This morning I should have done the second of two yoga exams, the culmination of a year’s teacher training. So I am officially just one hour away from being a fully-fledged yoga teacher. One hour and how knows how long?
I can teach, I have insurance, I’ve been legally ok to teach for 5 months but I was, as were my fellow trainees, looking forward to that final practical exam as the full stop in the (first lot) of training and the development of the work I want to do in yoga.
I haven’t trained to become a yoga teacher as my job, but to add to the other things I already do or care about. I have ideas – yoga and writing, yoga and creativity, yoga and breast cancer recovery – all of ‘my’ things have benefited from yoga and I trust they might for others.
And so, today, at 9am when I would have done my final practical exam, I grieved a little. I felt the loss. I didn’t want to feel it, it felt a little petty and silly to feel it, given everything else going on, but it was a real feeling. It is a real feeling. So I chose to allow it.
I know it’s not life and death. I’ve had cancer twice, of course I know my final yoga exam is not that important. I also know that the perspective granted by life-threatening illness does pass, we get back to minding about silly things and taking sunsets for granted. As we should, living life at the edge of the constant shock that is true awareness of mortality is terribly hard and often causes a great deal of anxiety.
They are not everything, our small losses, but they are something. And it is OK to acknowledge our small losses while we feel the ongoing uncertainty and fear we are all living with. If we fail to acknowledge the small losses, they are likely to accumulate and come back to bite us.
I shared this small loss on Twitter this morning asking what other people were sad or sorry about missing and so many people got back about their small losses. ‘Small’ from not being able to run a long-trained-for marathon to a 4-year-old unable to have a birthday party with friends to not being able to scatter the ashes of a lost partner with dear ones to being alone and craving the physical contact of a hug.
It’s OK to feel the small losses. Allowing the small losses is useful for our general mental health and will help us to hold space and strength for those who need us most and need us well – the health workers, the ill, the bereaved.
Take care. Stay home if you can and if it’s safe to do so. Thank you if you are a key-worker keeping us going.