Aparigraha is the Yama of letting go, ‘non grasping’. I’ve had a lesson this week in accepting what is, rather than wishing for what I would prefer, and it’s a hard one.
In this context, I had expectations of how my weekend would pan out. Friday night, dinner with the GTS*. Saturday, the workshop that Anna and I had prepared for since December. Sunday, morning yoga and a day pottering around at home with the child and the man. I’d spent Friday getting all the last bits ready for the workshop, preparing food, and double checking everything was ready. The GTS had been a bit under the weather that week, but nothing unusual- a thing he suffers with from time to time (no, not man flu!!).
On Friday night we went to bed as usual, but I woke up at about one o’clock and he wasn’t in the bed. He said he was in a lot of pain and was more comfortable on the sofa. About two o’clock his breathing said he was in agony and so I took him into A&E.
He ended up being admitted. The chronic problem had become acute and then an emergency and he could have died from it, left untreated. So, here: gratitude. Thanking whatever higher powers are out there and woke me up, allowed us to be seen quickly enough, allowed the medicines to work. Gratitude too for the fact that it wasn’t a worse prognosis. Those of you who know me will know that my parents were both diagnosed with and then died from cancers in the last decade, both before the age of 70, so this experience of another loved one being so very ill has been a frightening one.
Back to this art of letting go. Because the GTS is usually so hardy and healthy, a part of me was expecting them to give him some painkillers and send us home. Part of me really was in disbelief. This part struggled to accept that I needed to postpone the workshop and replace all my expectations for the weekend with the reality of spending time at the hospital, bringing him things that he needed, advocating for him if necessary, and waiting for him to get better. Struggled to accept that he was so very ill. I kept remembering, with a lurch, like when you realise you forgot to do something important.
It’s been a hard week. A week where I would really have liked someone else to have done the adulting for me. I’ve raged and cried at how unfair it is. But at the end of the day you have to deal with what is, and it’s no good wishing it were different. A practice this morning with Kate Beatty at Stroud Yoga Space has left me feeling much more in balance. I’m more able to be grateful at what has, in the end, been much less bad than it easily could have been. I’m able to let go of some of my expectations about how life will continue on its path (of course, life changes throughout its course, but in my experience we don’t anticipate the changes that are pre-empted by shocks, so they’re harder to take on board and accept, even if they aren’t that unpleasant- they are just different to what we expected).
The GTS is home and things will return to normal. There are changes to be made- we only get one life and I don’t want to spend mine wishing it were different, so while I have the opportunity to make positive changes, it’s a waste of that gift if I don’t take the opportunity because of feeling guilty about having it, or because of fear. So, in hand: more letting go of attachment to what I know. Preparing to embrace the new.
*Gorgeous Tree Surgeon