This is who I am
My daily yoga practice is my form of self-care, the place that I go, in solitude with my thoughts, to take care of my soul.
In this solitude with my thoughts, I have been doing a lot of reflecting about a contemplated life. On why I started to write, and what I’ve written. On that delicate dance between vulnerability and hope. On who I’ve met and connected with. On the stories that I have shared with you, and the stories that you have shared with me.
This week in my yoga classes, my yoga teacher introduced the ‘King of the Mountain’ pose. She spoke of the pose as a metaphor for our own mountains – the coming to terms with our vulnerabilities and still standing tall to say ‘This is me. Laid bare. See my strengths. See my weaknesses. This is who I am. I will not apologise.’
It has, of course, resonated with me deeply.
The writer Anne Lamott has said that pretending that things are nicely boxed up and put away robs us of great riches. Society likes to box up grief and loss and vulnerability because they are messy. But they are real.
Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who passed away from lung cancer in March 2015. In his memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, which was published posthumously, he explored what makes life worth living in the face of death. His widow, Lucy Kalanithi, continues his story. In a TED talk last year, she considered what this will mean for their young daughter and what she will tell her when she is older:
Cady, engaging in the full range of experience – living and dying, love and loss – is what we get to do. Being human doesn’t happen despite suffering. It happens within it. When we approach suffering together, when we choose not to hide from it, our lives don’t diminish, they expand.
Lucy Kalanithi also said:
Our job isn’t to fight fate, but to help each other through. Not as soldiers but as shepherds. That’s how we make it OK, even when it’s not. By saying out loud, by helping each other through.
We need to connect and open up our boxes because if we don’t, how can we ever have any chance of finding great riches? A contemplated life is who I am. This is why I write.