The Dimmer Switch


When I was completing my somatic coach training, I was attending yoga. Any movement I did with my body would help in my lessons in integrating my body wisdom into my daily life. The instructor decided to try something new: yoga along the wall to ensure that our posture and alignment was correct. At one point, I’m lying on my back, butt against the wall, and my legs up on the wall in the shape of a “V”. I’ve got my eyes closed, enjoying my breath.

And then it hit me. The most vivid image of my mother, naked, in the shower. I was little, but I remembered everything; the lighting, the colour of the tile, and my shorter point of view. It was so powerful, that I started to cry, knowing that I haven’t seen her alive in 25 years. “How ridiculous!” I thought, “I’m starting to tear in the middle of yoga!”. My first instinct was, “pull it together, and think of something else”. That was easy enough, I’ve gotten really good at pushing things away and distracting myself with other thoughts or being too busy to really think.

Then I remembered something I had learned in my training: this notion that I can control, and have choice, in how deep I want to go. Much like a dimmer switch, I can turn up the emotions or turn it down. The goal is: not to turn it off. I was able to “dim” the memory enough to breathe, and have some tears, but not uncontrollable sobbing (which I am scared of doing in public). I could enjoy the memory, marvelling in the gift at such an odd time, and honor it in a healthy way. I had the courage to create space for my sadness, my longing, and in doing so, I made space for the joy and delight in seeing her again.

Breathe.

And then it was time to shift our yoga position, I wiped away my tears, and was able to calmly transition and carry on. I let it go, and it floated away.

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