Returning to Practice

There are days that mark distinct lines in our lives. Like rings in trees that tell the story of how difficult a year was, how dry or how suddenly cold. The obvious vehicle for the metaphor would be our hearts: what is “written on our hearts”. But I believe that the stories are what shape our entire bodies.

On Monday I learned my mother died. And my mind was clear and easy, though in that moment I read the words, my diaphram contracted and a gasp left my body. And I guess since then my mind and body have been entirely disconnected. My mind finished grieving decades ago, but if I open my mouth to speak, my body is wrestling with something still. With pain. Maybe physical and psychological pain are not seperate in the way we think they are.

Monday afternoon E. held me while I breathed. Then drove me to the beach so I could run barefoot in the surf. It was one of the last days of summer break, but there weren’t that many people on the beach. The sky was threatening rain, but the air was still warm.

E. hates the sand. Wears shoes when we run there. But me? There is nothing more grounding than standing at the edge of the flow, letting it bubble around your ankles, then pull away as the sand beneath your feet pulls away and you can feel the tiny creatures just under your soles, just under the sand, breathing from their safe, dark places. Pulling at you. Pulled from so many directions at once.

Suspended by life.

I guess it’s appropriate that after staying up until midnight last night signing documents to release a body to a stranger – to permit cremation – I should get up befor dawn to walk the dog, do yoga* and write: to return to a school-term routine that is now familiar – and entirely new, entirely necessary.

This is a deeply drawn line in my story.

* Yoga: The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke,” or “to unite”. The practice aims to create union between body, mind and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness.

4 Replies to “Returning to Practice”

  1. I’m sorry for your loss Ren. In the Jewish tradition, we say, “God is the True Judge” to mourners when their loved ones die… I struggle with what I believe, one way or another, but having this phrase available to me in my tradition’s arsenal is always helpful when I don’t know what else to say.


    1. Thank you, David. The situation was complex and once I sought a priest for guidance for dealing with the relationship and he send me to a shrink (!?) This week someone send me a quote from her Rabbi about what the Talmud says about dealing with a parent who abandons their role. It helped so much – even now, so late – it helped so much.


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