believe there is good in the world.

believe there is good in the world.

life lately.

The general consensus seems to be that it takes at least a year to grieve. Time goes by so quickly — it’s already been a month since my mother passed away. One month down, 11 more to go.

Life lately has been back to normal, for the most part. I’m back to work and back to teaching and am generally functioning as well as a human being should, save for the mom-sized hole in my heart. In the days and weeks following my mother’s death, my body felt stiff and achy and totally unyielding, and practice was the farthest thing from my mind, but these days I’m starting to move more and challenge my limits and remind myself how strong and open I can be. 

I wish I had some answers, some sense of how to navigate this situation, and the platitudes of “She’s in a better place" and "Everything happens for a reason" just don’t cut it. To be honest, sometimes the emptiness feels so vast that it makes my heart physically ache, and sometimes I feel so happy, so grateful, so privileged to be my mother’s daughter. So far all I can do is sit with the pain when it comes and just let the hot tears course down my face. Not to say that everything is all gloom and doom — in fact, I’ve been so wonderfully surprised by how much people care and will show up for you when you need them, and how resilient that we as humans can be. 

It’s funny how the experience of death takes you through the entire spectrum of what it means to be alive: from the depths of sadness and despair to joy and celebration and guilt and anger and everything in between. Life is so beautiful and so fragile, and often we lose sight of what really matters in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes we need to be steered back to the right path. Sometimes we need to be shaken to our senses. Indeed, hard times don’t just change us; they reveal who we are. 

When I was young, I asked my mom where babies come from. She told me that when two people love each other very, very much, they bring a baby into the world. I remember thinking to myself that I never wanted to love somebody because I was afraid of making a baby. Aside from daintily side-stepping the challenging task of explaining the intricacies of copulation and reproduction to a five-year-old, what my mother taught me was that of great love, we bring forward beautiful things. I know now that without a doubt, above all else, to love and be loved is the greatest privilege. 

Life lately has been back to normal, for the most part, but still difficult. Life lately has been infused with love and gratitude and heartbreak and sorrow and a pair of new shoes (retail therapy) and lots of chocolate (chocolate therapy). I’m trying to stay human and stay present for it all, whether that means laughing hysterically or sobbing into my pillow. Sending out so much love to everyone who needs it today, because we’re all in this together. 

true yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life.
yoga is not to be performed, yoga is to be lived.
yoga doesn’t care about what you have been, yoga cares about the person you are becoming.
yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.

aadil palkhivala

blessed, brokenhearted, and somewhere in between.

There it was, written in blue ballpoint ink on my bucket list: Practice yoga in beautiful Bali. Then it happened — I co-led my first yoga retreat in Bali and literally spent two weeks living the dream surrounded by an incredible group of women. Charged with the magic of Ubud, we learned how to laugh, love and let go, and I felt so lucky and so happy that when I walked into a jewelry store on Hanoman road and saw a necklace with the word “Blessed” in Sanskrit, I knew I had to have it.

Then as soon as my plane landed I received a phone call from my sister telling me my parents were in the hospital and my heart sank. After travelling for 30 hours, when all I wanted was a hot shower and a soft bed, I went straight from the airport to the emergency room to see my mama — my beautiful, healthy mama — comatose and on a ventilator. No amount of yoga, pranayama or meditation could have ever prepared me for this moment, one that was so sudden and so shocking that it seemed to defy all logic. My heart broke into a million pieces, seeing my mother in that condition and watching my father break down before my eyes.  

The next week was a blur of driving back and forth from the hospital, talking to doctors and nurses, crying, trying to convince my dad to eat something, and frantically researching my mother’s prognosis, which the doctor could only suggest was not good. On the fifth day, I got a call from the hospital. My mother’s blood pressure was dropping fast, and we should get there soon. I ran to the car and drove to the hospital with shaking hands and eyes filled with tears, where I held my mom’s hand until her heart stopped beating, still wearing that stupid necklace in some cruel twist of fate.

I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I would come back from Bali and never be able to see or speak to my mother again. There was so much I wanted to tell her, and I miss her all the time. I miss her cooking. I miss her bright, sparkly laugh. I miss picking up the phone and calling her to talk about my mundane life.  Sometimes my mind runs away from me with “Should haves” and “What ifs”, even though I know that kind of thinking won’t change anything. 

Last week, the kitchen was filled with sympathy bouquets, and the sweet floral aroma was almost sickening. Now, all the flowers are beginning to die, serving as a reminder that life just continues to go on, and that death is a natural part of the process of living. 

Slowly, I’m starting to pick up the pieces. I start teaching again next week, and as much as I’m looking forward to being back in the studio again, I hope I can keep myself together. I still wear my necklace every day, and try to remind myself of all I have to be grateful for.

I feel grateful to know without a doubt that I made my mama proud and that she led a good, honest life. I know that I am like my mother in so many ways, and I hope to emulate her warmth, her kindness, her unconditional love. I feel grateful to have a support system of people who care about me. I feel grateful to have known the depth of a mother’s love. We are all blessed in so many ways, small and large, and despite the hardships that come our way, to be able to live and make our mark on the world is still an honour and a privilege.

So here I am, somewhere in between blessed and brokenhearted. Blessed to be my mother’s daughter, brokenhearted to have lost her so soon. Humbled and devastated by the chaos of the universe. Finding the balance in between. 

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot

choice.

I’ve been struggling lately. With small things like grappling between staying home where it’s warm and cozy or bundling up and going to the studio to practice, and with bigger issues pertaining to what the meaning of life is and what I have to offer the world and so on and so forth. I feel like I’m teetering on the precipice of change, and I have to plunge forward in one direction or another, but right now taking even the smallest step just feels so hard

There are days when it seems like there’s nothing left to do but weep at the state of the world, at the way we treat one another, at the fact that we can take the most important things for granted. There are lots of moments when I wonder 'Why bother?', when I feel like I’m putting out so much more than I’m getting back, or when I literally have no idea what my next move should be when life seems to be making perfect sense for everybody else. I know I’m not alone in this, that there are times when things just feel more difficult than usual, that it is part of the human experience. 

I was out for dinner last night and happened to overhear the conversation at the table behind me, where a man was listing, in excruciating detail, everything that was wrong with his job. And as much as a small part of me wanted to lean in and commiserate, the better part of me (the part that knows better) just wanted to give the guy a hug and ask him what he could do to improve his situation. 

Because the better part of me knows that we get to choose the good we put into the world, even if it’s just an extra dollar in the tip jar or a heartfelt note of appreciation. A change in outlook. An unsaid apology released. A listening ear. But the fact that every moment is a choice can also make every moment a struggle. Sometimes being kind can feel more difficult than being spiteful. Sometimes letting go is so much harder than holding on, and our ability to press onward can shrink under the pressure of giving up. The beautiful and difficult part is, we get to choose

So, today, my choice is to share the struggle. To simply sit and breathe for a while and feel where the struggle arises. To get on the mat and invite my practice to crack me open and let the struggle pass through. To cling to threads of hope and happiness with blind faith that everything will work out. My choice is to eat tiramisu for lunch and sit down and write an honest blog post and tell my sister I love her. My choice is to keep trying to put more good out there, because that’s what I have to offer. And somehow, within the context of choice, things start to make just a little bit more sense.  

the journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel.

let me offer this again, in reverence to your life force:

the journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel.

and again, with respect to your potential:

the journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel.


danielle laporte