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grief and loss

In August 2010, I was attending week three of a youth conference and found myself deep in meditation, sobbing as if I had just emerged from the womb. Here I was, in the middle of Berlin deep in meditation, with the photo of an older Indian man with long hair and in white robes at the front of the room, feeling at my very core that my life was about to change dramatically.
I like to tell this story because I feel that our job as yoga instructors is to do what artists, poets, and priests do; to remind us of the great truth that to cling only to sweet as our only form of happiness is a trap. Sorrow teaches us about love and even bliss... if we let it. Ultimately, we can't share the light if we aren't cracked open.
Recently I saw Betty* in my clinic. She is 44 years old and never had a "weight problem" till her eight-year-old only son met with a fatal road accident. That was 12 years ago. Since then she has steadily gained almost 10 pounds a year, which is why she is now 120 pounds heavier than she was at 32.
There were many times, especially in the beginning of my grief, when I turned to someone with a look that said, "What did you just say to me?" It took me a long time to not take comments too personally. I had to develop a thicker skin as time went by or I would've constantly been flying off the handle.
Our school lost a shining light this week. A little boy -- six years old. He, the lover of hockey, fishing and fun, was taken suddenly, leaving our school community grappling with life and death issues. In my classroom, I turned to the one sure thing I knew could shed some light, love and laughter on an otherwise dark cloud that hovered low. Your books.