The other day, at dance, I saw a friend of mine. I haven’t seen this friend in a couple of months and from across the space I was struck with how much his body has changed. He isn’t as big. There isn’t as much color to his skin. He doesn’t seem as strong. I was so surprised and upset by all this change that I felt confused and I think I wanted what I was seeing to have a chance to go away, so I didn’t talk to him about it on that day. But I couldn’t help but think about him throughout the next week. I came up with a question I thought I could ask the next time I saw him, and I thought I’d ask him, “Are you well?” That might be something to say.
When I saw him again at the start of the next week’s dance, again I noticed all of these things about his body.There wasn’t as much prāṇa there as before. Later, when I was near him at the edge of the dance floor, we exchanged a few words and in that moment, I thought the question I came up with was a bad one because he did seem well and maybe a little tired. So I didn’t really talk to him and I wondered what I could say because nothing was coming.
A little while later, I was dancing and he came over. I put my arms around the middle of him and then around his back and then around his shoulders and my hands confirmed what my eyes had seen. His body is very different. It is changing rapidly and it is changing in a way that I don’t like. I stood there with him and I started to cry. I couldn’t help myself. I cried because something I don’t like is happening to him and he’s someone that I love very much. I stood there wanting and wishing him to be well and to be in my life, in a healthy body, forever. And I was crying because I know that that’s not the way these things work. I continued crying because I could see that this practice of yoga that I’m so devoted to is contributing to the pain that I’m feeling. All this stuff that I do to attempt to see more clearly means that this kind of shit is more clear, too. There’s nothing to hide behind. No denial. No stuffing it down and trying not to think about it. No pretending. What I’m seeing in my friend’s body is just there. Right in front of me. In my arms.
Our whole time dancing together, I cried, and I couldn’t stop. Which was probably a crummy thing for me to do, but I couldn’t help it. He left and I cried more because I couldn’t decide if I had been duped by all this yoga, and if this is what I’m asking for, then maybe I’m in the wrong line of work because this sucks. At the same time another part of me wondered if it is somehow a strange gift to be able to feel like this– the anger and the sadness in the clarity.
Eventually, I tired out and stopped crying and the music got quieter and more still, too. I moved down to the floor and my ten-year-old daughter came over to me and stretched out across my lap. She moved a little with the music and then slipped her wrist under my hand so I’d drag my fingers up and down her arm. And as my hands felt her healthy body, full of prāṇa and growing and changing in ways that I love, it happened all over again.