For the past 8 months I've been grieving the loss of a primary relationship in my life, my mom. The thing is my mom is not dead. I've been grieving the loss of someone I deeply love who is still alive but for unknown reasons she has shut me, and my sister and our families, out of her life. This has been the single most difficult thing I have ever experienced.  And I've been through some stuff, I am not naive. But the relationship I had with my mom was my one true north. It was always a constant. Reliable, unconditional, connected. Until 8 months ago when she found out the cancer that she had valiantly fought off and won 25 years ago had come back, in her colon. From that point on she said she needed time and space, she needed me to back off, and this was something she needed to do on her own. I went from talking to my mom almost every day to no communication at all. She did not choose to shut my brothers out of her life and that just makes everything more confusing. It's extremely difficult not to take it personally, though I know deep down it's not about me.  

And this is where my yoga practice comes in.  My practice has become a safe space to sit with the pain of loss. The landscape of grief is not tidy, there are no roadmaps but my mat is a place where I cannot hide from it, seek distraction or otherwise look away. It is here I allow it to come in, settle in for a nice game of bridge, talk to it, try to understand it. I cry on my mat a lot these days as I move through this grief.  I do not know how long this process will go on, I only know that without my practice I would be an interminable mess. Some days I am anyway, but mostly when the sadness comes I find my mat. I sit, I move gently through the pain and process it as best I can, allowing it space to move through me.

And epiphanies occur from time to time as I get still and quiet enough to hear the voice of spirit. Yesterday it was this: "On the other side of grief is grace. They reside on the same doorstep. The only way out is through. As the heart opens, it heals.  Practice opening your heart to grace."

And so I do. And it is a practice. A daily one.  I am finding my joy again one day at a time on my mat.