Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Om Hari Om, the year of the horse and the great circle of life

In the past four years that I have taught yoga, no class has been more important or special to me than the one I taught this past Saturday night. I hosted a memorial donation based yoga class at my studio Qi Denver to honor the life and celebrate my friend Cara. Her family was able to make it from out of town for the class as they were also coming in town to pack up her apartment and her things. The word yoga means "to yoke" or to bind and that's exactly what it did for all that could attend saturday - it gave us a reason to come together and to say good-bye.

The class itself was amazing and powerful. We sat in a circle, we held hands, we chanted. Cara's family brought her ashes and that of her dogs which were placed in the center of the circle where we had candles and flowers. I don't think Cara would have enjoyed being the center of attention but I do know she would have enjoyed having her dogs and family and friends together in one spot. She did her donation based yoga classes for an organization called, "Dogs with big paws" in that very same room a few years ago. Life is circular like that. We end where we begin. To have her brothers, sister, mom and dad and aunt there meant so much to me and the Qi community. To be able to talk with them and share stories about their daughter and hear stories from them and see photos they had brought gave me (and I hope others) a sense of peace. To see a community coming together to honor the life of one special person who hadn't even lived as many years as I have now was truly amazing. I don't think you every really process death or loss but you can send someone off right and that's what I wanted to do.

The day after Cara's memorial yoga class I had a baby shower to attend. While at the shower I just kept looking at the mother-to-be and thinking how happy and excited she looked for her adventure ahead. Here was a woman about to celebrate the life of a little baby girl and the day before I was with a family grieving the loss of theirs. When I look at my own daughter now, I cannot begin to think how I would feel if someday I lost her. Parents are supposed to die before their children and that's the natural circle of life. Yet, the burden of being a parent is that you cannot always protect your child and sometimes they pass away first. How hard it must be to go on living after that. To see one mom so happy and full of hope and joys for her daughters future and another so grief stricken by the loss of their daughter was almost too much for me to handle in one weekend. I was reminded that for everything the universe seems to give to one person, it also takes away from another.

2014 is the year of the yang wood horse. According to Karen Carrasco from the Western School of Feng Shui, there might not be a bigger shift of energies in the entire 60 year wheel of Chinese astrology than this one coming up. It is a shift from two Water years of deep introspection (2012 the year of the dragon and 2013 the year of the snake) to the extroverted year the wood horse brings. The past two years were about letting go (involuntarily or not), destabilization and chaos. This year being led by the horse is about stepping out of the clutter, stored memories and letting go of regrets. It's supposed to be a fast ride on this horse where we have to quickly become in tune to what we desire. The past few years were about destruction and saying goodbye and the new year is about starting over with a green wood cycle.

I see this shift in the cosmos all around me. I've lost friends and family members these past two years. I've had a baby and lost a piece of myself. We made the decision to sell our house and after the new year got it sold and here we are planning to move on to a rental house and towards our goal of financial freedom. I have friends all around me who are pregnant and heading full steam ahead towards their new lives and Charlotte herself is starting to crawl and become more independent by the day. The circle of life and of the universe begins anew and the feeling leaves me breathless.

When I look around at my house and think about leaving and moving I remember that I'm taking the memories with me. As Cara's family prepares to pack up her house and move her belongings back home with them I hope they realize the same. As Chad's grandfather paces around his house where Chad's grandmother use to be I hope he holds on to the memories he made in his 63 years of marriage as well. We have to trust that we have this new and hopefully energy to build on this year. As Karen Carrasco says, "Our hearts have had to endure a gauntlet of deconstruction through two Metal and two Water years, but the fiery Horse is about to change all of that. Within the extroverted "Green Horse" year, we will not only branch out with new growth, but we will be able to stoke the Fire element of love in every area of life."

My feeling after this weekend was the realization that all that matters in this life is love. Love is everything and it's all we have. It's what heals us through times of sorrow and it's what elates us in times of joy. The Beatles said it best: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

During Cara's memorial class at the end we chanted led by my friend Melissa. The chant was Om Hari Om which is the universal mantra that removes suffering. Perhaps that's why almost everyone told me after class that they were in sobbing tears as they chanted that night because it was so powerful. In our circle we were chanting to leave the suffering behind, to acknowledge the circle of life and how it pulses through us. Om Hari Om. What an appropriate way to say good-bye to everyone and everything we leave behind these past two years.


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