One of my favorite gifts of my life-long commitment to yoga is that I actually feel what I’m feeling. One of my least favorite gifts of my life-long commitment to yoga is that I actually feel what I’m feeling. It used to be that I would have a feeling (or, honestly, a hint of a feeling) and if it wasn’t something that was particularly awesome, I would gloss over it, turn the page, look the other way, stuff it down, ignore it, or even worse, claim it as stupid or unimportant and dismiss it entirely. I cannot do that anymore. My feelings arise and I they are real and I cannot hide from them. No, wait, let me own this: I do not hide from them. Front and center, there they are. I have learned that feelings are not facts, and that has helped me tremendously, but still – they are feelings and they are strong and they hurt.
As I mentioned the other day, I have been raising 10 puppies. I never wanted puppies. My husband tried to convince me forever to get a puppy instead of a mature dog and I steadfastly refused. I mean, honestly, I have potty trained 2 humans, that was more than enough for me. Regardless, when Audrey came with extra unexpected baggage, I settled in for the long haul. I stayed up and awake with Audrey while she labored and birthed her pups – I even taught a 7am class after having not slept in 30 hours, thankyouverymuch. I drew on my doula days and it came naturally for me – I couldn’t and wouldn’t leave her unattended. I saw 8 of the 10 born(two were born while I was teaching.) My children saw some pups born. My husband witnessed leaving the room for a second only to return to find a newborn, still in the sack, puppy. Puppies don’t stay tiny and blind forever. They grow and start to eat and climb and tear things up. They start to poop. And poop. AND POOP. We built and outdoor run. They tore it down. We built another outdoor run. They tore that down. We built Fort Knox security fence run – they didn’t tear it down, but still found an escape hatch. My basement is covered in the poop of 10 puppies. We clean it up, they poop more. 2 weeks ago, they started going through 45 pounds of dog food every 5 days. It’s more than that now. We have ruined our washing machine with poo and pee covered bedding. We have lost almost 1/4 acre of grass. We have spent close to $700 on these little tykes in 8 weeks – money we didn’t necessarily have to give. We have lost sleep and sanity and freedom.
And we’re all falling apart when they leave.
This morning, the 2nd puppy of the pack went to his new home. In a few hours, another 2 will be leaving. Somewhere in there, a 5th might find their new home. We have already sent our only girl to her new place last week. It’s a bittersweet joy. I am tired of all the chaos. I am tired of losing sleep and money and a fresh-smelling home. I am ready to be done with the noise and the expenditure and the mess. And yet, when I think of a morning when I don’t stumble to the basement and let all of the barking, whining, squalling puppies out into the yard without the benefit of even peeing first, much less the benefit of a cup of coffee, I get a little wistful. I snuggle them, I play with them, I feed them, I bathe them (a 2 hour affair 2x a week,) …. I love them.
And now I say goodbye.
So, you ask, where is the yoga in all of this? One of the most profound parts of yoga I have experienced (and attempt to teach) is the concept of using what you need to use and letting all the rest go. Take Virabhadrasana 2 – you don’t need your jaw for that pose, so release it. You don’t need you tongue or your eyes, so release them. You don’t need shoulder tension, so let it go. I don’t need 10 puppies – I need to let them go.
In yoga, we learn from what comes up – and we might not always be able to predict what arises in our bodies, in our minds, our in our hearts. I couldn’t have predicted 10 puppies when I adopted a stray dog, but that’s what I got. After the weeks of lost sleep, lost money, and lost sanity, I could not have predicted that I’d bawl my eyes out as they left – and yet, that’s what I got. I have learned to stay in the moment, to feel my feelings, to simply BE with what is, and that is all due to my yoga practice.
Ir hurts when they leave, but I am so grateful to have had the experience at all. Good and bad. Light and dark. Joy and grief. Hatha, all the way. Yoga —- something that will never require a Good-bye.