Our most profound teacher is truly our own personal experiences. Last week, Heather Ambrosi, opened up about her journey from moving away from pain and how in order to heal, welcome acceptance and patience. Patience is key to dealing with loss and there is no right way to cope, though there are resources abundantly available for support. The most challenging part of the entire process may be surrendering to the unknown. Below, Lakshimi Jagad shares her experience of how she came to embrace the loss of her husband’s grandfather by indulging in her own process. I think we can all relate to some degree. Thank you Lakshmi…
Embracing Grief & A Plate of Nachos, by Lakshmi Jagad
My husband’s grandfather died at the ripe old age of 95. I ate a huge plate of nachos.
No, these events are not related but each one showed me what it meant to embrace something completely, an emotion or an experience, because that is the only way to be completely free of it.
Bapuji had aged rapidly in the last few years. His mobility had reduced sharply, so also his ability to hear and speak. His health had been on a steady decline, and everyone knew that it was simply a matter of time before he left the body. Yet, when the call came, it felt devastating. I felt as if someone had punched me in my chest and what burst forth were tears, huge heaving sobs. At one level, I was bewildered. I hadn’t been very close to him but yet the pain, the emotion felt so intense. But I realized that it was pointless analyzing an emotion, so I let go completely. Cried my heart out for a few minutes, soaked a handkerchief completely… until it all stopped. It was quiet and peaceful and clear, like the passing of a rainstorm and the breaking of the sun through the clouds.
And now the nacho story… I have been steadily cutting dairy out of my diet since some months now. This meant that I hadn’t eaten nachos for the longest time. You know that huge platter filled with corn tortilla chips, melted cheese, chopped jalapeño chiles, gooey guacamole, sour cream and tangy salsa? Yes, that one. But one night, I felt like I wanted to indulge. So the husband and I drove to our favorite Tex-Mex joint and I ordered a plate of Nachos. And I ate and ate and ate. There was no hurry. I ate my way steadily through the entire platter, fully satisfied with every bite.
It was a unique experience, so complete and total in every aspect. And my craving was satisfied. Not a trace remains. I don’t crave it any more, period.
When we embrace an emotion or an experience in its entirety, it makes its way through us and out. However, when we resist it, its passage is thwarted. It lingers on in our system, half-hearted, half-digested. Undigested food is not very different from undigested emotion. Both result in disease. So, embrace all that comes your way, be it the grief of losing a parent or the sensory experience of tucking into a plate of sinfully delicious nachos. Allow it to penetrate your heart, your gut, your brain. Be one with it, 100%. Then allow it to flow away so it leaves behind no traces, no guilt, no regrets.
Lakshmi Jagad is a communications and social media consultant, writer and blogger. An ideal day for Lakshmi includes yoga, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation, a steaming cup of masala chai tea and writing. She holds a Masters Degree in Mass Communication from Georgia State University. Lakshmi teaches and volunteers at the Art Of Living Foundation.
Thanks Lakshmi, I passed this article onto someone who lost her mother recently, and the circumstances were very similar. I know it will help her too. Pls keep writing…JGD!
Well-written article ! Lucid and thoughtful. Totally agree with that line, ‘Undigested food is not very different from undigested emotion’. Hoping to see more articles from you !
Well written. It is worth noting that when a person is attempting to cope with loss and grief that the emotions may not be capable of being processed at the time. It is ok to be patient with this process. Seeing an emotion, recognizing it , and then letting it go may not be all at one time but instead may take extensive time. Much of this depends on the trauma experienced and the copping skills a given person has at the time of the trauma. Anyways, I say all of this to really just say that patience, awareness, and accountability are important to the healing process.
This was a thought provoking post and I look forward to more like it. Thanks Isabelle and Lakshmi.
Patience and awareness, yes. And we hone these skills with time and practice… Thanks for reading, Matt.
I completely agree with your words- “Undigested food is not very different from undigested emotion”. In fact, according to Yoga, any stimulus that we receive through our senses that stimulate our thoughts & emotions are also clubbed under “Ahara” (food). The practice of Pratyahara (Prati + ahara), one of the important components of the classical Ashtanga (8-limbs) Yoga is to be in harmony with all these Aharas.
So true. All that feeds into our senses and our mind is food indeed. Such a beautiful and accurate perspective provided by yoga…
Well said Lakshmi, well said…
So charming! It’s amazing how the small things (in this case, nachos) can bring us to such personal wisdom!
Yeah, don’t underestimate the power of the nacho!
Very well written as always. The story(ies) though personal experiences, are an essay on both indulgence and on letting go. It is a wonder how both the seeming opposites go hand-in-hand and this essay bring it out so well.
Looking forward to more heart warming (and mouth watering) essays.
Thanks, Sriram. Your comment rings so true. I didn’t really think about this essay as navigating between indulging and letting go but it does read that way…