This morning I went to take the last yoga class I would take at a studio nearby, Shambhala East. I woke up feeling called to go to one class in particular.
Through all the communication I had received in the weeks prior about the space closing I had remained neutral. Accepting the change. It didn’t feel upsetting or devastating as it would have in the past. I assumed that meant I was okay with it or not attached to the space enough for it to be painful. I was proud of myself for how I was handling the news because I could remain grounded – nothing I had to brace against or try to fix or try to change. I didn’t have thoughts flooding in or trying to take me in one direction or another. It felt quite simple.
I was happy that I could see this not as bad news, but as something that expanded and contracted and might now expand in different ways again. My outlook felt so different to me because in the past my attachment to something would have meant the change or loss of it had to be painful. Isn’t it supposed to be painful? If it’s not, is it just that I don’t care?
The class was wonderful and as I lay there in savasana at the end I suddenly had image after image appear – memories of experiences held in the space. More memories than I realized existed – my first public yoga class offerings, the energy, people, movement, smiles all flashing by. Taking salsa classes last year and seeing the smile of the teacher and the other students. Workshops I’d attended and led. Leading my first yoga nidra the night we opened the space – following the footsteps of a long legacy of teachers who offered before me that night. Parties. Kirtans. A reunion with my yoga sisters. Conversations. Smiles. Hugs. The space itself. Each memory brought joy, happiness, fullness – and I allowed myself to stay with those powerful feelings. To circle back to them and rest on them.
An image of when my mom came to my class last year surfaced – her presence in the space with me meant so much. I could see us there together in class and then afterward, posing in silly poses with the arch. Laughing. This memory circled and repeated in the mix of the others.
As it did I felt a huge crack in my heart and it opened wider – deeper than ever before in this way. As if light was streaming out and in from my heart at the same time. And from the energy of those memories came and cycled through such a deep feeling of gratitude.
“I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful. Grateful. Grateful” surfaced and repeated – deepening and widening the energy even further.
Tears appeared – flooding up from my heart and releasing out. Wanting release. Not over something terrible or tragic that had happened but from all the healing flashes – moments spent with others sharing in this space. Sharing in the practice. The crack in my heart didn’t hurt. It was opening more and more with gratitude. Gratitude that was always in each of those moments at the time and perhaps was not realized in the same way in those past moments as it was today. The power of the emotion of gratitude was so powerful and strong, but I could stay with it. Experience it.
I was surprised. I didn’t expect any emotional response to come over the studio closing – there hadn’t been in the weeks before. I knew I cared about and for the space, but I didn’t question my neutrality. I had been proud of myself – not for being unemotional but for being able to step through the change and have it not feel like the end of the world. And yet there it was – all of this amazing emotion pouring forth – in such a different, powerful, joyful way.
For the first time ever when facing a change like this I wasn’t focusing on all the painful aspects – there weren’t any appearing for me to stick to. I know in the past I would have created them – the devastation and drama that would have felt like such a deep, painful loss. Feeling the ground of the studio being “taken away” from beneath me and struggling to hold on to something – anything. Easily finding the fear and uncertainty of what this change would bring – catastrophe of course – in order to keep clinging on. To keep feeding the energy of attachment and longing and misery at losing.
It never occurred to me through the news of the studio closing to rest on the moments I loved – not actively. Until they appeared and set in and took over offering a different kind of closure. A different kind of goodbye than what I’ve been used to in the past. Not one full of pain but one still so clearly full of caring and loving. An honouring of what the space brought to me and in that a more easeful way to let go – not filled with pain or regret but with a wide open heart that is working toward acceptance in new ways.
And it is because of the practice of yoga in community in this space and others – all the offerings, the exchanges of giving and receiving, the heart opening, the exploring, the changes in energy and thoughts – all growing and culminating together over time to make this new way of being possible for me. Creating space for this new way of practicing non-attachment – of letting go – full of immense gratitude and with a bright shining heart.