Finding Peace in My Humanity
"There's a crack, a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." —Leonard Cohen
We all have defining moments in our lives; moments when we are faced with decisions so momentous that they will forever change our destiny. My defining moment was about eight years ago, when following the suicide of my husband, I decided to be a survivor not a victim. My recovery has been a long one, and has involved many hours of grieving, an amazing support system of friends and family, and a lot of counseling. And yoga.
The real work started in 2007 at a retreat in Australia, when I experienced my first meditation. I was touched by the beautiful connection that is possible when body mind and breath become one.
I was inspired, and feeling, perhaps for the first time in my life, a real connection to something greater than myself. I began a regular meditation practice, and rather than finding reasons not to do yoga, I longed for my daily practice.
I became certified to teach meditation, and, after retiring from a happy career teaching elementary school, I completed yoga teacher training, followed by a course in Ayurvedic lifestyle coaching.
Yet I still struggled, and in ways I didn't expect. It isn't that I expected yoga to transform my life so completely that I would always be happy, or that my life would stop including times of stress, disappointment, and heartache. It is more that having established a regular yoga and meditation practice, I had a more difficult time admitting that my life still held many struggles.
Yes yoga, meditation and the practices of Ayurveda have transformed the way that I live, feel, and breathe. What hasn't changed, at least so far, is that I am still human.
I remember listening to Jean Vanier speak a number of years ago where he said that we humans are broken, and that we needed to practice compassion to begin the healing. I am choosing to think of it in terms of having cracks in the container, rather than a broken one. The cracks, like the lines in our faces, tell the stories of our suffering, our laughter, and our lives. Does it make us less to admit there are cracks in our containers? I think that we are only able to repair the cracks when we first recognize that they are there.
I don't believe that we can reach middle age without loss, heartache, and disappointment. I have experienced great loss and have sometimes struggled with paralyzing sadness. The cracks in my container, like the lines in my face, are deep and significant. What I am finally coming to realize is that, while there are some things I would like to have gone differently, it is the surviving and learning from those cracks that create who we are. It is my deepest wounds that inspire my greatness compassion. It is my most profound sadness that has led to my deepest joy. Like Leonard Cohen would say, it is the cracks that allow the light to get in.
It is that same light that will guide me on my ever deepening journey with yoga. It is that same light that I will allow to shine on my struggles, my insecurities, and my mistakes. It is that light that will shine on my path, whatever direction it takes me.
Today, at 56, I feel like I have been given a new opportunity to create a life that I have always longed for: one full of peace, and of union. I have never before felt so in touch with my own body, mind, and spirit.
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Sherri Meyer is happily remarried, and enjoying travel, and time with her children and many wonderful grandchildren. She teaches yoga, and co-facilitates yoga/meditation/ayurvedic Retreats for women. For more information and her blog, see her website, Indriya Om Yoga or her find her on Facebook.