Sunday, July 22, 2012

Transfer, Transition, Transformation

Max's dad will continue to fill up these pages. Our story has felt simultaneously too robust to capture and too fragile to share. This blog has been devoted to the voice of women while intentionally trying to stay bigger than gender. It feels perfect to share this piece below on July 22 from my grandmothers kitchen in SD. The bigger picture is always more clear from a distance. The blog below is also posted on a new blog set up by our yoga studio to continue a conversation about practice, this path, transition and travel.

 Here she is:

 This is another stage of severance with reverence. Joel Tessier is the new owner of Warrior Won School of Yoga. Context is the set of circumstances that form the setting for an event. And although at this stage of the game,  a change of ownership to the yoga studio feels relatively subsidary, the back story is significant. This is less the story of my relationship to owning a business, moving a business, and selling a business. That story looks a little like this. I never really figured out how to run one well. I am and have always been a much better yoga teacher than a business owner.  I have lots of ideas,  less follow through. I detest stability and security and would rather eat nails than play it safe.  And although these qualities make for a venturesome and bold life, they do not totally compliment running a business. This is a story about rescue, resentment, going to the zoo, hair gel, the denying force, autonomy, partnership, love, loss, barefoot running, silks, lifting way more weight than we thought we could ever handle, and what we continue to learn about staying in relationship...even when you want to poke each others eyes out with a plastic fork.  This about loving each other a tAhousand different ways. This is about watching Joel give his breath and CPR to my son so that I could be Max’s mom for eight days and learn to be his mother this lifetime.  This is a story of Joel not leaving Max’s side from the moment he handed his trembling little body to the paramedics. This is a story of moving into Kapiloani NICU and learning to be parents in an environment where you cannot save your children. This is about Joel only speaking to Max in French because that might be the secret language he needed to stay. This is about Joel trusting my decision to let Max go.  It is a story of wanting to support each other but not wanting to sleep with each other. This is about moments of feeling completely isolated from each other because we grieve differently. This is about yelling at each other, because we are meanest to the ones we rely on.  It is a story about me learning to trust that men can rise up, show up and follow through. It is a story of me wanting to walk away from Balancing Monkey after selling the house and Joel inviting me to ask bigger questions about what ways I want to serve our community and the teachings.   This is about me changing my mind a hundred times and Joel consistently accommodating my inconsistency because he believes I have something valuable to offer.  This is about feeling not good enough, not chosen, and then seeing the reflection that we never leave each other.  It is a story of parenting our spirit child and believing that sharing a yoga studio would be one way to nourish creation.  It is a story of me having to compromise after I spent six hours hanging aerial silks at the Crossfit Gym without asking.  I thought it looked modern and chic.  Joel thought it looked like an Arabian nights themed high school prom. I called it the denying force. He called it victory.  This is about running barefoot around the Big Island on Max’s one-year birthday because no matter what, Joel will always be Max’s Dad. It is a story of me meeting Lani, loving her and seeing Joel happy in a healthy relationship.  This is about me knowing deep in my heart that I have other work to do. It is a story of me telling Joel that the next decade of my life will be devoted to grief utilization and serving women who have lost their children . This is about me becoming a Chaplain and Joel becoming a better  business owner.   This is about Joel being committed to  a thriving yoga studio so that I have a place to return to teach and we all have a place to practice. But mostly this is a story about two simultaneously arrogant and humble warriors who are committed to saying “yes” to life with a certain vigilance about trying not to capture it.  It is a story of Warriors Won. I know in my heart that the yoga studio will continue to thrive as a community with a deep love for practice and for each other. As Warrior Won makes this move to new ownership by a man who has supported us from the sideline these past two years,  I invite you to stay rooted in practice and each other.  Our love of yoga and journey on this path is in our bones and independent of anything outside of ourselves.   With all of this said,  I deeply appreciate you supporting me and the yoga studio all of these years. Your practice fed me. Your practice housed me. Your practice carried me through the loss of our son. Your practice built Warrior Won. Your practice is putting me through chaplaincy school. Your practice will give Joel a new challenge. Your practice will continue to give me a place to return to and share all that we are constantly being asked to grow into. Pranams Warriors, Pranams Monkeys, Pranams Warrior Monkeys. I love you. Thank you Joel for housing us, believing in me, and rising up to support the ways I wish to serve. I am committed to our story continuing to nourish the whole. Love, HH

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

when your best friend gives birth to a son

I was actually having a 9pm picnic at Coconut Island. Six hours earlier we had gone for a long walk together.  The only way warriors walk these days is if one of us is too pregnant to run. We prefer running. We are predictable in our way of really wanting to feel our bodies. Another offering death at the dinner table makes is a steady reminder to run while you can and even if you are past your due date... at the very least put on your big girl pants and walk up a great big hill. So on Tuesday, June 12 Master P, her unborn son, and I walked up Kuku'au.

Master P is a book end. She was the last warrior with me to hold Max's body. She took his body from my arms after he had left it and delivered him to the nurses. He imprinted upon her chest. She slept in the blue shirt she was wearing that day at Kapiolani Medical Center for many months and keeps it next to her bedside on the occasions when she needs to be reminded of the work we are here to do. She selflessly served as my cognitive function so that I could just be Max's mom and stay in the medium of in-between worlds during the 8 days he was embodied. While I pumped my breast milk, she rubbed my head. When I received Max's ashes and had to put them in the car, she put him in a seat belt in the back and cried with me the entire drive. She fed me. She housed me. She never once felt sorry for me. She gave me a map for the brand new landscape of a mother who lost her son, called me a warrior, helped me craft my weapon and encouraged me to slay the bullshit and hand out high fives. When I say things, like "I think Max chose us because he knew we would do the real work of the heart", instead of thinking I have gone bat shit crazy, Master P simply says "I think so too". During those moments when I would have preferred to curl up in a dark corner, she put me back in the water on a long board.  I would not be doing the work I am doing at this moment if Master P was not in my life.

Master P being pregnant and having a son 15 months after I lost one was both in the same breath,  very normal and extraordinary. Both of us are fully aware that life in all of its robustness, in all of its tenacity, in all of its laboring to actually get through is radically precious. I think it is why Master P, without missing a beat asked my midwife, April to deliver her son.

So this is how we did it. With the amazing support of April and Rich Pierce...Master P gave birth to Cooper Kai Awesome Pierce at 11:27pm in the horse troff on their lanai in upper Hilo. I got the whole thing on video. A hundred other babies have been born in that tub, each one a miracle. Cooper was nothing shy of a marvel. Master P had the kind of delivery that can modestly be chalked up as "perfect". We knew Cooper was going to stay and still there was a smile of relief when he made it through. His small private victory was also a colossal moment for all of us.  There was nothing but Joy. The sadness of knowing that our boys will never ride waves together had nothing to do with the awareness that they will, indeed never be far.

This is what we keep learning over and over again, grief will move you if you allow it. It will move you deeper into your heart. It will move you away from trauma. It will move you into a place of really LIVING, of celebrating the new life all around, of feeling the pulse of life wanting to live its fullest expression. Here is the thing, you cannot rush it. Grief has it's own time warp. It is different for all of us. Grief will demand everything of you, it is sticky, it is insane and it is also medicine for the whole community if we use it.    It will move you into a place of pressing your best friends sacrum while she has contractions over the tub. It will move you into a place of making her a placenta milk shake twenty minutes after she delivers a beautiful baby boy. It will move you into a place of spending the first night with mom and baby in their bed, the three of us all snuggled together, mom and I taking turns poking Cooper to make sure he is breathing.  We are so wildly and perfectly human, both warriors of the heart and mothers having no idea what we are doing. Thank god for April.

Master P.  Thank you for letting life move you. April Thank you for midwifing life through both of us. Rich Pierce Thank you for being the most supportive husband on the planet.

To Breast milk all over the place.
I love you.