Who do you go to when you’re feeling alone, sad, or scared? Is there a place that you can run to for refuge when you’re at your most vulnerable? It can be hard, sometimes, to show those parts of yourself to others. It can be construed as looking weak or incapable. So instead of showing when you’re hurt, you find other ways to “suck it up” and hide what you’re truly feeling.
But when you ARE so full of emotion and you can’t contain the hurt and despair anymore, where do you? Who do you turn to? I was at the yoga studio one afternoon preparing to teach a class. A friend came in, someone who frequents the studio regularly, and he usually has a smile on his face. This time was a little different. He came in with the expected smile, but once he stepped through those doors and caught a glance of me across the room, be broke into tears. I think we were both surprised by the sudden release of emotions.
I asked what was the matter, but he couldn’t form any words due to the tears and the flood of emotions. I gestured him to step into the restroom so he could have a moment of privacy. I gave him a hug and allowed him to cry more openly. When he was finally able to speak, he shared a sad story of loss that effected his family. The news was hard to hold inside, but he was trying his best to remain strong for his family. It wasn’t until he stepped into the yoga studio when the emotions of loss and sadness hit him like a ton of bricks. He was holding onto being strong for others, but now...it was his turn to feel sad.
”I don’t know where that came from,” he said, trying to explain his outpouring of tears. I told him there was no need to explain. But what went through my head was that there may have been a part of himself deep inside that saw our yoga studio as a safe refuge to be himself and share his emotions. When he stepped inside those safe walls, his own walls came tumbling down. He was in a place where his tears of sadness would not be judged.
Although I did not say those exact words to my friend, I certainly hope he sees our studio as a safe haven; a place to practice yoga, but also a place where he can freely express himself. A place where he can share when he is feeling vulnerable, lost, angry, or sad. He did thank me for listening, and I said it was an honor to have him here.
Do YOU have a safe haven?