Today the pen (urm...keyboard) is for me and my personal reflections. And so, it's also for you...because we never really get to get away from sharing the experience with one another.
Today I want to write about two things:
That there are billions of humans and only one human experience.
Why my mom coming to my first yoga retreat made me cry a few times.
She didn't want to come at first.
My mom, that is.
She didn't want to come at all. Any time that I would talk about the upcoming retreat that took place last June, there would be silence on the phone. There were no questions asked, no "how's that all going?" or seeking updates on progress.
Family is wonderful, because at the end of the day, every single one of us are simply people navigating our own personal brand of triggers, fears, frustrations, celebrations and triumphs. We just happen to share blood with the ones who we also share a great deal amount of time an honesty with. So...its easier to not hide...or, haha, maybe it's actually that it is harder to hide from family.
I watched her as we arrived together at the retreat. I was frustrated and trying to not be. It blows my mind the way that family can pull you from your space of balance. I sometimes feel like I can witness almost anything, experience essentially any piece of life -- but then my mom says something that gives life to a tornado in my heart -- or at least funnel clouds.
I was frustrated at how nervous she was.
As I sit here now, it chokes me up. Because I can see it. I can see how my frustration stems from a space of expecting her to be like me.
Because I cannot escape being so much like her.
"Why aren't you coming to the retreat?" I finally asked her in May. "Chloe's mom is coming, Sabrina's mom is coming -- I'm sitting here saving you a spot and I don't even know if you want to...I don't even know if you care if this works or not."
As I watched her carry her bags to the little log cabin she would be staying in, it hit me for the first time, how small she was trying to make herself. My mom. The woman who had always been larger than life in my eyes, she was curling her chest into her spine and trying to hide.
I had to go...the other guests were coming and I had to make an offering to the river.
But I stood and watched her, as I had through all of my years, and then I walked where I needed to go, as I had through all of our years.
With literally billions of humans, and billions of mother daughter, son and father (and vice versa) relationships -- it is reasonable, to apply the lessons of the global pandemic now.
The human experience possesses a finite amount of emotional potential.
There are only so many emotions, there are only so many physical releases of chemicals/hormones within the operating physical system of the human. There are, of course, experiences that do not have a word, or language, to communicate them. Different cultures call these by different names.
English has things like: happiness, sadness, fatigue, liberosis, kenopsia (the feeling I had in the Tokyo airport during COVID shutdown) and so on.
There are a variety of options, but it's like...it is a shared experience. We all have the capacity to feel the same emotions, feelings and chemical make-ups as one another.
However, we all are energy surrounded by our physical bodies, our physical bodies are surrounded by their surroundings -- which is ultimately what winds up inspiring our reactions and emotions. The individual stimulus may be unique -- but the expression of the experience is shared continuously.
We are empathy. For, as it goes, "There but for the grace of God, go I". We are all experiencing the same experience through unique states of stimuli.
It was silence on the phone, when I had asked her back in May if or when she was going to give me a "yes" or "no" regarding the retreat. But I could hear her crying.
And I'm so grateful for her. I'm grateful because I forget -- I forget sometimes how terrifying it can be to be seen. To say the thing that scares you. To be exposed and then held.
It hit me like a brick fucking wall on the Saturday of the retreat.
That morning my mom and had come into the lodge where we were to be served breakfast looking 100% more confident than she had the night before. She moved with ease towards the table that I, my cousin and my sister had shared with her the night before. I smiled.
"Everyone needs to sit with new faces for breakfast" I announced, with so much love in my heart.
I'll never forget the way my mom wheeled on her heel and looked at me with big eyes. Terror!
"Everyone here is so kind" I promised her quietly and I moved towards a different table.
The brick wall, however, came in the moment that we were practicing Ashtanga -- taught by my friend Chloe, a poet and a healer.
As we sat in Badha Konasana, butterfly posture, I gently opened my eyes. There, directly in my line of sight was my mom and my baby sister. I remember looking at them, with their backs turned to me. This, this moment, was the brick wall that hit me.
I could see my body. All the same tensions that yoga has revealed and healed with me.
I could see my mind. Hiding in the back-corner of the yoga shala space.
I could see my longing to be enough and do it right.
I could see my confidence and my ability to love.
I could see my heart. Showing up even when I didn't know where I was going.
I could see the whole picture. Why I know her, and she knows me, why my sister need not experience the same lessons that came before her.
I could see me. She is Me.
I don't know if I'll ever understand the transformation that I witnessed in my mother, to quite the same degree in any other guest at the retreats.
But on Sunday, when we met for breakfast in the Lodge, after a night of ceremony, release, hiking and laying in the rain, I saw something incredible.
I watched my mom walk into the room as if it were her own kitchen. Her head was tall, her chest at ease. She sat at the table that I had not seen her sit at, and she openly greeted each face who walked through the door.
I wish that kind of feeling for every single one of us.
Ahhh...now I'm just sitting here with tears in my eyes.
I'm going to get back to work now.
I hope you have a great day.
P.s - sorry for typos. I'm not editing. :)