The Movement of Water

My mother grew up right on the beaches of San Diego. She used to tell me stories of how she’d wake up at four every morning, go surfing, and then get ready for school. For her, the most important thing she did all day was get outside and into the water. The most important thing she did was take time in the morning for herself, to do something that she loved. This speaks to me. Though it is not an easy thing for me to wake up early, night owl like I am, I have been contemplating it. Getting up early to do yoga, write, be creative . . . these are things that I wish I did more of on my own time. My mother taught me that mornings were meant for things like that, and only now am I starting to remember. Only now am I starting to understand.

Lately I have been deep in thought about lessons that my mother gave me. She passed away two years ago, but the memories of her still linger. If you’ve ever been to a beach, you instinctively remember the sound of the waves hitting the shore, of seagulls in the air, and of the laughs and screams and chatter and sunscreen that fill the air by midday when everyone comes to breathe in the smell of the ocean. That instinctive memory is where I find my mother. I remember, living in Texas, how my mom would take my sisters and I to the pool and stay there for as long as possible; how she would laugh and joke about her surname, Breeze, and how it was so fitting to what she loved; and how even something as simple as getting her into the water changed her whole demeanor—she became perpetually smiling, all worries gone, face shining up towards the sunlight. Small moments of perfection like this stay with me.

After she died, as cliché as it might sound, the sky darkened around me. The ocean broiled. Water became a symbol not of happiness, but of turmoil. I was beyond emotional. To help you understand this more, within the beliefs of yoga come the chakras, an energy system that runs along our spine and is responsible for different elements within the body. Our second chakra, called the Sacral Chakra, is all about water. It sits right below our belly buttons and is associated with emotions and identity. Ideally, this chakra should help us flow like a merry stream up in the mountains; letting us move with life, but not so much that we have no control over the movement. However, when my mother died, this chakra became a churning sea. It was nearly impossible to control emotions. It redefined my identity, how I lived my life. How do you live without a mother?

I avoided water for a long time. And when I did encounter it, it took away all my energies not to think about her . . . not to think about her . . . so I wouldn’t release my pent-up emotions. I started sleeping in later than normal, avoiding that in-between time of darkness and burgeoning light—that nostalgic early-morning moment that comes with introspection. I avoided lots of things that reminded me of her, simply because thinking about her was painful. Sharp. Poignant.

And then—yoga. Slowly more . . . and more. I found myself facing her within my practice. All of the dark things that came with losing her, losing a part of what made me who I was, began to drip away. Every practice. Every breath. Every movement. I found her with me there on my mat. I allowed myself to think of her again. That was sharp, at first. Emotional. And it still is—but now it’s not only painful emotions; it’s also happy. Grateful. There are still memories filled with light.

Now, two years later, within my second chakra, the storm has calmed. The darkness is abating. The movement of water within me isn’t uncontrollable. Yoga, and the continuance of yoga, has been my balm. The challenge for me now is to wake up early again, within that in-between time of darkness and light, that place filled with memories. It is a time to practice yoga; our minds early in the morning not only need that stimulation, but they also need that focus. I promise you, as much as I promise myself, that practicing yoga at that time in the morning will change the way your day unfolds—and it will change it for the better.

For a Morning Meditation from Megan, go to:

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