Unspeakable Heartbreak.

December 16, 2012

A girl came up to me in my second yoga class yesterday morning, shaking. She had started to cry and said that since Friday all she could do was think about coming to my class, that it would soothe her. Yikes, I didn’t know how I would do that but I was happy she said something as I already had the theme of class planned. And it was simple: Just send out love to the people in Connecticut.

I had another post planned but it felt so trivial and trite after what happened on Friday. I will still post it in a few days. I am not going to stop living my life and crawl into a cave of grief. Don’t worry.

I do, however, think its important that we mourn and get sad and feel and connect. So my classes this weekend was about THAT and THEM. It is important that we feel and yet not be crippled by that feeling (I have done so in the past) but rather let us remind us what it means to connect. To love deeply. Not let it unravel us completely but just enough that we wake up.

We wake up.

During savasana, I pressed down on the shoulders of the girl who had approached me  and her lip had started to quiver and the tears started again. I was touching her and reminding her what it feels like to be human and to feel safe. How unsafe we all feel.

Not unsafe like we are all worried that we might get shot at any moment (although let’s be honest: that can happen. We just can’t live like it can.) Unsafe in the way we feel when something happens that feels beyond our grasp like finding out you will never get to touch the person you love most again in the world for no reason.

We like to place things into boxes and files and we like to name them and when we can’t we feel unsafe and scared. Let’s say your child gets diagnosed with a very very rare genetic disorder and no matter what you will do, he will die (unsafe! No explanation! Why! Why! Why!) or let’s say one day someone you love more than anyone in the world tells you I just don’t love you (unsafe! How can this be? Why! Why! Why!) or let’s say you send your 6 year old off to school and they wave goodbye to you from behind their larger than life backpack and that is the last time you ever see them. That little hand waving backwards. Someone shoots them down in their classroom (Unsafe! This is not possible! Why! Why! Why!) When we can’t understand something we feel unsafe.

Or at least I do.

When my nephew was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, (Prader Willi Syndrome) before I understood it, I wanted to eat comfort foods and cry and hide behind my husband’s leg like a small child because all I wanted was to feel safe again. How can this happen? How can this be? So many shitty things have already happened in our family, how can one more happen? I need to feel safe. Help!

I hope that girl yesterday released a little of her pain. I actually don’t think it was “her” pain. Nor is it mine. We are feeling THEIR pain when we feel this.

I was angered when I saw someone post on Facebook something to the effect of Oh, stop watching the news! This stuff happens everyday all over the world. Why should this be any different?

Why shouldn’t it be different?

It is different. It is always different. Yes, we all experience loss and some have more tragedy than others, this is true. But why should we not mourn what effects us and why should not more effect us? We don’t let it.

We separate ourselves by saying Thank G-d I wasn’t there. It didn’t happen to me. I am not going to look or pay attention.

Listen to me: Pay attention.

It did happen to you. You were there. You are a human being and this is a call for us to be our most fiercely human selves. Maybe if I knew about every incident or tragedy in the world I would fall apart, maybe it is better that I don’t watch the news every day. All I can say is that to feel is to be human. If you do not feel that all those kids died scared (hopefully it was fast and they didn’t understand) and that people were more brave than I will ever be and lost their lives to protect kids hiding in a closet then just stop for a moment and place your hand over heart because all it means is that you have forgotten. I am asking you to remember.

Do not be confused. I am not talking about gun laws or the mental issue at stake. I have a lot to say about both. But I will save that. I wish his mother hadn’t had the guns and he hadn’t known how to use them. I wish that someone had paid attention and had gotten him help for his mental illness.

I wish I wish I wish I wish.

Meanwhile, I am just so sad still and that’s fine. It will never be fine what happened yet with time the healing will begin.

But not yet. Not yet.

G-d bless them all. I think of my 5 year old nephew and thank whatever kind of bullshit lucky stars there are that it wasn’t him. How fair is that? It’s not!

But it is what it is.

Luck was invented with slot machines and parking spots.

We need to access the deepest parts of our humanity and love fiercely. Always. That will not stop these things from happening. But maybe it will lessen them? I don’t know. All I know is that we cannot turn a blind eye and make pretend that it didn’t happen to us. We will never understand why this happened.

We never supposed to understand this.

It’s impossible for us to place this anywhere in our minds except under “unspeakable heartbreak”.

We will never know where to put this. In a few months it will be something else on the news that will have our mind’s attention, but the heart, the heart must remember this.

May we remember that while we have the capacity to love (and if you are reading this you do! You do!) we must do just that. We must love and love and love and love. We must bring our hands together as a gesture of unity and hope that no matter how much horror we see in our lifetime and how much loss we will never stop expressing our deepest humanity.

For if we do, we have lost all.

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No Comments

  • Reply authenticalive December 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    the healing touch of Love..

    and Love. and More Love..

    What the World Needs Now…

    Blessings, Oh Compassionate Lover..

    Jo Ellen

  • Reply carpis12map December 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    You write with such pure HEART
    Deep Bow

  • Reply Katie D December 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you. This will become my mantra for the tonight, for tomorrow, for as long as it takes. Hand over heart…paying attention, remembering, sending out love. Thank you.

  • Reply barbarapotter December 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    So beautifully written Jen

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  • Reply Erin Terese December 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Yes, we must remember. We must love. Always. Thank you! When you have a minute, read this post. It’s a touching piece by a mother with a son much like Adam: https://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother

  • Reply wendy stoner-lincoln December 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Thank you. Thank you.

    I know exactly what your student felt … that description of her could have been (was!) I.

    I had the feeling I would lose my mind on Friday over what happened to those children and their protectors in Connecticut. Wept all day and night.
    I pushed myself out of bed on Saturday a.m. — when I most wanted to crawl back in, sleep to forget — with the promise that yoga class would (somehow) modify the grief (it always has). And my favorite yoga teacher, with her gift for articulation of what is often in the heart and how to best to tap-in, open, and heal it, would identify the unspeakable and offer some words of comfort(?) Truth(?) Something that would give me something to hold on to, help dam-up the tears. Nothing could dissolve the sorrow but, surely, another person’s perspective would be a message I could take through my day.

    She. said. nothing. about. it.
    Nothing at all.

    Was it too tough for her to tackle being a new mother of an 11-month old little girl? What could she have been thinking NOT mentioning it in the opening of class? I felt as though there was the largest pink elephant in the room (and it wasn’t Ganesha upon his mouse) and she was walking around it, dodging it’s trunk and sway as she took us skillfully through our asana. I kept hoping something would be said … perhaps at the end. I left perplexed, saddened in a wholly different way. I was flummoxed.
    It was not what I expected or hoped. She must have felt very unsafe. Very.

    Your message to your students this weekend was simple … but spot on: just send out love to the people in Connecticut. And let us be reminded what it is to connect, love deeply, not unravel, but enough to wake up and feel. Loving deeply helps to bind up wounds (yes?).

    Your writing — and teachings — on this unspeakable tragedy is just as everyone above has remarked: incredible, beautifully written, a reminder of the healing touch of love, a mantra to take with me.

    Thank you so much for gifting me the class I was searching for this weekend.
    Yes, deep bow to you, Jen Pastiloff…

    With gratitude,

  • Reply Terry Lakritz December 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    You make me a better person each time I read your words.

  • Reply annabelruffell December 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    SO beautifully written Jen! Thank you for sharing this from your heart x

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