Sunday, May 2, 2010

Unlatching the Thing.

At Lucia's last parent-teacher conference, in discussing her periodic 5-year-old meltdowns, her teacher Julie said, "Sometimes she just needs to get to the cry." I have thought about this sentence a thousand times in the last three months.

I always tell students that crying in class is not bad. It is actually good. If your practice is making you cry, then, even if you don't know what you're crying about, you need to cry. Don't analyze it, just do it.

I just finished a book called The Sky Below by Stacey D'Erasmo. There is one line in the book that stung me. "The thing in me unlatched." I read it ten times and then I put a post it on page 95 so I could read it again later.

As I read the words, "The thing in me unlatched", I had a flash of clarity. "Unlatched." Getting to the cry. Same thing. Letting it all out or in or through. "The thing"--the heart, the ego, the breath.

Generally, I take great comfort in recognizing that my struggles are no bigger or more important than anyone else's. Life is hard sometimes. It just is. It's hard if you're rich. It's hard if you're poor. It's hard if you are thin or fat or do yoga or smoke cigarettes. It's hard if you don't have kids and hard if you do.

AND, while the "life is hard" attitude serves me most of the time, I can see now that it isn't always what I need. Everyone needs to find a way to let "the thing unlatch", whatever it is for us in any particular moment. Maybe it is just giving ourselves permission to cry. Or listening a little more carefully to the feeling that comes when we are misunderstood. Maybe it is leaning into the very big feelings instead of holding them at arm's length. I'm still figuring this one out. Trying to find the thing. Figuring out how to unlatch.

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