The idea of impermanence usually creeps up during my birth week. It always has. The thought of my own physical existence and eventual non-existence for some reason becomes a prevalent topic, which I choose to dwell on. This is usually followed by a state of sadness. It’s not the fact that I’m getting older that gets to me, but the thought process that seems to cause for an unsettling debate in my mind. However, this year I feel better equipped to observe the mind and sit with these emotions. Spending that month in Nepal truly equipped me to learn how to deal with emotions that surface: negative and positive.
Last night, leaving my yoga class I learned that a teacher from middle school, very young had passed away. Throughout our adult years, we communicated via social media and shared travel stories and advice. She also was convinced that I bring a photographer along with me everywhere I go and was very supportive during our conversations. She was one of those individuals who did made her happy presence felt during these far and between online convos. This morning, on my way to teach my yoga class, it hit me and in an effort to not walk into my class with red eyes tried to avoid the cry. But the physical response to sadness was stronger than anything my mind or I could control. Naturally, I went into class with a strong message about impermanence and a dedication to this beautiful individual who is no longer with us. With each movement and breath of my students, she remained in my mind and by the end of our practice I sealed in a dedication of her resting in pure peace and bliss. Garine, know that your presence has touched many hearts, many which you may never know.
As the news of death approached, I had plans of seeing my good friend who had recently given birth to a beautiful girl. Conflicting emotions began to collide and not knowing how to deal with the news, I resorted to my first reaction upon hearing news of that caliber: denial. As I got home from yoga class I just needed the quiet. I needed to sit with the thought that even though I physically exist now, in an undetermined amount of time that can change. The death process is unexpected and due to it’s taboo nature, not talked about as much as it should. As I approach the day that I celebrate my birth, I appreciate my existence and every breath that I am taking. As we expanded our breath in and out during yoga class, I reminded my students that we are so fortunate to be able to respire. To move our bodies into shapes and poses makes us even more fortunate. After a sweaty pose, in an upward salute as we brought our palms to touch, I remembered and reminded that it is a “beautiful life and a beautiful day to be alive” as the song “Beautiful Life” by Lost Frequences was playing. We finally sealed that sequence by bringing our palms to heart center. My eyes were less red and a slight smile surfaced. Closed my eyes and remembered the smile of my friend who is no longer with us and imagined the smile of my beautiful friend as she met her newly born girl.
Even if it’s only for today or this particular moment that I can remember to appreciate my expansive breath, my life and those who surround me then I have lived. Completing my 32nd cycle around the sun, I am grateful for all who have smiled to me and filled my heart with love. For my birthday, I wish that everyone be happy. I wish that loss is equally balanced with abundance. Because, today we may hear the news of birth, but tomorrow and quite naturally of it’s contrary phenomenon. How we react and sit with these emotions will guide our own presence. Today, I cry and I smile. Today, I celebrate life and I celebrate death. Today, I celebrate all of you.Because without out, there is no me.