There are many things I cherish about this job I have.  One of the small, but precious perks is the subsidized Monday night yoga class–right here in my office–just downstairs.    It makes it possible for me to get to the mat.  No excuses.

Today was an impossibly hard class.  Lots of work on the core muscles.  Last week we were all about stretching our heart centers.  (I loved that class)  This week we were all about making them strong (not to mention our legs, backs and arms).  I have to admit when I rolled off my mat to move my body up to sit at the end of the class I felt a bit wobbly and shaken.

Every time we moved into a pose, I would think “wow this is hard”.  By breath #3 I would begin to feel my whole body begin to shake.  By breath #4 I would think “I can’t possibly do this anymore.  I don’t think I can make it.”  I would be tempted to come out of the pose one breath early, or to cheat or wiggle.  There were a few points when I was even tempted to sneak out of class and call it a night.  But instead,  I just took one more breath–I told myself all I need to do is breathe again and try to stay, however painful it may be.  And then just when I thought I would lose it, it was over.  And we would move on, to another challenging, but different pose.  And it would start again.  Everytime I thought it was all going to fall apart and that I would topple on the floor in a wobbly heap I would take one more breath and I could stay until we finally could shift.

I have noticed that really when my world feels like its collapsing, when my whole foundation starts to shake, I tend to want to stop what I am doing, change position, head for the hills, quit, leave.   Yeah, some weeks are a little bit like my yoga class.  Remembering to take one more breath, if and when I can do it can make all the difference.

Max has been in a tough place.  He has been needy, so needy but not in a cuddly way.  He tests my patience  over and over again.  He tests the limits.  He seems to want to test how much I love him, whether I will forgive him.  He regresses with behavior that we haven’t seen in years.  He feels so sad and out of control and angry that Juan and I aren’t going to be together.  He blames me and pushes me away.  He clings.  He pushes.  I am exhausted and my heart aches for him.  Breathe…change.

I have been in a tough place.  The good news is that for the first time I really feel as though I have let go of my grief over loss of Juan.  But with that grief comes another realization.  In letting go of the grief, in letting the ghost of that relationship, I am now standing a bit more naked and vulnerable.   Grief is a very powerful shield with the power to keep you safe from the pain of rejection, the pain of loss.  With it gone I feel a bit raw.  A bit wobbly.  A bit off balance.  Inhale…exhale…

There has been the advice from so many well-meaning friends, friends who care deeply about Max and I.  They speak from a place of observing, not knowing what it is like to sit where we sit.  I try hard to hear what they have to say through the eyes of their concern for us, but reflecting back on how the words played off my own fear, it feels a little like judgement, a little like exasperation.  It burns a bit.  I want to react, to run away, to leave this place, this impossible difficult stretch, this uncomfortable uncomfortable place but instead  I close my eyes and breathe.  Just one more breath…

There is the jealousy that bubbles up in me when my happily married friends try to empathize with single motherhood and I know that they can’t.  Their sweet attempts to relate to our day-to-day completely miss the point of our experience. They have a partner to share the burden with, their children don’t know the pain of abandonment, at night when their ass is whooped from the hard work of parenting, they can lay down their head in the arms of their beloved and feel restored.    I am so happy that they have what they have but sometimes the jealously makes me feel so uncomfortable I want to run for the exit.  Instead I breathe–one more breath and it passes.

There is the reality that when mechanical systems break down it all happens at once.  There was broken pipe in the basement that flooded our rec room, pooling up around the piano and the big screen TV.    There was the hot water heater who’s pilot went out for the first time since Juan left.  The flat tire on the car.  The oil leaking from the engine.  The brake light that won’t work.  All things that are so out of the realm of my knowledge.  Things that make me need to strain my already tired brain.   Things that make me scared.  But I take one more breath, reach for the wall to get a little support, and then…I shift.

There was the week of migraines just when I needed to be at the top of my game at work.  The pain that would not even go away with the heaviest of drugs.   The echo of the headache that stayed behind my eye even when I was feeling at my best.  Inhale…yes…exhale.

 Tonight during class I did one last backbend and then we came down into Savasana pose, the corpse pose.  Tonight I really understood why it is called the corpse pose.  I felt so beaten down as I lay there, sore and tired.  I had pushed myself to my limit.  Every bit of my body ached. 

After meditation, I rolled up my mat.  Tonight I will sleep well.  I know deep in my soul that tomorrow my heart and body will be a tiny bit stronger, even if I won’t quite be able to perceive it, even if my legs and back still complain about the storm we just went through.  Tonight I can just rest in the knowledge that it all eventually passes.

I breathed right through it and its over.  It always just takes one more breath.