In mid-April my dad passed away after many years of heart problems. It was a heart-breaking time for my family as my dad was an amazing, funny, generous man, and his resilience through 17 years of illness was role-model worthy. The world is at a loss without him in it.
That said, in between the tears and sadness, I was also able to discover gratitude to the universe for allowing my dad to live almost twice as long as doctors predicted with very little suffering, and allowing him to go so peacefully in my mom's arms knowing how loved he was to all of us. Short of immortality or never having gotten sick in the first place, I can't imagine him going in a better way. I also had so much gratitude to my friends all over the world who poured out their support to me with hugs, notes, regular check-ins, flowers, thoughtful gifts, and Reiki energy. Their compassion for me and my family was overwhelming.
Because of that, upon my return to school I chose to focus on our school's value of compassion with Marcey's 4th grade class, along with my own personal value of gratitude. By far, this was my most favorite class of the year with them. Everything just fit together perfectly, from the morning message to the mandala sun salutation to the book A Sick Day for Amos McGee to the internal reflections. I chose challenging poses to allow the kids to practice having compassion for themselves during difficult times. Even the song at the end, LovingKindness by Charity and the JAMBand, tied in seamlessly to the class.
The kids took it all very seriously while still having fun. Even the kids who tend to give up pretty easily on more challenging poses kept at it until they felt successful. Sometimes during internal reflections the kids are done pretty quickly, but with the two in this class I noticed how long they say quietly with their eyes closes and head bowed.
I love these kids as they have taught me so much as a yoga teacher this year. But this class took that love to a different level. I could see how much they had all become true yogis and how changed they were from the beginning of the year. I was so proud of them!