Tina Turner said it best. Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?
I have a vivid memory of sitting on the edge of my sister's bed at the age of 7, watching and admiring her. It was 1984, What's Love Got to Do With It started to play on the radio, she turned it way up. We laughed and danced and I wish I knew why this memory stands out in my mind. She was 9 years my senior, and she was always there. I could pick up the phone at any time of the night or day and she would answer. Since her death, that song brings joy and a steady stream of tears to my eyes. Lately, it's made me wonder, do I really need a heart?
If you are lucky, at some point in your life you will feel alone. You will sit in your physical body and feel like a shell of a human. You will wonder how you got to this place in which you sit, and wonder how, or if, you will ever move forward. Why do I suggest you'd be lucky? Without sadness, there is no joy. Without loss, there is no introspection. Without these things, there is no growth. When you're feeling alone, you may feel like you are without hope. I'm here to tell you, you are not alone. You are never alone.
I have felt loneliness at many times in my life. Loneliness literally means "sad from being alone"; however, what I've learned from the loss of my dear sister is that simply having others around cannot heal my loneliness. Why? Because one day the people I love will die and leave a gaping hole in my heart. I can attempt to hide the pain with sleep, tears, and fake smiles, but nothing will bring her back. Even when the acceptance of loss is present, that gaping hole will once again be opened with yet another loss. If you've ever suffered the loss of a loved one, a job, a marriage, a home, or maybe just an expectation of promises made to you by others, you can probably relate.
One of the reasons I step on my yoga mat day after day is to feel a connection. A connection to something, ANYTHING; being alone, and in the practice of yoga, actually wakes me up to the reality that I am united with all things. It really levels the playing field when I strip away the labels (education, social status, looks, body type, salary, etc), step onto my mat, and into my breath. I'm able to resonate with all. I've learned a lot about myself from grief, but most importantly, I know the only way I can heal is with the help of yoga. I will have to dig deep to find the Self, which is the Self of all beings. The very thing that unites me to my sister. Being one, with everyone and everything, and actually feeling it radiate from my heart. We are all an expression of love in its purest form. Remember, there are others who have hope for you, even when you don't. Only when we realize this, will we understand the necessity of having a heart, and what love's got to do with it.
Monique, if you're listening, I just turned it up and I'm dancing for you, me, and all of us.
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with grief, roll out your mat and try a yoga sequence for grief to help lighten the load.