"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." - Herman Hesse
Revealing my own weakness has been the most difficult part of this whole heart-condition business. In my personal life I have usually been the shoulder to cry on, rather than the crier. At work, I spend 90% of my day comforting clients and assuring them all the event disasters that haunt their nightmares will never come true in real life- at least not on my watch. Recently though, I've had a really hard time controlling my emotions. Forward-bending in yoga class makes my eyes well up with tears. Thinking of my sweet nieces' angelic little faces makes me want to call them up and cry into the phone. The man at the coffee cart having my drink-of-choice ready for me before I even walk up then calling me sweetheart makes me want to hug him and hold him for an awkwardly long period of time. Don't even get me started on listening to Stevie Nicks in the office. No phone calls can be accepted when "Landslide" is on.
With only seven days until heart surgery, I guess it's only normal to be a little unhinged but it's really forced me to think about how I typically manage my feelings. Why did I ever need to be so "hinged"? Has my increased vulnerability made me any less strong? I get that crying all the time could make me seem unstable or unprofessional but there is a really fine line between self-control and suppression that I now realize I was crossing.
You know that scene in "A League of Their Own" when Tom Hanks barks at a sobbing Kit, "there's no CRYING in BASEBALL" as she sniffles and sobs and emotes way more than her male coach is able to handle? I've realized that I have an invisible Tom Hanks living inside of me chastising me for my lack of mental toughness. Recently though, even he has eased up on me and all that once was suppressed is coming out. The feelings are free-flowing and mostly they are not fear or sadness, which surprised me, considering what I've got going on. Instead the primary emotion coming up is love. Love, thankfulness and appreciation. Every song sounds a little more beautiful. Every kind gesture feels that much more thoughtful. I feel a little shaky, but mostly I feel invigorated and alive and overflowing with gratitude for many things I've long taken for granted. Even as I type this my vision is getting cloudy, tears are starting to flow, and I am silently thanking Tom Hanks for giving me permission to just LET GO.
We all get stuck. We all hold on. We all want to appear strong, brave and impenetrable but by holding back what we deem to be negative qualities, we may also be holding back beautiful qualities that make us human. There can be no strength without softness. This is something that I have heard in yoga class for years, but am just beginning to apply to my life off the mat. Yoga Sutra 2.46 says "Stirum Sukham Asanam" or that the asana/posture should be steady but also comfortable. Sustaining difficult yoga postures is no different than enduring a difficult period of life. We need to be firm, yet flexible. Fully engaged but also at ease. Finding the "sukha" or ease to compliment my "stirha" or strength may very well be the focus of the rest of my life. How thankful I am for the message that my heart has sent me so loudly and clearly!
"Water flows humbly to the lowest level. Nothing is weaker than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, Nothing surpasses it."