One of the major themes throughout our two weeks in class has been self-acceptance. Our instructors have done a fabulous job of teaching us to look at how we speak to others as well as ourselves. It’s a bit surprising to realize just how much I apologize, for this, that and the other. In the first few days, our teachers would stop us in our tracks when the words “I’m sorry” came out of our mouths. By the second weekend, the teachers didn’t even need to say a word. If one of us was speaking in front of the group and began to say “I’m sorry” you’d see the speaker’s face flinch as if they’d been jolted with a small amount of electricity. We looked like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs.
It’s not as easy as you’d think to stop saying you’re sorry. Tess, our female teacher, is such a little spitfire, I just love her. And man, she just peers into your face and asks you, “WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR? WHY ARE YOU SORRY?” And she means it, she wants an explanation for why you are sorry. In most cases, I find myself realizing I’m not really sorry at all.
There has been a major focus on the idea of being enough, and accepting that we are always enough at all times, regardless of what we can and can’t do, what we do and don’t have, that we are right where we need to be at that moment in time. Interesting concept for some of us. It’s so easy to always have my eye on something I think I want or need, or something I need to change about myself. And not enough time is spent appreciating what is, right now, just this, just me, nothing more, nothing less, this moment being perfect.
The instructors have definitely gotten their point across in a short time, as I am finding myself contemplating the concept of acceptance and enough throughout my days. I think of myself as a pretty confident and happy person, but I have to be honest, I say I’m sorry a lot now that I pay attention. The hike I talked about in my last post, I spent the whole way up saying I was sorry and thanking my angels. They kept saying, no need to be sorry. And they were right. Why would I need to be sorry to someone else for my fear, and needing to take breaks to catch my breath when I’m not used to a hike like that. WHY WOULD I BE SORRY FOR THAT? Yet, there I was … sorry.
Check it out yourself, just pay attention to your thoughts, how many negative thoughts run through your brain in an hour, or a day? We humans can be damn tough on ourselves.
With this philosophy in mind, I will share a really nice realization I had on Saturday evening when I left yoga. Part of our homework has been to clean and clear our spaces, both internally and externally. We were asked to purge our surroundings of unnecessary objects. Since Rick and I moved in the last few years, I don’t have very many items left that need purging, but I did have a pile of old videos from my mom’s stuff sitting on my dresser. It seemed the perfect place to start my assignment.
On Thursday night after dinner, I got comfortable and started to play each video. Some were my kids from their preschool years, but there were two in particular that were films my mother had transferred onto video, and they dated back to when I was a toddler. It was a collection of images, no sound, myself and my cousins going down a slide at the San Francisco zoo, our parents dressed in their Sunday best laughing among themselves, chasing after us, and others with just my parents and I.
I sat somewhat mesmerized studying the films, yearning to see more, searching their faces and actions for some clue as to how these seemingly happy people became what I would remember them as, two very unhappy and unfulfilled souls. I finished looking at the tapes and went to sleep that night feeling so sad.
As I drove to yoga on Friday night, I was listening to the Beatles station on Sirius radio. They were playing a collection all weekend of the Beatles’ top 50 love songs as voted on by the listeners, I’m sure in honor of Valentine’s Day. For anyone who hasn’t listened to the station, they will put together a collection and then play it over and over all weekend, it just loops around and around. I came in at the beginning of the songs working down from No. 50. As I came through the canyon they played Julia, which is a song written for John’s mom, I believe, after her death.
I couldn’t help thinking about my mom, and still feeling melancholy from watching the tapes. I found myself thinking how sad our life together had been, so much unhappiness and turmoil, and feeling like we had wasted our precious time on this earth together. The mood hung in most of the night, and when I drove home around 9:30 coming through the canyon, Julia played again. And then again the next morning, and then again the following evening. Coincidence? I’m only in my car 20-40 minutes depending on where the class is, Auburn or Roseville. I’m not sure what the odds are of coming into the rotation at the same place every time I get in the car, but I thought about heading to Reno to do a little gambling since my mom seemed to be in my back pocket.
Saturday morning my mood shifted and I welcomed the song, enjoyed my drive through the canyon and greeted the new day with an open heart. What would day five of this adventure bring? It was an eventful day in class, lots of yoga and instruction, but what would be the most important part of the day would come as Julia once again played on my way home (of course it did).
Instead of thinking my mom and I had wasted our time together, I asked myself “what if what we had together was enough? What if it was just what it was supposed to be?” With that door open, my mind raced remembering what I’ve always believed, that we come here to learn and that sometimes our lessons are hard. With that thinking in mind, then truly my mom and I kicked some ass in this lifetime. We’d hiked our own trail straight up a rock hill and parachuted down to the river below. Just maybe I had this all wrong. Amazing.
And if all that is true, then it would explain my reaction when my mom did finally pass. Hospice had called early that morning to let me know she was close. She’s been close for three months, but this day was different and I knew it the moment I walked into her room. I settled into the big blue chair next to her bed with my book. I’d pretty much said everything I needed to her in the previous three months, so there was no need for words at this point. She was already somewhere far away. I watched her breathing all morning, reading a page or two, and glancing up. Although her breathing was labored, she was interestingly very quiet. I could not rely on sound to monitor her.
At some point mid morning, I glanced up and found she had made her way ever so peacefully after such an arduous journey. I sat watching her for a few moments and once I knew for sure her chest would not rise again, I said, “Mom, I didn’t even hear you leave.” I let the tears come, and after a few minutes, the next words out of my mouth were, “We made it, Mom. We did it.”
They are interesting words for someone who has just lost her mother. They were not words prepared or thought about beforehand. They were the words of my heart, and what I was feeling. And I don’t know about you readers, but to me, they sound like the words of a gal who made it with her mom to the top of the lookout.
I will close with the words of one of my favorite songs from You’ve Got Mail, hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melody. For some reason, I do believe, in this lifetime we choose to forget what we know in order to learn our lessons. It’s nice when we remember …
“Long ago, far away
Life was clear, close your eyes
Remember is a place from long ago
Remember FILLED WITH EVERYTHING YOU KNOW
Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down
REMEMBER TURN AROUND
Remember life is just a memory
Remember close your eyes and you can see
Remember think of all that life can be
Dream, love is only in a dream, remember –
Remember life is never as it seems. Dream
Long ago, far away
Life was clear, close your eyes”
Remember lyrics – Harry Nilsson
If I walk away from this class with nothing more than this realization, it will be enough. But between you and me, I’m not thinking that I’m done. Until we meet next week,
Picture taken on our sunrise hike to the outlook over the American River, Overlook Park, Auburn, Ca.