The best thing about being a teacher is how much I learn from myself. We teach most that which we need to learn most. We work our way through it for someone else and are therefore brought to the light of the situation ourselves.
Grief is tearing and painful. Joy can be as well. And when it feels like all is turbulence around you, the joy and the grief seem almost intrusive. It certainly feels fatalistic; the emotions so explosive, I feel my head might burst, my heart might stop, my breath might fail. I long for the quiet dignity of the single poetic tear glissading down my cheek.
By having been requested by circumstance to repeat and repeat and repeat the calming phrases and steps to calm decision making; by showing the way to the center of self; by spouting virtuously that the center is the best place to make decisions from, I have led myself (or stumbled along behind my student) finally to that calm and centered place.
And when the comfort food is churning acid, and the alcohol is vinegar, and the sad songs are annoying and the happy ones are raucous; when the words spoken and heard no longer mean anything, finally I come to the center and the peace. I fall away from the pressure. I deny it. I float free, down and in. Calm. Connected. Grateful that the violence has passed, if only for a moment. Every time the moment lasts longer.
The hardest part to learn - this calm, this center, is not a denial of the emotion, be it joy or grief. It is acceptance. Total acceptance. Complete acceptance. Acceptance deeper than the grief, than the joy. Deeper than the fear and the hope. Deeper than the learned perception of self.
Follow your breath in. And Down. Find your center. And discover a whole new world with me.