Beauty and Terror


I love this quote.

It ALLOWS, makes the space for allowing it all, and for, in the allowing, letting it all be okay. Worthy of investigation . Worthy of feeling and exploring the feeling whether it makes sense or is popular or whatever.

It doesn’t matter. No feeling is final.

I’m having a bad day.

And a good day.

Investigating the reality of a lot of feelings that are not final but ARE and are ok.

As I drove to supervision for my grief groups today, frantically scratching at the rash that appeared over night all over my neck, I found myself crying. Stealth cry, sudden over-whelm. Except it wasn’t that sudden, not really. I had been feeling ready to cry since yesterday but I couldn’t figure out exactly why. I knew it had something to do with just finishing my penultimate weekend of teacher training. Of doing a practice teach that I was so prepared for and then having an asthma attack in the middle of it (nerves, no big deal, but still….). The training has been so awesome and I will miss it. Next weekend is the end, all the tests (which I am nervous about, which is probably the reason for the new rash), and well…I have loved the experience and the people and it makes me sad that it is ending. The things I have learned about myself and about yoga have been invaluable, and the feeling of being involved in something so intense was, well, intense! And stimulating and exciting, and life isn’t like that much for me. It definitely makes me want to go for things, a lot of fear has been dropped.


(There’s always a however. Why is that? Balance I guess)

When the tears finally came today the reason was clear within about a minute. Driving to my grief group, right? Here’s the thing. That particular terror is always right behind every beauty for me. And I have so many people I love and who love me and who think this whole yoga thing is awesome and support me and, and……I hit that hopeless feeling, that wall of despair. Because I can’t tell Tom. He’s not supporting me and loving me through this. That NEVER goes away.

The truth is that no feelings are final…they just constantly change. Yes, you move through them, gratefully so. But there are some areas of feeling that are pretty damn permanent, at least for me, and this is that area. How do I find the true joy in any thing….any accomplishment, any idea, any thought. I have hope for the future but I dwell  in despair, which is a hopeless feeling. I’m learning about letting go of the past, of non-attachment and acceptance and surrender in all I do. Abhyasa/Vairagya. Practice detaching. Obviously (the rest of) my lifes work. But that terror, that horror sometimes still feels as fresh as if it happened yesterday, and certainly can throw me into despair at the slightest provocation.  Like today.

Now. What to do. No feeling is final, so I get to work.

First, I do NOT call the studio and bow out of the final weekend because I “have gotten all I wanted from the program” and the actual 200 Certification “means very little to me “(because I can’t share it with Tom). I can acknowledge the feeling and allow it, and then I can resist the impulse to act on that feeling

I show up at my grief group and talk to one of my co-leader that is also a widow so she GETS it. That helped a lot. And I talked to my sponsor, who doesn’t get it but offers me other ideas about pulling myself from the hole. I cleaned my kitchen.  I spent time talking to a sponsee, out of my head and into helping someone else. I ate ( a big deal, NOT hungry!) I’m writing now and probably will finish this later because I am going to a meeting at 7 pm followed by an open meditation and pranayama group at 8:30. And I am writing this,at this point not knowing whether I will publish or not. But I need to write this out, to start moving this feeling from final to passing. I’m still in it, now. I’ve had respite with all of the above work, but its been a long-ass day.

And now I have to leave….

And I am back home, have been back. But found that some chocolate therapy and Good Wife therapy also helped. As did googling all sorts of Yin yoga workshops that will be happening before the end of 2015 and the feasibility of my attending any of them. Because, of course, I will get that 200 hour certificate that I have been working toward. And it will enable to me to attend other workshops (or not, who knows).

And I will revel in and appreciate that I did a hard thing a brave thing on my own. And allow that to aid me in doing other hard and brave things on my own, because the fact is that I am on my own. I am alone.

Not literally alone. I am blessed with friends, an embarrassment of incredible people in my life. I am also clear and sober and capable on my own, whether I like it much or not. I dream of lying on the couch at the end of the day and telling Tom about my adventure. Hell, I dream of lying on the couch talking to him about Game Of Thrones instead of talking out loud to myself, like some demented cat lady sans cats.


Abhyasa/Vairagya…Sutra 1:12.  The mental modifications of the mind are restrained by practice and non-attachment. I get the practice; the non attachment is a lot harder to deal with. According to Patanjali they flow together…one follows the other.

So I keep practicing. I practice my yoga. I practice my sobriety. I practice my life; my life is practice. And non-attachment has come, from a lot of things.

But I’m always going to want to tell Tom. I like that, I accept that.

I seem to want to write it all here too. “No feelings are final“. Space is allowed.

I’m grateful for this space.




Add yours →

  1. Thank you for making me a blubbering mess in the best way possible. I don’t even know what to say at this point. It can’t be a coincidence that I decided to play my Spotify Ashtanga Vinyasa playlist as I sat down to e-mail this morning. I NEVER use that playlist to work to. And here you are. In your honest and authentic beauty.
    I can’t imagine the pain you must feel at times – it wrecks me to try to imagine. Then, I read this line:
    “And I will revel in and appreciate that I did a hard thing a brave thing on my own.”
    You do brave, wonderful things all of the time. It gives me hope in my own days that are good and terrible, too.
    What a great way to start my day, Michele. Thank you. Thank you so much. xo

  2. Well, I sure am glad you decided to publish this one :).

    I’m not a widow, and by no means can I even begin to understand the strength it takes to make it through such an experience. But you sure hit the nail on the head in regards to that lonely feeling of having no one to share those little moments of tragedy and triumph in our lives. I find myself feeling this way often, and I know it’s because I’m still getting used to being single, after having grown accustomed to my ex as my shoulder to cry on.

    I guess I feel super lucky to have stumbled upon the sober blogosphere when I did. Reading posts like yours remind me that it’s perfectly normal to feel lonely, and I’m loving the idea that it’s not PERMANENT. The feeling waxes and wanes. Thank you for writing this, and for reminding me that we are all a work in progress. 🙂

  3. Somehow I’ve gotten through almost 35 years without losing someone close to me, so I don’t pretend to relate to that kind of loss. I imagine I’ll feel similarly when my mom goes – what is the point of achievement if she can’t be proud, what is the point of frustration, joy, big news if I can’t tell her about it, etc. But what did resonate is that hitting an emotional wall feeling when I get some kind of anxiety attack. I have performance anxiety and deep down, the only thing that has really held me back from teaching and speaking is that mid-performance asthma issue. And every time it happens I just want to cry for a couple days. Because it’s so so frustrating. And there’s really no way to get rid of it. Well, beta blockers help. But sometimes life is so overwhelming that acute anxiety – like an attack – is inevitable, which just sends one deeper into the funk. My only advice is to just ride it out. Wait for the next natural high and that will put everything back in perspective.

  4. I was just reading something and a quote stuck with me. “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to say?”

    I always wish that we could sit down for a three day tea and talk about all the things we think about. I love the part about practice. I have been really reveling in being a beginner: maybe even a beginner for life. How it all really is just practice: each day practice. The pressure it relieves to NOT have to have it all figured out.

    Think about how boring it would be if you aced your first yoga classes. How you have this great story of bravery and asthma to tell forever. How because you are interesting you don’t just get all the vanilla pudding things. 🙂

    No feeling is final. Beautiful. The hardest and best parts are that everything keeps moving and changing- which is why, I guess, it all take so much practice. It occurs to me that we don’t really have to so much let go of the past as we have to not hold on to it. Attachment as a part of yourself, but not apart from yourself. It makes me think about how hard it must be to have a marriage be not final, but finished. It makes me honor your love and your loss.

    Congratulations on doing this wonderful thing for you. For the bravery it takes to do it on your own. For being so open with your heart on this blog so that I can share your wisdom, so that I can know that there are big hearted courageous women out there in this world like me- so it makes it safe and OK for me to put my heart out there too. Much love. 🙂

    • whoa.
      thank you, and I love this:
      “Ir occurs to me that we don’t really have to so much let go of the past as we have to not hold onto it. Attachment as a part of yourself, not apart from yourself” That is lovely and hits me hard in that big old yes place. I keep re-reading that and see more and more that, most days I don’t hold on, it just is, just a part. And then when i do, when something makes me grab because it is what I WANT….then I get to practice acceptance and surrender and non-attachment; all the groovy things i have been reading about, that are so hard but less and less foreign and more and more comforting.
      Jumbly thoughts…but good. And thank you. All us big hearted and courageous women have to stick together, have to hold each others hearts safe as we risk their breaking.
      It’s ALL practice

    • ok…
      i just sent a not to another amy that i thought was you but maybe not?
      anyway, got 4 posts from you in one day in my inbox….read them all and attempted to comment and your site just delete everything i write!
      Know this….you have my support, i will be holding you close the next few days. i think your instincts about searching out in real life people is spot on, and sometimes we have to ask for what we want.
      Cryptic comment on my own blog to you…
      my main comment is,dammit, i can’t comment!
      Maybe it can be fixed?

  5. Not to minimize your grief in any way, but you could get a cat. Says the CCL with three cats. I love yin yoga. Congrats on your teacher training! Awesome accomplishment.

  6. This too shall pass. I believe that was Frost, though my mom said it so often I thought she owned it… Rilke’s is prettier though. Beauty and terror. They’re two sides of the same coin really. That coin being life.

    Our best days will always be our worst days. Because we will be facing them without those we hold most dear.

    Was flipping through The Prophet the other day and the book opened to his section On Pain. I was missing my mom so much, and my aunt-my second momma-it was her death anniv. and the piece made me laugh and cry at the same freaking time. Talk about crazy woman. I’ll google it for you.

    I get so mad and so sad that I can’t just talk to them anymore. And then I get grateful bc I know through signs and winks they’re still here, it’s just different, and then it’s melancholy, and then it’s just another day in the life. This new life without, but with. Beauty and terror both. At the same time.

    Beautiful post. Thank you for hitting publish. I needed it.

    Tom was a lucky man to have you. ❤

    • Thank you. I was lucky.
      It’ s hard to sit with the different….but that feeling continues to grow, that it’s just different. Living in that middle space between the beauty and the terror, like Amy said above…like you know, it takes a lot of courage sometimes, on the days when the terror abides.
      And our best days also being our worst, oh yes. Such a strange thing to try and express, but that says it simply and clearly.
      I get tired of the never being happy enough, never laughing hard enough, the whole “one hand giveth, the other takes away” bullshit. Truth is that the equanimity I find in yoga, the attempting to stay in that middle place, is just what I need and probably why I am so attracted to it. The philosophy makes sense to me and the practice brings me peace and glimmers that the middle place is just fine.
      ah, but “this too shall pass”….

  7. And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.” And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

    • WOW!
      beautiful…thank you for that.
      I haven’t read the prophet in years, perhaps I will revisit.
      “and could you keep your heart in wonder at the DAILY miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy..”
      that is so beautiful. Abiding in the now, the moment, it’s all a miracle. It’s a wonderful thing to think about.

      Thank you so much for this.
      And here’s something I read recently that I thought you might like…that also speaks to me of the daily miracle, the here and now, and what we are called to aligns nicely, I think

      “Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right.” But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see. ” Victoria Safford


  8. Want too meet up in Vancouver for a yin workshop? It’s Bernie Clark.

    I’m loving teaching yin. It completely embodies how I want to be. Still, but still aware and alter. Free. Calm. Joyful.

    Each week is like a small secret celebration. I feel like I’m contributing to something bigger than me.

    Yoga is truly transforming. As is an open mind. I hope you find the peace to love your achievement on your own! I’m sure Tom is watching every asana.


    • I am seriously looking at one at the end of August…..
      but there might be other available times!
      That really is my next step…so the answer would be a big yes if you mean it.

      • Let me know. I definitely want to go.
        I looked at the whistler retreat, but it’s sold out. I’m going to go next June.
        If you do plan to go August 24-30 I can make that work. It would be great to “know” someone in the class and meet you!

      • ok…

        i just have to get through this weekend without making any other decisions other than to study (and here I am! lol). I will also talk with my yin teachers about it. That would be so great!

      • Yes. Finish what you are doing and we will see what’s next!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: