Processing Grief Through Yoga, Meditation, and Writing
Two weeks ago I started a 100-Day Challenge: practice yoga, meditate, and write every single day. I’m 14 days in and I’m already reaping benefits. The writing, yoga, and meditation trifecta slows me down and brings balance to my mind and body.
In this post, I’ll share with you an experience I had yesterday where my yoga and meditation practice facilitated rapid processing of pain and suffering.
I wrote this experience in 3 parts and it unfolded naturally as I returned to my laptop to capture my thoughts and feelings through word.
First, the triggering event. I spiraled into a space of anger and jealousy. Next, after a period of self-care including yoga and meditation, I had insights into the pain and it started transforming. Finally, after sharing my insights with Eli, the pain folded over unto itself and only love remained.
Part 1 :::: The Triggering Event
I follow a woman on Instagram named @yoga_girl (AKA Rachel Brathen). I found her through Amelia, the yoga teacher who started Landon’s Legacy Retreat after her son Landon died in 2014 only a few days after he was born. I attended Amelia’s retreat for bereaved mothers this June and wrote a little about it in this blog entry.
I was just scrolling through Instagram and saw that Rachel is pregnant. 16 weeks. Beneath her full-body silhouetted picture, Rachel relishes the feeling of being pregnant and confesses how hungry she is all the time. Then she refers to her unborn baby as “Little Poppyseed.” I stopped breathing. This one Instagram picture has over 54000 likes.
“Little Poppyseed.” That was my nickname. It was a secret. Only me and Eli and a close handful of friends knew our nickname for our unborn baby. And now Rachel is using the same nickname.
Until and unless you’ve been through something like the death of a child, you can’t imagine how often the world seems to throw your devastation right back in your face. I know Rachel has no idea that was my nickname for our daughter. She doesn’t even know I exist. Still, it hurts so much.
It’s numbing and crushing and really my only option is to keep breathing and let the sadness move through me.
I’ll probably unfollow her. She won’t notice because she has over 2 million followers. She’ll probably even get more followers now that she’s pregnant…the magical pregnant glowing @yoga_girl.
God damn it. It never stops. The reminders.
Part 2 :::: Self-care with Yoga and Meditation
I closed my laptop and went to the kitchen where I poured myself a big bowl of cereal. I sat on the couch and watched a mediocre episode of an HBO series. I felt exhausted. As I so often do these days I relented to my body’s needs and went upstairs to take a nap. It was fitful. I was too warm and slept too long. When I woke up I felt lightheaded and thirsty. I realized I hadn’t done my yoga or meditation yet. Eli made me a warm cup of tea and I went downstairs again in seek of some serenity.
I found it. Within myself. Looking at the pain, becoming an observer. I am transforming.
With a little distance from the triggering pain of this afternoon, I could see that Rachel’s love for her unborn child and the “coincidence” that she’d nicknamed the baby “Poppyseed” is pretty magical.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t plan on watching her journey unfold on Instagram. I’m not a masochist. But I can see that she loves her child just as much as I loved mine.
That’s why this hurts so much. I adored my Poppy. I loved her with every ounce of my being and in many ways I still do. But I’ve had to let go of the dreams and fantasies of the life I would have with my daughter, and Rachel is just beginning to have hers.
I am here. I am present. My breath is my anchor and it is strong. As the feelings come, I let the feeling flow. In and out. I am healing. I am.
Part 3 :::: Only Love Remains
In a matter of hours, I’m having big realizations. Rachel’s intuition to call her baby “Little Poppyseed” has essentially reincarnated exactly the same love that I had for my baby. And not only is Rachel sending that love into her unborn child, but her Instagram followers are too. And that’s the same love that I had for my Poppyseed.
So the life that formed within me is LOVE. Pure and simple. Poppy was love. She is love. We are love and love is all around me.
And now that tears stream down my face once again today, there are tears of joy and divinity mixed in with the sadness.
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