This week my grandfather left his body and crossed over to the other side. It was beautiful and awful all at once.
I used to be afraid of watching people die, of the seemingly unbearable pain that inevitably comes from bearing witness to such deep and forever good-bye-ness, but my yoga practice has taught me to yoke (or unite) with all of life - the Good Fridays and the Easter Sundays, the winter and the summer - and to trust that God's in all of it, not just the cotton candy stuff.
So instead of full-on binging on wine and Facebook this week (although I did do my share of that, too ;)), I decided to keep showing up for Death as she entered my home and asked me to sit with Her for awhile. I let Her tear me open: weeping and mourning with Her, laughing and remembering.
And in the intermittent tranquility, between the painful contractions, I could see so clearly that Bob and Johanna were the dedicated master gardeners of our family compound, working and struggling together to bear fruit: fertilizing all 39 of us Earthly descendants with their love of food, their love of family, their love of life.
One of my teachers says it like this: there are two types of people -- the consumers and the farmers. She says that we all have a choice: which do we want to be? A vacuum of consumptive energy pulling inward or an abundance of fertile energy flowing outward? My grandparents consciously chose the later and the remarkable consequences of that choice are breathtaking.
As I enter this holiday season, with a small garden plot of my own and another teeny descendant sprouting up beneath me, I can see that this sacred time was never about the food or the stuff but more about the sacred energy and teachings that were delivered through those transient vehicles.
With every homemade meal grandma made and every dollar bill grandpa snuck in my pocket, with every not-that-great high school musical they attended and itchy-yet-beautiful christmas dress they purchased, they were planting seeds, seeds that said: you are seen, you are loved, now go and do the same for others. And if you study all 39 of us, we're messily and clumsily trying to do just that all because of them. It's gut-wrenchingly beautiful, what these two short human lives were capable of producing together.
So, while Shawn and I run around like headless chickens trying to prepare our first Thanksgiving feast, I feel Grandma and Grandpa everywhere, whispering to us from the other side: "Psssst! The food is only a decoy, remember? Love is what all this mess is really about. Breathe it in. Flow it out. Into your food, your words, your presence, your friends, your 'enemies.'" And I am so grateful for that.
May you take a deep breath into the present moment and savor the many small miracles unfolding in front you this holiday. May you receive God's love and farm it out wherever you go, through whatever vehicles you're called to use. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother