By Violet Mitchell-Enos
Ooh ooh child, things are going to get easier,
Ooh ooh Child things are going to get brighter.
Tears rolled down my face.
We had just finished our yoga session–savasana. Sally, our yoga teacher, said the song just came to her; for me, it was the perfect 70’s song at the perfect time. A song I had not heard in such a long time but immediately it was so familiar, and now I clung to each of those words wanting to believe them. I searched Sally’s eyes as she gazed through the Zoom lens. Could I glimpse this happier time to come? I saw her eyes so gentle and compassionate. She may not have known about my loss, but she was honoring my grief.
Yoga uses movements and breath with the intention of bringing harmony between mind and body. It was right for me during a time when I was not conscious of my body or mind–grief does that.
I’ve watched my seven-year old grandniece, Laila, teach breathing techniques to her younger brothers, Jace and Sammy. She told them it was meditation. Running so fast away from each other, or to each other, or running away to hide because of something they did that they were not supposed to do. Suddenly they are on the ground, crying with scraped knees, elbows, or hands. Laila immediately swoops in, diving just like a hawk after food for her chicks. She says comforting words as she murmurs, “Breathe like me.” She takes a breath in, slow long breath out, breath in, slow long breath out. Soon, there is no crying, only calm and then they are turned over to me to clean a wound and put on a Pup Patrol bandage. I’ve seen her pull the boys out to the porch and sit under the chimes with their legs crossed, eyes closed and forefingers touching thumbs as they breathe slowly and meditate. I’m not sure if they even know what they are doing. But amazingly they sit quietly for a minute or two.
Could I do it, sit quietly and in peace for even a minute? I recall the time we were climbing the hills, and Laila urged me to take picture of them meditating. They each sat on their own huge granite boulder with their colorful beanies atop their heads, legs crossed, eyes closed, forefinger and thumbs touching faces so relaxed as they breathed slowly in and out. It was a fall day, leaves drifting down from the trees, the air cool, a slight breeze stirring, and the sun shining brightly. The cloudless sky was a bright turquoise blue that is only seen on macaws next to their bright yellow and iridescent green feathers. In the midst of creation, the children sit anchored on big granite stones–serene and at peace.
I held my breath waiting for him to take another. This can’t be it, not now. Frantic, I move to him, lie by him, wait to hear a faint breath, watch his chest to see it rise. No more, no more breath, no more rising chest—I exhale and I don’t want to breathe again. Then I cry, and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.
Breathe, breathe–slow your breath down. Breathe deep, exhale long. The exhale is the most healing part. Sally is reteaching me what I have forgotten and what the children already know: breath is healing, calming, a bond between me and my world—harmony.
Ooh ooh child, things will get brighter . . .