Today is a strange blend of grief and joy, sadness and celebration. I am graduating from yoga teacher training this afternoon along with 10 of my friends. We’ve spent nine months studying together, and while I feel so content, happy to be done, to finally become a certified teacher, so lucky to have spent this time falling in love with my fellow students and teachers and deeper in love with yoga, it comes with heartache because it is also an ending.
At the same time as our graduation ceremony, they are holding Ann’s memorial. As I’ve said before, Ann fought cancer so hard and for so long, but it finally got to be too much. She’s one of the strongest, toughest, and yet softest people I’ve ever met. She’s the reason I kept practicing yoga, showed up to class at 6:30 am three times a week for years. Even if I was too busy or tired or the weather was bad or I didn’t feel like it, I went because I knew I’d get to see Ann. She made me laugh, made me try harder. And now she’s gone. I’m teaching my first yoga classes and she won’t be there. And because my graduation is scheduled for the same time as her service, I’m going to miss saying a formal good-bye, sharing my grief with others who loved her — and yet, I know that she would understand.
Life is just this, staying open to whatever arises and knowing when it’s time to let go, a mix of grief and joy, sadness and celebration. As the always wise Pema Chödrön says, “The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” May we make room for all of it, let it be what it is and let it go when it’s time. May we make our way towards a healing space today.