Wednesday, April 29, 2009

we don't always get to know

I got a couple of e-mails in response to my post about Gabe Feld's death- people who knew Gabe, but who I don't know, wanting to know more, and especially know why.  (I want to know too, dammit)  I wanted to post an (abridged) version of one of my replies.  Details about the recipient are deleted for obvious reasons.  Maybe it's useful to someone else:

I wish I had more answers for you- I didn't know Gabe really well; we ran in some of the same circles, and David Vendetti mentored both of us, but we weren't close.  I actually hadn't seen him for awhile.  I've heard scuttlebutt about what exactly happened, but beyond what I posted I don't know for sure, so don't want to spread information I'm not sure about.  No one I've talked to saw this coming. 
The especially confusing and maddening part of this situation is that Gabe was always, as you said, the bright light encouraging everyone to shine, and he wouldn't follow his own encouragement.  When I let myself feel, I get profoundly angry at him for all the mess he left here and the pain he brought forth by his leaving.  The key for me is not to try to bury how I feel, but to let it out.  If you're sad and haunted or angry or even giddy and whatever else, feel that completely, don't deny it's validity.  

My teacher David was saying that he's noticed in his grief that when he's with people, when he's doing his work and offering it up to Gabe's memory, it goes better than if he stays by himself and shuts off.  So I would encourage you to reach out to people in your life now- talk to the yoga friends, seek out our other teachers, talk to friends or family.  Look at gabe's facebook page, all those people pouring out their hearts.  I'm sure that any of them, if Gabe asked, would've come running to him and held his hand, and talked him through.  I'm equally confident, though I don't know you, that you have those people too.  Use them now.
I appreciate your confusion about yoga and breathwork- it's completely understandable.  I feel oddly lucky in that I've had yoga teachers who are brilliant teachers, thinkers and motivators who don't necessarily walk the talk very welll.  It drives home to me that our lives don't magically shift just because we land on the mat or breathe big.  It is a constant process, one step forwards and two steps back, and we fall often.  I love yoga because when I'm practicing or now teaching I feel like I can't help but put my best foot forward and shine.  But that doesn't make the other foot disappear- indeed, I couldn't walk without it.  I don't think- no, I know that Gabe's passing doesn't in any way diminish his work while he was here.  It just means he has another foot too. 
I am reminded of a story that Ram Dass tells in one of his books, where a disciple asks one of Ram Dass' gurus one of the "big questions"- is there reincarnation, why are we here, what happens when we die, something like that.  The teacher smiled and said "that's none of our business."  I think his point was not to be stern or awful, but to point out that our work is here and now, being, breathing feeling, and looking for big answers can take us away from that work. This is one of those things that we never get to know, because it's ultimately none of our business, as cruel as that seems.  Our business is being here now.  We who he leaves behind can only commit to doing our work, and honor the joy he brought us by spreading it. 
I realize that's probably a longer non-answer than you were looking for, but I hope it helps.  I hope I see you around.

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