I would say this is the week that broke me, but I am still here and still very much whole. I am not broken, and neither are you. We are whole, even in the moments when we feel shattered. We forget pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we give them away. Sometimes we drop them because we are too busy carrying pieces not meant for us or that don’t belong to us. In the moments when we feel broken it is time to remember and gather the pieces that remind us of how beautifully whole we truly are. It’s a task that requires patience, kindness, deep listening without expectations, and unconditional love.
I may have gone seven or eight days without washing my hair (it’s kind of hard to keep track of days and things like when the last time shampoo and your scalp hung out these days). I had take-out three nights in a row because grocery shopping and cooking just felt too hard. The one meal I did cook for myself was made with a jar of sauce that was past its expiration date and pretty questionable. Whether that meal or stress caused a severely upset stomach remain unknown. I filed my taxes, albeit while drinking copious amounts of wine. Whether it was the wine or the government to blame for I, a yoga teacher, owing the government money while Jeff Bezos does not remains another unknown. I cried more this week than I have in a very long time. I spent a lot of time just staring at the wall or out the window without actually seeing anything. I also spent a lot of time scrolling through my social media feeds. Responding to any messages felt so overwhelming that by Tuesday I had simply ceased even trying. I was so physically exhausted by Friday that what was intended to be one day or rest turned into three days of no physical activity whatsoever. Denying myself that natural endorphin rush did nothing to uplift my mood, but you probably already guessed that already.
I did allow myself time to rest without guilt. I did turn off all my electronic devices and just lay in bed reading for two hours while my cat napped next to me one afternoon. I did work out four days out of seven. I did clean my apartment. I did hold space for myself to mediate and not just feel but begin to process some of the emotions that erupted like geysers this week. I did connect with friends so I wasn’t adrift or drowning in the sea of my own uninterrupted thoughts and feelings.
It has felt like the end of the world (maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, maybe I’m not) is on the horizon for months now. The losses just keep piling up, lives, jobs, relationships, yoga studios, simply existing in the ways we had all grown accustomed to. Alongside are the losses of safety, identity, community, everyday routines, familiarity in one’s own life, any sense of certainty, and groundedness. I would say control, but we never really have control in this life.
The last four months have been anything from challenging and uncomfortable to flat out devastating depending on circumstances and levels of privilege. Brooklyn, NY has been a particularly interesting place to be amidst the pandemic and public outcry and protests that erupted after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers. Time to pause and process seemed evasive until recently.
With the arrival of summer comes a slower pace. And while this summer looks nothing like the one I had planned or previous summers, there is a sense of settling into a slower, more contemplative pace, even amidst a pandemic that is nowhere near over and the far reaching (still not far enough) rippling (still not strong enough) effects of all the protests and ensuing conversations.
It was one bit of unsurprising yet horrific news that was my tipping point this week. Pieces spilling all over, forcing me to slowly begin to gather all the little bits examining what was there. What had I been holding on to for dear life? What had been neglected? What was lost? What was never mine to begin with? And what will never be lost? The pieces don’t fit together just yet. With so much uncertainty piecing together something new feels scary and overwhelming. That being said, I am still whole, even as I stand with seemingly random bits in my hands and pieces scattered about at my feet. I am not broken or less than because I am still trying to figure it out. And neither are you.