I’ve never been good at timelines and dates, but if I were to guess, I would say that I was about 25 at the time of my Grandpa’s Catholic funeral. When the time came to share a few words about our Grandpa, my brother Cameron confidently stood and made his way to the podium. First, you should know; Cameron is charming, well spoken, a great storyteller, and never shy. So it came as a surprise to everyone when halfway through, he began crying the kind of cry you can't return from, wrapped up his speech, and returned to his seat.
Afterwards, I stood in the church waiting for whatever was next. My father came up to me and said, “Here, hold this.” I dutifully grabbed the box in his hands and went looking for my brothers. Like moths to a lantern, we all walked across the room towards each other and stood in silence for what was probably no time at all but felt like forever. Eventually, I interrupted the silence by announcing, “Cameron lost his shit.” We broke into laughter, and forever after, we have endearingly used that term with one another, the way only siblings can.
It wasn't until I recovered from my laughter that I realized the box I was holding was Grandpa.
All this to tell you that recently, my friend Zachary sent me a 53 second Youtube video. I watched it four times in the parking lot of Whole Foods, crying, snotting, and laughing from my belly.
I lost my shit.
Once I got myself back together, I wondered about this term. Although my brothers and I have never sat down and defined it, we all intuitively knew it wasn't exclusive to sadness and funerals. You could just as easily lose your shit watching a 53 second Youtube video. So on this particular day, in the Whole Foods parking lot, it became clear to me that losing your shit meant that you are expressing the purest form of emotion. Not the tethered emotion you planned on expressing, not what you practiced, or what you think people want, but instead true, raw, undeniable emotion that you weren't expecting. That's the key element. It’s so raw and unexpected that even you yourself, the one crying, or laughing, is surprised.
The older we get, the less free we become from allowing raw emotion to surprise even ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to keep everything bundled up inside so as not to...what? Be real? Be human?
As we get present with body and breath in the practice of yoga, we continually ask ourselves, what's needed next, how does this feel here? That practice of listening and going where the body wants to go next, over time, allows more freedom in all of the ways we experience the world. When we know that we can move through discomfort on the mat, we learn that we can allow discomfort in its rawest form off the mat. This applies to joy in just the same way. Our yoga practice is a glimpse out the window of all that is possible and the more comfortable we get with going where the body wants to go, the more accessible the possibilities become.