What grief takes

Grief takes a lot. It steals away parts of who you are in a way that few things can. The heaviness of loss buries parts of me so deeply now that I am starting to wonder if they will ever see the light of day again.

I miss the lightness of being that I used to experience. The feelings of freedom that used to be a part of my Self. Peace of mind … a term that I never really thought about until recently. I miss that. I have always been someone who feels everything deeply and, at times, harshly. I internalize a lot and always have. Yet, as much as there has always been things that sat heavy with me, that also meant that I felt the highs just as much. Grief, and the depression born from it, has left me wondering if the ease I rarely feel now is always going to be this elusive.

Years ago, when I was teaching Yoga and fitness classes, when I was in a marriage that was falling slowly apart and I felt I was suffocating under the stress and transitory hell, I used to find peace in movement. I would stay after my last class of the day… it was 9:30 at night by the time the last of the people would be gone and I had the studio to myself. The rest of the recreation centre was almost empty… just the few lifeguards left and building workers. I knew I had until pm when they would come to close up and kick me out. That was my time for my freedom and my time to fly.

Sometimes during those times, I would turn off all the lights in the studio except for the dimmed recessed lights…press play on the drum-heavy, beat driven music that made my spirit move … turn up the volume until I could feel the vibrations… close my eyes…breathe…and fly… I would dance and move, my worries would fall away, the stress would pour out of me like the sweat that ran off my body. I would push myself or let myself go as I felt I needed. Sometimes tears would come or smiles, whatever needed to come out, would. Panting and exhausted, I would slow and eventually find my way to the floor… stretching and feeling the peace as the music still pounded in my body. The calmness inside, powerful and soft all at once.

Other times I would move and flow in vinyasa. Either rhythmic primal beats of music or utter silence depending on my mind… Yoga to unite and bring ease to both my mind and my body in a different way than the dance did. This dance different…fluid and soft with edges of strength and stamina…endurance in both flexibility and ability. Feeling my muscles as they supported and held my body is gruelling postures, the strength resonating from the inside out. Embracing the softness of muscles as they found release and ease in the yin as I sought and found that opposite shore of my practice.

Both opposing rituals brought me the same calming. The same lightness that I needed to be able to balance the heaviness in my life.
I look back to the last three years and find a handful of moments that I’ve experienced that, within them, I have found that freedom. Only a handful. Fleeting and so loosely grasped. Gone so quickly and so spontaneously found. Enough though… enough to let me see, when I really look at them, that the ability to feel that is still there.

Grief clouds and eclipses so much, and hope is a casualty of it that still manages to hold on… however tenuously.


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