Last Friday we had to put our dog to sleep.
It was awful. He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t get up from his position on the floor, he could only stand if you placed him in an upright position. Watching him try to move was unbearable. He wouldn’t eat, he drank water very sparsely, and his eyes looked sad. No more licks.
We knew it was time for him to go, and for two nights in a row we slept on the living room floor with him because he couldn’t get up and off of the bed safely. Our backs hurt, we slept very little, and our dog was no better… So on Friday morning, after I finished teaching my class, we took him to the vet.
It wasn’t easy, letting him go, but it wasn’t easy to watch him be in pain, either. The entire weekend we spent dedicated to creating a memorial garden for him; we chose all plants we thought he might like to pee on and things that would come up year after year to remind us of our shared life.
Today, I came home from teaching a class, a bit anxious about some projects that I’m expanding and feeling a bit out of place. (April was a hard month – two of the locations in which I taught yoga closed down and I left one location voluntarily. This work stress combined with the stress of our still unfinished bathroom and Tanner’s illness growing more intense has made the past 30 days incredibly difficult.) I opened the door to our house, excited to be home and be greeted by my favorite canine companion, and when he didn’t come running or licking I remembered. He wouldn’t be coming to greet me anymore.
So instead I curled up with his most loved toys, smelled the lingering scents of him, and cried on our couch.
There our times in each of our lives where we’re on the downswing of the emotional rollercoaster. Occasionally in yoga classes, we’re told to expand on the power of positive thinking, to surround everything in love and light, and to give up all of your problems to a higher power. I believe in this. But I also believe in the space it takes to heal. To get from one piece of your life, pull yourself back together, and keep moving forward.
I believe in giving yourself permission to feel sad.
I believe in giving yourself permission to take a break.
I believe in giving yourself permission to be angry, to grieve, to get pissed off, to cry buckets of tears, to laugh out loud, and to be raw, real, and human.
Life takes you in little steps. And you need to take each event step by step. There’s no rushing the grieving process. There’s no controlling the emotional chaos. Sometimes you need to let it out, to step aside and let yourself be however you are for that hour on your mat.
Today, I wish you give yourself that permission.