A few weeks ago, I taught a beach yoga class that I will never forget. A beautiful strong class.We went into a very deep meditation. We were all blanketed in this magical feeling, and for many minutes after class officially ended, we sat silently, softly smiling, everyone feeling that ‘Yoga high’.
Well, that high ended with an accident, a horrible accident, that shocked us all, and left me confused, frazzled, and ultimately feeling very guilty.
The ocean was wild that day and the lifeguards had put up a red flag. It was warm out, blue skies, but very rough water.
One of my students (who is also a friend, healer, and a teacher),he walked to the shoreline, and decided to dive into the water. He unknowingly dove into very shallow water and his shoulder hit the sand very hard. He came up with his arm hanging several inches lower than it should have been, and his collar bone sticking out, it was grossly out of place. It felt like this weird nightmare, caught in between these two worlds, and I really didn’t know what to do.
The lifeguard came over and kind of knocked us back into reality. He was grounded in the situation, and he gave us firm instructions. He also said to my student, in his macho but caring lifeguard voice ” Dude, I know you are in a lot of pain, but we saw that dive and we all thought you broke your neck. You are very lucky.” I am sure he didn’t feel very lucky. And as reality sat in, so did my guilt.
My student was rushed to the hospital, and had to have surgery. And I kept thinking, “if he hadn’t come to my yoga class, none of this would have happened.”
I have tried to remind myself that I didn’t instruct him to dive into that shallow water, but the guilt is still there. The concern is there. The pain is there. The memory of this beautiful man, soaking wet with a horrible injury, is still is fresh in my mind. And I have to process and work through that feeling that somehow it was my fault..
I have tried to remind myself that although this has changed his life, it likely has put his life on a track that could only open up because of this accident. It was the tragedy of my sons seriously broken arm, that forced me to homeschool him, and ultimately allowed us to take a trip to the Azores, a trip that changed our lives, and led to the birth of my daughter. A beautiful path opened out of a very painful situation. There is a way to look at this situation (any situation) and someday understand the reason. Because there is a reason behind everything. But just because my student will get through this doesn’t mean it isn’t insanely painful. I know it is.
Recently, I have had two very close friends experience intense tragedies, both involving death, in nightmarish ways. My heart goes out to them.
We all experience misfortune. And right now, in this moment, my heart goes out to anyone and everyone experiencing grief, loss, sadness, guilt, pain, or fear. Experience it. Surrender to it. Pray. Love. Forgive.
Life and death are mysterious…We can be jolted out of our bliss at any moment. In an accident or even death. Samsara. This life is impermanent. We only have so many breaths. Everything is in a constant state of transformation. Death included.
I have been doing a meditation about death, and it is surprisingly healing. When we realize our life is impermanent, we try to make each moment count.We live each breath. We see the beauty in the sunrise and the sunset.