“Loss is simply what happens to you in life.
Meaning is what you make happen.”
David Kessler quote, the man who collaborated with five stages of grief Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. This grief warrior continues to mine her classic stages and recently added stage six, with the permission of Kubler-Ross’ family. Moving in my studio yesterday, spinning round and round, I felt myself turning in a spiral of grief. Again. A movement experience I’ve had any number of times in the past and failed to remember. Just like the spiral of grief itself, I seem to return to this notion again and again. Perhaps the gift of a memory less linear than it used to be.
Each in our own way, consciously or not, spinning in this spiral of let go. Never really finding completion, but rather settling and commencing again and again. Because loss is part of the life deal and even a singular loss can move through multiple spirals. And what we are experiencing now is loss on so many levels. What I noticed yesterday is each subsequent spiral is softer, quieter, more nuanced. And as each sputters toward nebulous closure, the harvestable fruit of meaning arises. And that is the gift of Kessler’s sixth stage. This place that reminds us that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Meaning is the place where healing resides.
Enter anywhere, but often we initiate our spiral through grief by swimming in waters of denial. Clinging to a raft of preferred reality. Numbness, confusion, fear, shock. Hang in denial long enough and eventually anger knocks. I favor resentment myself but maybe you prefer frustration or anxiety or irritation or blame or rage. Take your pick. Next stop? Bargaining. Which is a bit mysterious to me. Maybe you have to believe something or someone has influence on outcome. Being traditionally religious could help. My relationship with spirit doesn’t include the capacity to influence fate. My prayers lean toward help deal with what is, not so much creating what isn’t. But if bargaining is in your repertoire, it does serve. It settles us into the unavoidable, sipping on hope before everything shifts forever.
After these three stages, we finally plunk down in sadness, the zone we associate with this multi-dimensional grief process. Depression, overwhelm, helplessness. Resignation paired with paralysis. There is no correct timeline here. Each of us, unique in history and genetics and life experience. We hang out in each zone as long as it takes. And if we have the honor of living and breathing, we land in acceptance. Where we begin to gingerly explore options, float plans, move on.
When I move, I feel. So useful for a person like me for whom articulating present tense emotion can be so elusive. I spun through my studio yesterday, so aware of the softness of this familiar spiral, felt myself land in the field of stage six. Again. Uber-aware of zero closure but grateful for the opportunity. Meaning honors what has passed but doesn’t stop there.
Meaning harvests process and proffers fruit. Which for me yesterday was so very quiet and simply revelatory: contentment. Exquisite satisfaction with this life in this moment in this circumstance. Unequivocal. Side by side but unaffected by challenge, difficulty, coping, worry. A visceral fulfillment that feels vivid new, with weight and breadth and magnitude. Touchable.
So many harvestable possibilities in this ongoing recurrent spiral. What I notice, perhaps more than ever, is I pretty consistently arrive at dance floor or mat vaguely out of heart touch. Maybe that’s what propels me there. On the other side of practice there is relative clarity. Access to what I am feeling. And sometimes incredibly juicy fruit.
Offering as well as being in the dance in these new circumstances is revealing. We’ve settled into a schedule. I offer Wednesday and Sunday this week; Majica offers next week. These are guided classes, not music only. For a couple reasons. Alone, without the support of the group field, cultivating presence is more challenging. So we offer 5Rhythms support through the wave of music. Plus, as teachers, clearly articulating the practice is our only go-to without physical demonstration or tuning into clues from the field. It is a brilliant opportunity for all of us to drop into the practice in a new way. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have some annoying, limiting and technically over the top challenges!
The on line yoga? Actually mostly a technical breeze, total fit, surprisingly expansive. Enroll for Essentials Tuesday 10:00 (tomorrow!) right here. Been working that website some. Read about the evolution of this responsive “yoga wherever you are” right here. Take a peek at how I am shaping the twice a week offering come June right here .
And wherever whenever however you land in practice, be prepared to harvest some incredibly juicy fruit.