Always intuitive by nature and curious about life and spirituality, it was the death of my parents in February and March of 2003 that rocked me hard and threw me into deep exploration. My dance with grief left me unable to sleep well or put two coherent sentences together. Somehow, though, I knew I’d be okay if I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Late at night, when the house was still, I would sit in the quiet of my home office, staring into a candle, whispering, “Beautiful angels, in the light of my candles, please bring me some peace." It was haiku. It was the mantra that calmed me and led me to sleep each night; the 2nd of about 150 haikus I created as a way of communicating emotions, working through grief, and even entertaining myself. Friends played along by feeding me words to use. I was drawn to water, spending long afternoons sitting on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River watching the sun’s reflection as it set, listening to the leaves gently waving in the breeze, writing poetry, and journaling. And then, when things got hard again, yoga showed up. It put me in touch with my heart, became the practice that connected the dots, and provided the nurturing foundation I needed as my life continued to change.
Each of these healing practices taught me to be present and peaceful; each practice gave me space to fully experience the grief and heartbreak without getting too caught up in the spiral of suffering, allowing it to gently release little by little. Each practice nudged me toward my own personal rebirth. I didn't realize it at the time but I had been meditating, sipping from the well of peace and compassion that rests in the stillness and silence of my own heart. All I needed was someone to help guide me to that sweet awareness. Through it all I learned to trust my instincts and rode the waves of grief in my own way ... not according to the expectations of others in my life.
When I felt whole again, the yoga classes stuck and the other practices slipped away. But all seemed to be well … until the next life crisis hit. It was time to dig in a little deeper …