How am I? I’m struggling. But I’m here.
I created a mantra a couple of years ago to quell my middle-of-the-night panic, to create perspective, to ground myself, to remind myself what’s important: I am safe. I am warm. I am dry. I am fed. I am clean. I am healthy. I am loved. I am grateful. I would say it to myself over and over and try to calm my fear, to get back to sleep. It worked about half the time. All these things are all still true for me at this moment: I am safe, I am healthy . . . and so on. And I am grateful. But I am struggling. It’s hard to take any comfort when so many other people—close and far—cannot claim safety or health or love. So as a mantra, it hasn’t really been working anymore, not even half the time.
My first yoga teacher had a kind of mantra for Warrior Two pose, designed to make us aware of our alignment: I know about the past, I’m aware of the future, but I’m firmly grounded in the present.I tend to spend a lot of time in the past and the future. I’m always trying to remember to be in the present, to be present. I had been thinking a lot about this when, a couple of weeks ago, there was a sound next door, very loud, very close: an unmistakable sound, a sound of despair, a sound a person can never un-hear, a sound that forever divides time not precisely into past and future but into Before and After. And for the heartbroken one left behind, all I can do for her now is to be present. I’m here. I’m struggling, but I’m here. This is my new mantra.