As grief swept across our nation again last weekend, I was stopped in my tracks - tears literally flowing onto my Yoga mat as the entire class took in the news that our teacher's hometown of Dayton had been attacked by more senseless violence.
My very strong and influential teacher could barely make it through the class. But as we continued with the breath and postures of Yoga, we were all reminded that we can be both strong on the inside and real with our emotions.
These tragedies are painful beyond measure, but when we get real with how we feel, we can transform tragedy into medicine. For me the medicine came in the form of this heart painting and a stirring inner call to action for me to take a bigger step into supporting the deeper illness I see when I look at our ailing national community. I've been reflecting on the truth that this is about 'Us,' all of us. Energetically we are not separate, even though it feels that way sometimes. Similar to the physical body and its many functioning units we call cells, when there is sickness in some, it ripples into the whole system. When there is dysfunction in some of our cells - in some in our human community - it leads to disease. In the body, we call it cancer.
We cannot escape from this fundamental truth - that we are a part of the whole. We are all suffering from a social disease. The only way wholeness can be restored begins with FEELING, really giving ourselves the space we need to grieve so we can move these energies through our hearts and physical bodies so they don't make us sick.
When we are real with our emotions, and feel the support of our loved ones, we actually become stronger. My day last Sunday after the waves of the third shooting swept through started as tears on my Yoga mat and continued with more time to process the emotions and questions that moved through me. I chose to process with my paintbrush. Painting this heart image with the radiant moonlight in the background was definitely personal, but in it I also was feeling our national community and I offered brushstrokes of prayer for the victims and their families.
As one of healer teachers would often say, "You've got to feel it to heal it."