Last Breath – sometimes we need to talk about the storm to make it to the sunshine

 

Last Breath

Looking over her shoulder, Susan could see only a mixture of hazed images. The trees far above the rooftop, bending from the weight of the snow that had been falling for days. The lights of the city, far off in the distance, glorified the simplicity of an act she knew she must do. Where she was, she thought nothing could hurt her.

Susan could think of nothing else, except how peaceful it felt to be alone, where no one would be able to find her, where she could only hear the muffled sounds of her parents inside her house, forever screaming at each other.

She was sitting now, legs dangling in the air. Susan studied them for a while, laughing pure joy as she allowed the snow to accumulate on her shoe, then fling it off with a slight kick, watching the snow as it would float to the ground, landing softly and finally becoming one with the land. Susan would then imagine she was a snowflake, and as she went to the ground, she would look in the window through which she could see her parents, and stick there for a moment. They never noticed her there, so she let herself fall.

There was no doubt in Susan’s mind why she was sitting on top of her parents’ house, during a snowstorm. She wanted nothing more than to be as peaceful and graceful as a simple snowflake. She had already tied up all loose ends, which consisted only of saying goodbye to Rex, the aging black lab who was her only true friend.

Steading herself, Susan stood slowly, careful not to fall. The time had to be right, she knew. Once she was standing, Susan tilted her head back and closed her eyes. Never had she felt so courageous. Moving her arms to her sides, she took a deep breath in. Taking a step forward, she let her last breath out.

She did not open her eyes to see if her parents were watching, she knew they were not. Susan stopped breathing before she hit the ground. As she lay there and the snow fell over her, fourteen years of life melted from her body and dissolved, perhaps faster than the snowflakes that cushioned her fall.

 

This was something that I wrote more than fifteen years ago, and found today. I decided to share it because it is still so pertinent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the leading causes of death among teenagers is suicide. “The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.” That’s 4,600 kids who, each year, will never know that an awesome life can be just around the bend.

I share this with you today so that if you have kids, you check in on them. Life can seem really hard sometimes, and it can be so easy to not see the warning signs. I know what it feels like to be so wrapped up in life that you stop seeing what is in front of you, sometimes because one more problem may be too much to bear.

I was so lucky, am so grateful, that when I was going through divorce a friend suggested I send my daughter to a therapist. A great art therapist who let my daughter feel heard. Who gave her the tools to deal with her anger and confusion, and to know that she had someone who would always hear her. I know – we can’t all see a therapist or send our kids to one, but we can all check on our kids, right now; right at this very moment.

I have a bad habit of playing the “what-if” game with myself, concocting all sorts of worst-case scenarios. This short scene that I wrote years before my daughter was born still haunts me, because it fits into my what-if game so well.

One of the hardest things with doing energy work on others is that if there is no physical symptom that brings them in for a session, they don’t see the point. The point is that prevention is key to physical and emotional health, if you are lucky enough to begin before the symptoms appear. So, go check on your child. And I’ll go check on mine.

Namaste. –Amy

© 2015 Amy Sampson

 

Welcome Home – how being in downward dog brought it all together

Happily, I am a new student of yoga. I have known for some time that I would be going to yoga class. It fits with my core beliefs, resonates with what I have learned with Reiki and acupressure, and continues the mind, body, and soul journey that I am on. I have talked about going to yoga class, did my research, and even bought a mat and videos to learn the postures and practice at home. It would be years after those purchases that I stepped foot into an actual class.

So, three weeks ago, my sister and I decided that we needed a serious energy boost and went to our first yoga class, at Pedal Power in Greenwood Lake. I proudly brought my very own mat with me — my fourth mat — because who wants to start a new journey (again) with a dusty old mat? And do you know what? I loved it. I have no idea what kept me from going all these years. Alright; in the true spirit of owning up to the tales we spin to ourselves and those who will listen, I know exactly why I have not gone. It’s not that I don’t like exercise — I love to walk, I have a long stride for my short legs and I can literally walk for hours. It’s that I am not flexible –like, really not flexible – and I had no desire to flaunt that to anyone.

What I learned when I began my first class just a few weeks ago, walking in at the last minute and having to start my very first class in the very front row, the only spot that was not taken, was that no one really cares. Yoga is obviously good exercise and can help get you into amazing shape, but it’s also spiritual. And being so, the others in the class do not care if my tree pose is missing a few branches. During that first class, my legs were wobbly and my arms were shaking. I realized that you should absolutely not eat dinner right before class. My stomach was turned upside down and squeezed like a sponge. But I walked in with shoulder pain, and just an hour later I was completely pain free. I felt lighter, and not just because I literally compressed my organs. I felt like I had finally taken a step towards accomplishing something I knew I should have been doing all along. 

My last class was just as special. The instructor brought the spiritual aspect to a whole new level, with a meditation dealing with the third eye chakra and bringing the creative into our lives. At one moment, she told us to close our eyes and visualize what it is that we wanted. When I did so, I saw very clearly that the book I am writing is published. I saw what the cover looked like, I saw my name on the bottom, the colors that danced on the glossy surface. And amazingly, I saw the title that I have been struggling to dream up since I wrote my first sentence so many months ago. I have had such a hard time with the title, knowing that it needed to be something that would stand out, but also encompass the concept of the story – which is about finding my way through depression and a bad relationship (many, actually), about how the world of energy work helped me to save myself, about how I can love and care for others all I want but it’s the soul inside of me that I needed to find in order to do those things. And when I closed my eyes, I saw my message so clearly: Welcome Home. 

This is the most important lesson I have learned so far. We all have to look within ourselves to find out who we are and what we are meant to do. It’s not something that someone else can give us. Support us, yes. Love us, sure. But we first have to learn that our home, our power, resides within. Once we do, we can reach that quiet state, and an in instant, know that we are home. Namaste.

 

©2015 Amy Sampson