Today I was walking to yoga and had an encounter.
Speaking of yoga for a moment: I’m glad I went even though I didn’t really want to… I go through the same thing every damn time: I want to go, but I don’t want to go.
I don’t want to get out of my warm bed or my warm tub and do that scooching across the cold hardwood floors (to find my clothes that I didn’t put away after laundry day) with my butt that’s too big hanging out of a towel that’s too small.
I just want to stay where it’s comfortable.
But I did the math while I soaked in the epsom salt bath until the last possible minute, and found clean warm clothes and jumped in.
Because ultimately, I want the results that yoga gives me: better posture, greater strength, renewed perspective…
So, I went.
As I walked down Main Street to my studio, I passed old men holding the leashes for a community of three-legged rescue dogs who hang out while the seniors sip strong coffee from Javatini’s… I passed waiters and dishwashers outside of the restaurants that line the 200 block, who were waiting for the doors to open so they could start their work day… And I passed women on the way to their barre class — something I just don’t understand the joy of, probably because I donated all of my core strength to my children on the days when they were born.
But this morning, I passed a little boy, holding his grandma’s left hand while she steered the infant on a stroller with the other hand. The 4 year-old was stepping and looking down, stepping and looking down and as they walked toward me, I heard him say, “The whole world is cracked, Grandma!”
I wondered for a second if the child was an oracle and if I should turn around and follow him for a while instead of working on my Warrior 2 pose…
I saw the furrowed brow on his face and then, his grandma, as she paused to try to understand. She glanced down in the direction he was facing and sounded relieved, “Oh, you mean the sidewalk has cracks in it.” I smiled at her ability to interpret “kid-ese” and carried on.
I thought of that little boy while I was on the mat and since then as I’ve moved about the cabin of my life today… how easy it is to judge the whole world by the experience we’re in.
When we’re in need, all we can see is our desperation for that job or that rent check or our luck to change so we can have some relief.
When we’re in pain, like the throbbing of a headache or the spasming of a back muscle or that fire-hot poker of sciatica burning down our legs, we get defeated by the relentlessness and forget what it’s like to feel well.
When we’re in grief from the break-up of a marriage or the loss of a loved-one or a beloved pet, we can’t imagine why every business isn’t closed and every flag isn’t flying at half-mast. How could the world not be as devastated as we are!
Our current situations can feel so all-consuming sometimes and give us this myopic view of “this is all there is and there will never be anything other than this.”
The whole world is cracked.
We’re going to talk about this more next week as we focus the next few weeks on a series called “Perspectives”
But here’s what I want to leave us with today: A question.
Is there anything you’re going through right now that feels like it’s never going to end because you can’t see one in sight?
That everywhere you walk right now is just one, long, cracked sidewalk?
Whether it’s a health condition
Or marriage dynamic
Or parenting issue
Or financial stress
That you just can’t see how or when or why it would ever change?
I felt that way when the doctors told me at 27 to get my affairs in order.
And the day my husband and I separated.
And the day my father died.
I even felt that way when I stepped on the scale and it said “270” after gaining over 130 pounds in that one year from undiagnosed Hashimoto’s.
Just stepping on the scale and wondering how that number is ever going to go down can make you feel like the whole world is cracked.
If that’s where you are, here are some words that may speak to you in this moment. (Some won’t, by the way… some may seem trite — if they do, they’re not your words, so feel free to move on to the next sentence…)
Imagine someone coming up to you right now and saying,
“I see you — and I see why this is so f*cking painful right now. I’d be in pain, too. I’m sorry…”
“I know this feels like forever… I just want you to know, it’s not going to be, even if it feels like it right now.”
“I feel your hopelessness. It’s hard to get up when you feel like that. You don’t have to figure this all out right now. Just be where you are for a little bit. I’ve got you.”
“You’re not alone. I’m here and I get it. Not only that, there are like a scrillion unseen angels and invisible supports that are with you right now and in the middle of the night when it’s the hardest.. They all want you to know how deeply loved and cared for you are.”
“Things can change. They will change. This isn’t the end of the story, even though it’s a really painful part.”
Sometimes, when we’re going through something like this we just want to be seen and known and understood. Sometimes we want to hear that “This too shall pass.” Sometimes we want to slap people upside the head who say anything like that.
Maybe this is the biggest comfort right now:
At some point, each of us goes through a time that feels endlessly painful. So, you’re in company with a great big world that understands what it’s like to feel like the whole world is cracked.
This is your reminder today, without any fancy blog-post pithy endings that you’re not alone and to keep breathing.
We’ll talk more next week.
Today I was walking to yoga and had an encounter.