"[Equanimity] is the ability to stay present with our situation without reactivity, or if we do react, to see it and stop feeding it. If we experience a loss, for instance, meeting the pain of that loss with equanimity doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain. Instead, we allow the arising of that pain without interference, and eventually it passes on its own." ~ Dharma teacher Lisa Ernst, The Lotus Blooms in the Mud
Face to the mat, huddled in the yoga position of the child pose, sudden gusts of tears came Saturday morning. An emotional end to an emotional end-of-the-week and the end of an emotional summer.
Flash. Before my mind's eye was my friend A. who's daughter is returning to college for her sophomore year. This would have been the year that Grace started college, now that she's graduated high school. Actually, if I'd not held her back in kindergarten, she would have started last year. I feel absolutely no envy for A. I celebrate with her. And I know that her daughter has her own challenges. The cliche is true: No one is given a free pass in this life. Another friend, a tremendously creative and fiercely strong woman was just diagnosed with cancer. An older mother, she has two young children. I learned a cousin is going through divorce. And yet another friend somewhere, likewise. And on....
Anyone who's ever sat in a chair opposite a therapist knows the analogy of peeling an onion. Layer after layer, the skin is peeled away. Each time, there is another version of the lesson beneath the layer. Ditto, the analogy of a spiral. Here we are again. Another bend, another curve, the lesson.
This summer's been like that. Learning in layers, understanding more each time, the lessons of this life with autism. This life of life. And, on my mat, two days after another phase of my daughter's life has begun, I got it, it's more real this year. Last year I watched my friends send their sweet ones, my daughter's same-aged peers, off to college. This year, I watched mine graduate and it was my turn....This year, it is more real.
I won't see those firsts, my spiritual mentor told me the other week, speaking with compassion, listing the life norms of marriages and births. And then he followed with his familiar chant: "Water is wet. Rocks are hard....This is your life."
To be continued. But please, offer me no sympathies. None are needed. I can grieve this without bemoaning, without pity. Simply, this is looking at the reality, and experiencing the grief. The grief is good because it is human. Because it is healing. This has been a summer of poignant grieving, of mending, salving and preparing for the next phase of this life journey. Here we go.