Out of nowhere, the heart hurts.  A tiny event can trigger a well of emotion that’s been cleverly hidden.

I’ve often heard it said, and I do believe, that when done with proper alignment, yoga postures don’t create sensation inside your body.  They illuminate what’s already there inside.  A camel pose, a deep backbend and stretching of the front side of your body, makes you want to cry, or scream, or puke because of what you’ve held on lockdown inside your chest.  Because what you’ve been holding onto is being shifted and broken apart.

There is something that’s inherently violent about this process.  Tearing, ripping, severing, rupturing- these are other words for opening up, and often it doesn’t feel gentle as it’s happening underneath your skin.  Sometimes it feels like a giant hand has picked up the snow globe of my life and given it a brutal shake.  Pieces of me are raining down all around, and I can’t hold on to any of them.

And then I breathe.  The kettle of panic still threatens to boil over.  My exhale is a shaky, rattling sob.

I take another.  Ragged, shallow.  But the oxygen is flowing.  And for the moment, this is the best I can do.  It has to be enough.

Four, five, six breaths go by, each a shade calmer than the last.

The sensation might linger for hours or pass by the next time I sit up.  I don’t try to change it.  I know from experience that’s a waste of energy and an exercise in frustration.  I also know that eventually, how I feel will change and morph into something else.  I can be patient.  I’ve lived through long winters before, storms I thought I might never see the end of.

I’m not sure the why is important, that I be able to pinpoint the particular memory.  Do we even work that way?  MaybeI don’t have to relive the memory to let it go.

Eventually, the snow stops falling from the sky and everything settles down to earth.  I put on warm clothes and go out to shovel the sidewalk.

Be well.

*photo courtesy of Pinterest