Abhinivesha, the fear of death.

It was about this time last year that my marbles started to wander off in a rather muddled, wobbly trajectory. In an efficiently cruel twist of fate the month of May brings both my brother’s birthday and Mother’s day, two days apart.

Last year I wasn’t prepared for the bombardment of grief, how could I be?  The only thing I could do was breathe in and breathe out and see where that took me. I learned alot about the process of grief. I learned alot about death. Little did I know at the time, but even after the death of  Mom and Brad there would be two more deaths in a short period of time. I learned alot about the expectations that some people had of me as well of the constant, quiet support from others.

In yogic philosophy, the Kleshas are the main obstacles on The Path. Abhinivesha, the fear of  death is the final Klesha.  Patanjali states that we must eradicate the Kleshas in order to experience true yoga, true Union with the Divine.

I do not so much fear my own death anymore. I used to. It’s kind of funny that I did considering how hell-bent on self destruction I was. I can remember being very young and having deep, aching fear of death, which I now understand comes from fearing abandonment. As my mother was dying I was filled with a tumult of misbehaving emotions that wouldn’t stay contained, like herding cats. I was filled with intense anger that masked the terrified little girl screaming “Don’t leave me”!!!! So my fear was not so much of my mother dying, it was of me feeling left alone, again. Anger almost always is the gatekeeper of pain.

As often happens with death, there can be a sudden recognition of Life. A wake up call to mortality. Am I really living or am I just existing? I love what Benjamin Franklin said: Many people die at 25 but aren’t buried until they are 75. Boy, isn’t that the truth?  I tell my kids all the time to notice the moments, for this is their life, happening now. It’s so easy to get caught up in the goals that we forget to notice the day we are in. When I took my sabbatical last summer I “purposely engaged” in my life: I began my Seva for the pigs, I learned to play the mountain dulcimer, I took tap dancing classes. I tried many things to defrost me back to the land of the living. It was a pretty slow defrost.

I’m feeling the ache approaching. I’m crying alot again. I’m crying as I write this. But what I know is that this will pass. I choose not to stuff it and plaster a fake smile over my gaping wound of pain for the comfort of others or socially acceptable “Just say positive” posts. This fucking hurts and I’m allowing myself to feel it so as to not be swallowed by it. I’m reaching out to some incredible people who simply hold space for me as I walk this path of pain. And, I will get through it, and I will do it in classic Leslie ways. (Think Marilyn Manson and NIN)  🙂

I’m an ordinary person and I still have my fair share of fears. I’m pretty cool with death at this point, but I’m still not a huge fan of suffering and loss. As I cry and feel this tremendous need for nurturing, a mother figure, something, anything, to comfort me,  I am aware of the warmth of the sun, the chitchat singing of the birds, the blossoms and flowers.  The ache and joy exist simultaneously. I do not fear it.

Spring is my very favorite.

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