Ghosts, Gold, and Yoga

August 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

No one ever told me living with a ghost would be so easy.  I used to be terrified of ghosts, until I realized the true source of their power lies not in their unearthliness, but in the way they drag the past with them like rattling chains.  Ghost on my shoulder, ghost in my ear.  There is nothing scary in the whisper-thin memories that elude my desperate attempts to grab them midair and squeeze the life out of them.  They are simply my past.  I want to tell the ghost boy: give me my memories back.  Make it so I can stop hoping you return to life, full formed, like Athena springing from the forehead of Zeus. Let me rest, let me sleep in peace and not wake up with a ghost in my head and a fist around my heart.

There should be a statute of limitations on heartbreak.  After a certain amount of time, you are no longer able to be pierced by sorrow at a moment’s notice.  You wait it out and then your time has expired, you can go free, there is no hold on you now.  “Yes, the defense rests.”

I rest.  No longer on defense against memories, I rest, and I get up, and I walk away. I am free. My statute of limitations has come into play and these feelings are gone. You have no claim on me now, prosecutor.

Life has no statute of limitations on memories though. You just have to work through them, every single day.

Even when it’s hard, I keep being strong. I feel like heart-strength is a habit, just like doing yoga each week has given me the muscles I never had for push-ups. Yoga has taught me so much about myself.  Like: you have to keep trying, even when everything inside is crying for a break. When your core is hurting, you have to push through it.  Or, when you want to cry over what was, pick your head up instead. Hold that High Plank pose a little longer. Don’t send that heartsore email.

Feel the burn? It means you’re getting stronger. High push-up to low push-up, inhale to upward facing dog, exhale to downward facing dog. Move through it, just go. Don’t pause for a drink, just keep going. Don’t cry over a boy, don’t be jealous when you see wedding pictures, don’t hate yourself for being so small and petty and weak, just go, just move through it. Breathe. Pray. One pose to the next. One more day. Move. Breathe.

I think one of the reasons I have fallen so deeply in love with yoga is because it is relatively new to my life.  I started this class with my friend back in January, and so it holds no memories, no ghostly reminders.  In the hard work (and it is hard, it leaves me sweating and spent every week), there is only a sense of getting stronger.  Of becoming better, pushing myself forward.  And so it reflects into my day-to-day life.  I try to do all the right things: going on a date instead of sitting at home watching Netflix, reading my book about Elisabeth Leseur and her love for Christ and her husband, being the World’s Best Aunt to my adorable niece and nephew, going to morning Mass at least twice a week.  Through all of it, I’ve learned healing from a relationship is best done through other relationships, because we are human and are made for each other.  Healing is found in loving all the other people in my life with all that extra love I have now because he walked away from it.  It’s in the road trips to far-away friends that I have time to take now. It’s in the late night coffee-and-dessert talks with my mother and the bright sailboat afternoons in Toronto and the goofy dance parties with my sisters in Michigan.  Healing is in my yawning efforts to wake up early for 7AM Mass, because even though all my private prayers are tears and anger, at least being at Mass is saying “I’m here, Jesus, and I know you are too.”

I am slowly (oh, so slowly) coming to the understanding that I can glean wisdom and strength from my struggle -indeed, that it may even be my duty to do so- and that to be refined into gold means passing through fire.  This understanding, I think, is what will banish the ghost in the end.

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