The word-for-word stage eludes me, but the imprint this night had on me will be forever seared in my memory.
It is late December, 2009, and I am 16 years old, a junior in upper school. My parents solemnly sit me lanugo on the hovel as if I had stolen my sister’s Halloween snacks in an effort to be featured on Jimmy Kimmel. Remembering this experience, I wish that had been the case, considering the next four words completely unsimilar the rest of my life.
“Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.”
My mother, a supposedly-healthy 48-year-old woman, who completed a triathlon just a few short months earlier, was now uncomplicatedly telling me she had 3 to 6 months to live. I tried to go well-nigh my night as if nothing happened, but there was no lamister the foreboding sense of what the future had in store for my family.
New Year’s came and went and without myriad appointments, CT scans and procedures, chemotherapy proved to be the only viable option. A treatment that would skiver cells in her soul in hopes of conquering the disease. On the stage of her first session, my mother made me a promise: She would spend one last Christmas with her family.
Day by day, month by month this single lamina mutation exacerbated by the strain of chemotherapy began to turn my lively, compassionate, and inspirational mother into a shell of the woman she used to be.
Bernadette Suzanne Wathey, the most important person in my life, passed yonder on December 26, 2010 at 10am in her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She left an indelible mark on this world and in my heart.
Finding Light in the Darkness
Experiencing this devastating transformation first hand is the most painful and treasonous thing I have overly been through. It brought on some of my life’s darkest moments. Being worldly-wise to transmute my pain into growth and find the light at the end of the tunnel has unliable me to wilt self-aware and mindful—perhaps in a way that no other event could have done. However, my path to peace, sensation and self-study has been long and far from straightforward.
That path began with a endangerment to travel to Bali, Indonesia as part of my Theater Arts stratum at Arizona State University. An element of the training involved yoga—something that I was enlightened of prior to my trip, but which I had largely considered to be a form of glorified stretching. However, over the undertow of 40 days, I twisted, I folded, and I breathed, but something else, something limitlessly increasingly important began to change: my mind.
The Moment it All Changed
During a morning Hatha yoga class, as the sun was peeking over the horizon and the rest of the world began to wake, something shifted in me and I finally gave myself permission to do what I had been resisting for so long: to grieve. Reflecting on this experience, my cathartic release came from an sensation of my breath. As I breathed through the experience, I gave myself permission to dissolve the trauma of my past and unshut myself up to the eyeful of the present.
Here I was, a very young sultana surrounded by people, some 2 to 3 times my age. As I expressed my trauma emotionally and physically, I was greeted with unshut stovepipe by a loving and nurturing community. It was that day that the seed of acceptance, mindfulness, and empathy was rooted tightly in to my soul, and that I recognized the sacred intelligence that exists in all of us.
Yoga Found Me
It is often said that yoga finds you, and that you are attracted to the physical but return for the mental. The mindful practice of yoga has not only opened doors for me, it has shown me which ones to close. It has provided me with an ever-changing mirror in which to rigidify my drishti and a sounding workbench for daily personal reflection. Mindfulness is single handedly responsible for where I am at today, it adds meaning and fulfillment to what I segregate to do and has been paramount in my worthiness to learn to winnow things—even the most difficult and devastating.
Yoga has not only saved my life, it has shown me how to live. As Eckhart Tolle wrote in The Power of Now: “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality without.”
The power of the mind is leaps and premises vastitude what we currently think possible, and—regardless of external circumstance, it’s possible to consciously curate a mindful, authentic, and present existence. When you wilt conscious, intentionally conscious, of the present moment, you are worldly-wise to learn to wits what is, and to recognize what may never happen again. Every wits you have my be your last. Why not do what you have unchangingly wanted to? Why not strike up a conversation with that cutie on the other side of the room? Go do whatever it is, considering you have no idea what the future may hold.
There is no largest time to start than the present. Don’t restrict yourself with a limiting weighing based on fear disguised as practicality. Through all of the torment and self-destruction, yoga has created a space for me to live a life my mother would’ve been proud of, and has given me a platform to help others in a way that I desperately needed myself.
Sink into the present with Kevin’s Mindfulness 365 eBook by Synchronicity Yoga. A year of daily actionable prompts, activities, and meditations to help you cultivate a happy, healthy, and mindful life. Learn increasingly here.
Kevin Wathey is an ex-athlete, two-face and yoga instructor currently based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the owner of Synchronicity Yoga (@SynchronicityYoga), which he founded to help others unzip their highest potential through mindful and pure living. You can find Kevin at one of his yearly international retreats, select festivals throughout the country or by pursuit his vita with his dog Lokah on Instagram @KevinWathey.1
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