In Sanskrit, Ahimsa means non-harming- in thought, words or deeds of oneself or others. My awareness of Ahimsa began back in my first teacher training years ago. It is one of yamas (restraints) which makes up Pantanjali’s 8 limbs. The other limbs that are more familiar would be the asanas (poses), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (dyana). It had never struck me until now, to think of it in terms of myself. I usually thought of it in terms of the non-harming or non-violence of others.
These days, my thoughts are all about the self-blame, guilt, anger, unhappiness and the awful body image. I have focused my being not on healing myself, or taking care of me, but on being angry with who I’ve become since Silas has died. I judge myself in thoughts of resentment. I can barely look at my stomach and the extra skin that just does not want to disappear. I blame myself for the choices that were made and for my body failing. When I find myself sitting at my computer, unable to get work done, I feel defeated. Not yet pregnant? well, of course that’s my fault, stress is wreaking havoc on my reproductive system. Sometimes I even think that if I leave those thoughts behind, I’ll be leaving my little Silas behind too.
With all the work I’m doing on myself, the EMDR therapy, the yoga, the writing, hanging with friends, getting massages, I still manage to find time to beat myself up. It’s like double the work of just dealing with the grief and that is why I am so exhausted all the time.
Last week in yoga class, my teacher spoke about Ahimsa. It hit such a nerve with me, and I came to a very powerful realization on my mat. I will never fully heal unless I stop these violent and harmful thoughts about myself. I work on this in therapy, I talk about it with Chris and with friends who will listen. I know I am the only one with the power to stop this endless chatter going on in my brain. But it is hard. It is so damn hard to quit. It has become part of the routine of my life. I need to retrain my brain from working in this manner.
The thing is, it is not just about being sad that Silas died, that my baby, who I carried inside me for more then 9 months, is not here with us. The rippling effect of our baby’s death has caused me to suppress the parts of myself where I used to find joy. I hate that I can’t see friends babies, or pregnant friends or even talk about pregnancy or babies. This is something I LOVED. I can’t do it. I have had to tuck that away, which fills me with such enormous pain, I almost can’t handle it. Not only did I lose my baby, but I lost a hundred other things on top of it. All that stuff has just piled up and piled up in my brain, and I can’t stop it from happening.
I am working on it though. I am letting go of resentments and working on being nice to myself. Just giving myself a break from all the thoughts that keep my jaw clenched and make my brain hurt everyday is really important. It’s hard though. But it’s what I have to do if I want to keep moving forward.