This time of year each day is like an eager child, waking us up before we’d like with its brightness and enthusiasm. The days are long and full, and the dark is barely enough for a full night’s sleep. And this is how we beg for it, this spring we’re in. It’s been a gift. We’ve already even had a few of those rare “summer” days – hot and sweaty, with the whole city smiling (and trying not to complain!). All before June 1st!
This past month I’ve experienced a great deal of this fullness – outdoor, verdant, family fullness, plus a five-day training with my yoga teacher. But I have also been on the outskirts of a great deal of pain and loss, and they both keep colliding in my head. It’s not a problematic collision, it’s more of a combustion, and a cementing of the teaching of Tantra – there is no good or bad, all of life is a weaving of experience into a fabric (one meaning of tantra).
The news that has come to me in this month has certainly been tragic, and very sad. Husband and father (and son and brother) lost in an avalanche, wife and mother (and co-worker and sister) dying of brain cancer, and the multitude of stories I’ve heard and read through my involvement in the book Three Minus One, about the loss of a child. All of this has reminded me of the power of grief, how it plows through a person, clarifying, shining, and gutting them into new versions of themselves. Grief pulls in love, with its gravitational force, and helps people to rally ‘round, to hold a family in hospice or in loss, to count their own blessings, and know how important their efforts and their own living fully can be.
While I don’t pretend to welcome tragedy, I do see how it brings out the fullest in us. It crushes, but it transforms. It devastates, but it also calls us to be our most radiant selves.
I have myself only experienced glacial grief only once, but I know now, a decade later, that it was the catalyst for equally glacial change. It led, without a doubt, to the quality of life I experience today. It cut, and it clarified, and with the help of my yoga practice, made me more free. If you are ready to hear this and several other stories of grief, made beautiful through the telling, join me on June 15 at 3pm at Elliott Bay Books for the final book reading of Three Minus One.
Today, the sun is out. The trees are blindingly green. Spring is on display, crowding its opposite, fall/loss, with color and growth. Make June a month of long days, and long hugs, bright sun, and bright smiles. Make someone a meal, send someone a card. Be like this season, just be awesome.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer