The last few days have fueled lots of emotion for me because of the shooting in Connecticut. It was UNBELIEVABLE to me that it actually happened. But, the fact that it did happen made me think (a thousand times) that it could happen to us too. And then thinking about what could happen gives my heart a sort of dress rehearsal for it really happening and I imagine how sad, angry, scared, and overwhelmed I would feel….and I start to kind of feel it for real, as if it did happen. In those moments I have to keep reminding myself of my REAL life in the moment; making dinner, reading a book, walking the dog, whatever – that I was not even remotely involved. And thank God.
A little over a week ago I was in a really scary car accident with Dinah. It was very scary. Despite Dinah’s initial scream after it happened, she was okay. Absolutely okay. Not a shard of glass on her, singing jingle bells kind of okay. I could tell that I was going to learn what whiplash felt like, but I also knew that I was okay too. Plain clothes emergency people (volunteers maybe?) were the first on the scene and were so kind, loving, and concerned. Thank God for them. This one guy securely held a neckbrace on me for what seemed like 30 minutes. His arms must have gone numb with exhaustion, but he held on, telling me what was going on around me, sweetly asking me how I was about every 5 minutes, and reminding me that it was all going to be okay. The ambulance came and checked me and Dinah out and agreed that we seemed okay. I went to the urgent care center and the doctor confirmed that I would have whiplash, but that I was generally okay. They put a little microphone up to my body and I heard, for the first time, the strong and vibrant heartbeat of the little baby growing in my body. The doctor confirmed that this little baby wonder was okay. Yes, I did melt into a puddle of tears of relief and joy to hear the heartbeat. Maybe even a little right now.
Over the next few days I cried a lot. Replaying what actually happened in my mind was scary enough, but what made me lay awake at night and cry to hold Dinah was when I thought about what could have happened. There was a whole library full of stories running through my head of what could have happened and they were all dramatically worse than what actually happened.
What actually happened was scary, but we were both absolutely okay. What actually happened was quite amazing and wonderful. I only felt the whiplash for about 2 days and then I felt totally fine, physically. As I was feeling so much better physically, it became more apparent to me that I was living out of my head – following the cues that my fearful mind was sending me about what could have happened, as opposed to the reality of what actually happened. Checking in with how I actually felt in my body, reminded me again and again of what I knew to be true when the accident happened; that Dinah was okay and I was okay.
Let me say it once more – I am okay. This has been an experience that affirms for me the gift of having a practice like yoga. When overwhelmed with so much mental, emotional, and spiritual stimulation I have to slow down, squeeze my way out of my head, focus on my breath and how I actually feel in my body, remember what is really happening in my life, and how do I best live in it.
I can’t imagine how painfully difficult it must be to simply breathe at all for any of the parents and family members of those who died in Connecticut. Or for the people everyday for whom what could have happened really did happen. I am sure that the last thing they want to remember is what has really happened in their life.
And yet I still believe there is only relief, comfort, and more room to cry and scream when we find our breath, come back to our body, quiet our aching mind, and find some much needed rest in the Spirit.
I pray that you are okay too.
Peace on all our heads.