By Rachel Brathen
Sadness comes and sadness goes. Sometimes the presence of pain is stronger than its absence. These days, my highs are so high and my lows are so low it’s a miracle I’m functioning at all.
I wonder where my grandmother is and if she knows I don’t know what to do with her death and I wonder if that’s ok.
I think of my mother and that she’s lost her mom and the enormity of that is just too vast for my mind to grasp. How can you lose your mother? How? I know this is life and people die all the time and also people are born. Energy and love recycled.
Nothing is lost.
I think of these things and I feel so much I have to write it down and when I can’t see what I’m writing anymore I roll out a yoga mat that’s not mine and I sit on it and cry into the emptiness of my reflection staring back at me from the living room window.
I cry until I can’t breathe and still it’s just scratching at the surface of what needs to be felt and moved through and let out. I cry and then I stop and I go back to bed.
My friend who I love dearly lost her mother and I spent so much time pondering that even though that loss wasn’t mine and it happened years ago. I tried to put myself in her place to understand just a fraction of what she had gone through but I couldn’t.
What would my world be like without my mom? It’s no world.
I can’t even see it in my mind as an imaginary place.
My friend lives and breathes even though her mother no longer does and she moved through it and she laughs and teaches yoga and smiles all the time but what goes on inside of her heart I don’t know. Its been years but still – what is a world without your mother? It’s too big. I can’t feel it even though this year I lost so much.
And now my grandmother is gone and she is my mothers mother and I wonder, how and why is this the order of things. My mother lost her mother and I lost my grandmother and even though we lost the same person our losses are so different. I want to be there for my mom and I know what pain is because this was the year the universe decided it was my time to feel. I know pain but my mothers pain is another world.
Our mothers are our beginnings. They choose us and we choose them our lives begin there. At some point they die and we keep living and it’s the order of things but still it makes no sense. People die. All the time. Mothers and grandmothers and best friends and dogs. They die and when they go they leave you things like yoga mats and trees that are suddenly alive in your garden and also your mother.
They take a lot.
But they leave you things that are everything. You think they died and took it all but actually they died so they could leave you these everythings.
So you lost a lot but you have so much.
Your heart is bigger now and there is more room for noticing things like what the wind feels like on your cheek in the morning.
But you have lost your ground and you have to stumble through the dark not knowing where to place your feet or how to protect yourself from the newness of life ahead. And sometimes you wake yourself up crying in the middle of the night and it’s loud but it’s quiet and there are dogs in your bed but not the one you dream of over and over again and in your dreams you keep losing him in malls and in the woods and at airports and it’s not your fault but it is. And then your husband squeezes your hand and you know the dog is not lost but with grandmothers and soul sisters because when we pass everyone is found.
Everyone is found. The rest of us continue.
One day we will find our way too but for now we are still fumbling through the darkness with trembling hands and beating hearts
wondering where to place our feet next.
Swedish native Rachel Brathen has been practicing yoga since she was a young teen. After graduating school she traveled to Costa Rica and it was here that she found the joy of incorporating yoga into her everyday life. Deepening her yoga practice and also taking her first steps towards teaching, she ended up moving to Central America where she spent years exploring the intricate studies of yoga and spirituality. After moving to Aruba early 2010 she started teaching yoga full time on this Caribbean island. Her classes are a dynamic Vinyasa Flow integrating alignment, core work, and breathing techniques with basic poses and creative sequencing. Rachel is known for her inspirational inversion practice and sprinkles arm balances and inverted poses into her classes, breaking challenging asana down into steps making them accessible for all levels. She leads workshops all across the globe, focusing on handstands, arm balances, vinyasa foundation and fearless living. Each class is designed to energize the body, cultivate a meditative consciousness, and give greater vitality and health.
Rachel is one of the first people in the world to take yoga from the mat and onto a paddle board, and she teaches SUP Yoga (Stand-Up Paddle board Yoga) in all of her retreats and also at festivals and events in different countries around the world. As a leader in the SUP Yoga community, she also hosts SUP Yoga retreats, master classes and workshops.
With 8-9 retreats a year and monthly classes and workshops there are many opportunities to join in! Rachel is always eager to introduce people to the bliss of practicing yoga, providing every student with a space to safely play in the art of yoga on both land and water.
Find daily inspiration from Rachel on Instagram as @yoga_girl with almost a million followers – one of the largest yoga accounts in the world.
Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany.She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (2 spots left.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.
What a perfectly beautiful description. Thank you. Sending you lots of healing love.
Your writing is so poignant and touches a part of me that I can so deeply relate to..
When friends lose their mothers or their moms are very ill I am naturally a caretaker I am by profession an Rn and did many years in hospice care. I feel it is a God given gift to be a comforter or support person. I just know what to say. But if I stop to think that someday that will my mom and I I immediately move on in my thinking. I can’t think about it not today. When my mom’s mom my grandma whom I loved dearly and my mom’s sister my aunt who I loved very much and spent a lot if time grew ing up died I don’t feel like my mom really mourned or was so sad and went back to normal life so soon. I felt the tremendous loss and thought omg you losteoporosis your mommy your younger sister the hole in my heart would never heall
“But they leave you things that are everything. You think they died and took it all but actually they died so they could leave you these everythings.
So you lost a lot but you have so much.
Your heart is bigger now and there is more room for noticing things like what the wind feels like on your cheek in the morning.”
Yes. That is what it’s like. Thank you so much for your words <3