“And if I shed a tear, I won’t cage it. I won’t fear love.” ~Sarah McLachlan
As I lay down on a yoga mat in a small, dark room near the river Ganges, a wave of emotion swept over me. A super-sized ‘Om’ symbol lit up the wall behind my head. I had wandered into a small Massage and Reiki Centre, near to the Lakshman Jhula (suspension bridge) in spiritual Rishikesh. The rain had just stopped falling and I was aimless. The town was quiet; fear of more flooding had scared everyone else off.
I knew the healing powers of Mother Ganga (The Ganges) could provide me with some relief. As could a master Reiki practitioner. He was now before me, ready to perform his magic. I’m not sure how he’d come to sit beside me, but was glad he was there. He was wearing simple matching white kurta pajama, orange-stained bindi melted into his face. He had kind eyes and warm hands.
He started at my feet, shifting energy upwards and outwards, blowing on his hands once they came off my skin. I secretly thought that once he got to my abdomen and heart he would be in for a real shock. By the time he reached there, I was weeping.
I knew I was carrying weight in my heart, for the year that has been. I could feel it, like an anchor. The weight of losing a great love, of countless moves, of professional pressures, of financial responsibilities, of answering tough questions, of redefining my future, of a childless, aging body. Of wanting things that had somehow escaped me. There was so much in there and he saw it all.
“You carry so much heaviness in your heart chakra, why?” he asked in soft, broken English. “Too much for your age.” I didn’t know where to begin. This wasn’t meant to be a counselling session.
He could see from this naked exposure that I was an emotional person and that I carried heaviness because I care. I hold on to everything in life. Everything that happens or doesn’t. It sits there, stubborn, unrelenting, rooted in my vivid mind. My heart and head don’t always connect either, for my head is thinking, thinking, thinking and my heart is feeling, feeling, feeling. There is too much noise and not much talking.
“You must give to yourself the care you give to others. Love yourself first. And go with life. Stop the worry. Let go.”
Love yourself first. Let go.
And now, as I write these words in a small, lower cubicle on a slow-moving train back towards Delhi, Birdy singing in my ears, I know these to be simple truths. The cleansing I have mastered during the last year, more assertively so in the last month in India, has all made it possible for me to believe that I am more ready than ever to leave behind what was for what is. A new chapter will be written as I fumble towards ecstasy. In loving and in letting go.
After I burdened him and the room with my heavy energy, I lay like a corpse. It was hard to move my limbs, they felt impossible to lift. Had the flushing allowed my bones and organs to feel their true weight and responsibility? To carry me through the streets chain-less? It was like I was suddenly free.
I emerged from the dark room and looked around at the river, hills and trees. I took in where I was, where I was meant to be. I did it. There was nothing more to prove, to do, to tell. I only smiled.