Moving with a Heavy Heart

I have such a heavy heart.

My chest is filled with a weight of sadness for the intensity of suffering in our world. Until this afternoon though, I couldn't feel it. I was engaging with the horror of the attacks in Paris intellectually, but I couldn't feel it.

Today, I was supposed to teach my mixed abilities 5Rhythms movement class at the JCC. I love this class. Every time, I am moved. Often, just to see who shows up. I learn so much in this class on many levels, but especially, about connecting in our humanness, regardless of our differences. I needed this class today. I needed to feel our human capacity to come together and connect creatively, with our different backgrounds, beliefs, and bodies. To be together in all our humanness, and just dance.

The trip to the venue typically takes me 30 minutes. Today, I spent an hour and a half in the worst traffic I think I have ever seen in the city's core. There was a massive Santa Claus parade road closure, the extent of which I had not anticipated. Then there was a march in solidarity for the people of Paris. Then sirens of emergency vehicles were trying to get through, I'm sure on their way somewhere more important than all the thousands of cars gridlocked in the downtown. There wasn't even anywhere for us all to pull over to, to let them pass with ease.

As the clock ticked past the time I usually arrive to set-up, my anxiety was mounting, but I ran through in my mind how even if I arrived just a few minutes before class, I could still totally make it work. "We'll start in silence, and I'll talk them through a grounding and warm-up, as I set-up the sound system," I thought.

As time continued to pass and I had made very little progress on the road, my heart began to sink. I realized I would not make it in time. I would have to cancel. Helplessness. Anger at myself for not knowing I should leave even more extra time than I had, to get there. Anger at feeling so helpless. Sadness at having to make a decision that would disappoint people.

Many of those who attend this class come in wheelchairs, via Wheeltrans. These rides are booked far in advance. These people make such efforts to show up. Imagining them being told I wasn't coming, broke my heart. I wasn't able to show up in one of the ways it means the most to me, to show up: to hold space for people to be in movement meditation practice.

Tears streaming down my face as I slowly started to navigate back towards home, it struck me that I have been protecting myself over the last few days from feeling the depth of my despair and helplessness about the pain we are causing each other in the world. It was so excruciating, I had hardened myself so as not to feel it.

And now, here in my little world, with a much smaller situation of helplessness as the catalyst, my heart has just been cracked open.  

I'm so very, very sorry if you were one of the people who came to class today, only to be told it was cancelled. I'm so sorry that your efforts today didn't culminate in the experience you expected. I'm so very sorry for any suffering I unintentionally caused today. Please know that this was the last thing I wanted to have happen. Please know I needed our class today as much as you may have.

Why? Because being with you on the dance floor, is a balm for my heart.

We need to come together. We need to feel each other. We need to cry, and laugh, and find the ways that we can dance together, even when we feel like we don't know how.

With love, and a broken open heart,