“Remember that, no matter what our circumstances, we are always free to be present and to love.” Jack Kornfeld
This quote is resonating for me so strongly today
As are these “curated” comments I made in a post last year at this time. Quoting myself? Yep, my year- ago- me.
(updates/comments in italics added today)
“December 20 and 21 mark the Winter Solstice this year. Well, every year, actually.
The shortest day and longest night of the year.
Many Christian Churches hold a service of grief and remembrance on this night. They are called, alternately, Longest Night Services or Blue Christmas Services.
I haven’t attended a service since then (the year after Tom died), but the other day (well, about a month ago) I happened to be at the church that Tom and I attended for years and I found myself asking if they were having a service. They were, this Sunday night (well, tonight actually)
I feel like I want to go; I’m not sure why this year…..because, as hard as I try, I have to acknowledge that I do get sad, I do feel grief, and since I no longer drink those feelings away, or shunt them to the side, the idea of acknowledging them in a safe environment with others seems enticing.
I picture myself in the service, in the same church where we got married, where he sang in the choir for years, where his memorial service took place. The place is haunted for me, and forever will be, and I wonder again why I want to go.”
For an example of how much things can change in one year, how we all can drastically change, read on.
Because I am going to the service this year, tonight. But when I asked if they were having the service about a month ago, I spoke directly to my friend Pastor Louise, who leads that service and posited the idea that I might be involved in some way.
UNTIL this past Wednesday when she called me and asked me if I’d like to lead a guided meditation in the midst of the service.
Right? That’s what I said.
And of course I turned her down. What possible meditation could I offer these people? What, on GRIEF? On the feeling of being alone in the midst of everyone else’s joy and celebration? And I have only just recently gotten every serious about my own meditation practice, so I wouldn’t even know where to begin, for god’s sake!
STOP! (Imagine the screeching of a needle on an LP, SCCRREEEEEEEE!!)
I said YES.
Without hesitation, or even much thought. It felt exactly right, and I was open to it. I knew that the work I have been doing on myself this past year would translate into a meaningful meditation for others. I had led a small meditation for a Samhein celebration, and I drew on a central part of that, and then planned around it. I wrote the meditation and I’ve been practicing it (as well as honing it to 10 minutes!). It’s filled with loving-kindness and compassion. I even got one Sanskrit word in, as well as referred to God and quoted Jesus! LOL… SCORE! I am nervous but excited and so willing to be of service in this way. And I just found that Kornfeld quote and added it in, at the end of the meditation. Yeah. We can always love, right? We can show up no matter what.
You all know me, grief is my thing. (Does that sound really weird? Ah, well…) I have often spoken about being uniquely qualified to help others in grief, just as I am as an alcoholic. It’s a blessing and a curse, always. I wouldn’t be able to if Tom hadn’t died, yet if there is ANY slight meaning to be prised from the horror of his death, it is that I am willing to go out there and offer service. It doesn’t give any meaning to his death, but it has helped me find meaning in my on-going life.
And I did yoga teacher training with the back-of-the-mind hope that somehow, someway, I could connect the grief/yoga/meditation dots for someone else, just as they had connected for me.
Oh, yeah! I almost forgot! That same day that Pastor Louise asked me to lead this meditation? That morning I got put into the teacher trainee class rotation at the studio I go to. It won’t be often, there are others in rotation, but it’s a start. And I get to teach what I want, which is such icing on this cake. (Starting tomorrow I am jumping on writing up class sequences!) And I also asked about this, reminding them because I missed the original audition because I was…..wait for it….leading a grief group.
And here’s what I want to say about these two things (besides how awesome they are!). All of this happened a few days ago, same day. However, I wrote my words above last Christmas. I took teacher training last January through May.
All year I have been meditating and taking better care of myself. Consistent in yoga practice and asking the questions and doing the tasks that I need to in this stage of my life. Learning and listening. All of these practices have given me a sense of freedom and self, of being enough, to do this. A confluence of preparation and opportunity. As Patabi Jois says “Practice and all is coming”.
And there is a lot of trust there too, right? Just doing the work , allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to ask the questions, letting go of the outcomes. Following my instincts which told me to inquire about these things because, somewhere, I know I am ready.
I’m a little curious about the idea of trust now.