But, it changed me so deeply, that when I look at this picture, I realize the young woman next to him is just as long gone as he is.
I was liberated by his passing. I didn't want it. But that was the effect of it. I became completely autonomous and self-reliant in a way that I can't imagine would have been possible, had he lived. I got to witness what I am made of, I celebrate these qualities in myself and I have deep gratitude for the woman I have become.
Would I give it all back to have spared his children their pain in growing up without their dad? YEP. In a second with no hesitation.
That's my grief, as candidly as I have ever described it. Trauma is complicated. It's not linear and tidy the way society wants it to be. Instead, it's textured and layered. Full of heartbreak with unexpected silver linings interspersed. Things are not just one way. When we get our heads around that, any situation can transmute itself to be tremendously empowering.
Things are not just one way.
My perspective and response to the pandemic passes through this strainer every day. I can already itemize the things lost. There are likely to be many more. The upsides are just as readily obvious to me.
It's incredible to be drawing from the lessons and the wisdom of loving, losing and living without George. I share from my heart, hoping it will inspire or at least offer some food for your thought today.
I bet there are some really hard things you have been through that have had the unintended affect of helping you navigate your right now.
I write to you 4 Miles from New Rochelle where the National Guard has been deployed for containment. Please note, that whatever your attitude is towards the situation the world is in, your thinking will shift quickly when it pops up in your backyard. I am grateful that everyone at home is healthy.
Westchester County, my home for 20 years is now leading the country in Covid19 cases. I know dozens who are having symptoms, are isolating themselves, and cannot get tested. NYS is not yet testing anyone unless they can prove they have had direct contact with a person who is known to the DOH as a tested-positive person. I have loved ones, over the age of 60 in the containment zone. My son goes to school in the one mile radius. I kept him home, before Cuomo issued the order to his school to close for two weeks because of his history of asthma.
I call the Department of Health (both local and state) every morning. They contradict each other, seem disorganized, and have yet to issue a clear directive to small business owners in the area, other than wash your hands.
Our way of life has already shifted. As a family we have voluntarily cut out all unnecessary activities that involve more than just a couple of people. I have canceled travel. We have purchased a lot essentials to keep in the house.
I have had to make changes to my business to rapidly be able to offer virtual classes. I have decided to reduce max #s of in person classes even though that is a hit to my business financially, because I believe it is the ethical thing to do. My livelihood and my health both feel very much at stake.
It's interesting to compare the things that I was concerned with two weeks ago to what my mind is on now. Things can turn on a dime, huh? All of a sudden I am thinking ahead, trying to anticipate what needs and challenges we may have in the next few days and how to mitigate impact.
The other thing my mind is constantly on is how dire the need is for people to become more community-minded. And start thinking about the vulnerable groups in society. if we are going to make it out of this, we have to stop our obsession with ourselves and we must make difficult choices that are inconvenient for us in order to help everyone.
My medicine has been service and working with the expecting mamas in my community.
It is difficult to watch the divisiveness that has been sown for so many years in this country rear its ugly head in this situation, even though human lives are at stake. I foolishly believed that this would inspire people to come together, like the days after 9/11.
Instead what I am seeing is classic us versus them. People accusing each other of panic. One camp is concerned, the other in utter denial.
Yesterday, I approached a person affiliated with my business to speak about actions I thought we could partner on and he told me I was hysterical, and that this issue is manufactured by the media and the liberal left for Trump's third impeachment. Right. It's the left that shut the entire country of Italy down. Of course there's no real threat. SMH.
So life may get a whole lot more complicated and more uncomfortable before it gets better.
I included a pic of me panicking in case the panic police are roaming around my page today.
Before you comment, ask yourself is it true? necessary?useful? kind?
If yes, go for it.
So proud for Prana to be featured in the July edition of Westchester Magazine. We love our community and it’s so wonderful to be recognized for the work we are doing with expecting women, new moms and their families. Huge thanks to my amazing team!
Every woman deserves the dignity of their self-agency and the privilege of her experience. That is THE core value that Prana is built upon. We are here to provide women with education, resources, safe space, community and unconditional love. When it comes to a woman’s relationship to her fertility, birth choices, feeding options for her baby, where her baby sleeps, parenting styles, to stay at home or to go back to work, we engage in deep listening. We offer resources, only when we are asked, and we yield to her Inner Teacher every time, without judgement. To do anything other than this, is to engage the patriarchal constructs that we’ve been programmed into, and we’re NOT about that life anymore. Let’s start acting like it. Seek out or create a field way beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing and name it Modern Feminism. Invite your friends.
#thetimeisnow #feminism #pranaprenatalyoga
PS Thanks to my homeboy Rumi for the quote
Today’s self-care strategy is looking like ten minutes of this restorative pose in between teaching classes. As I was laying here exploring the possibility of getting bent out of shape because I have so much to do and so little time, I realized maybe I should rebel a little bit. So this is what me flipping the to-do list the bird looks like as I prioritize my well-being. I don’t feel like being frantic.
On some level, being stressed out requires our consent and participation doesn’t it? We obviously can’t control external factors like other people and how they behave. We’re powerless over certain circumstances in our lives (did you see the stock market this week?) We can choose to get worked up about all of it. Or another choice is to slow down, just for a few, and take a breath.
This post is a sign that you should close your eyes and enjoy several long, deep breaths!