When Things Fall Apart

When Things Fall Apart

 January 2012. I’m jogging on the beach in Herzliya. It is early morning. The day is clear, not hot, cold, just reasonably mild temperatures. Great weather to run. My pain and agony are beyond words. I need to keep my regular exercise routine to ensure I continue and do not collapse into thousands of pieces. I know she would do the same. I know she would tell me to do what I am going now.

 I am looking at the waves. I am looking at the same Mediterranean Sea I have known my entire life. The sea seems so strong, so innocent and free from all pain or attachments, just another ordinary Thursday. 

 A few hours later and I am standing before my beloved mother’s coffin at her funeral. My soulmate, my heart, my inspiration and best friend is lying still and can’t talk. I can’t help myself thinking how much she would have to say now. I saw her several days before, sharp, clear and totally aware of the situation. She told me that I needed to go back home to my kids. 

 It had been only a few weeks since she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Too late for any treatment, it was just a matter of time. It didn’t seem possible. We had always said, laughing as we said it, that she would bury us all. Life had a different plan.

 Back in USA, two days later, I was already back in my class, teaching. On her grave I promised her that moving forward I would dedicate every yoga class, and my life, to help people find their comfort and inner joy; if only for a moment, if only for a tiny bit.

 The Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön notes that everything that comes together will fall apart, again and again, in a never ending cycle. In her worlds “the healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy”. (The Pocket Pema Chödrön, p 53). 

 Now close your eyes and imagine that you are standing on the edge of a very steep cliff. You feel absolutely cornered. One step you take forward and you will plunge to your doom. Turning back is not better as wild vicious animals have trapped you. 

 Now open the eyes and reflect. What did you feel? What was the impact it had on your physical body? What impact did it have on your breath? How would you describe what you felt in that present vivid moment? The desire to live, to feel the core essence of existence. How powerful was that feeling?

 I find that experiencing the harsh edges of life represent the most powerful moments in our life. These are the moments when we learn how strong and resilient we can be. These are the moments that clears away the “dust” composed of judgment, attachments and desires that robs us of our contentment. We have the strength to find a way to start again from the beginning. 

Danit Schreiber6 Comments