Hold On & Be Held

There was a point during my time serving at the Ganga Prem Hospcie when Reshu asked if I would help carry her to the outdoor area where she would be bathed. I was under the impression that there would be some type of method or contraption that would transport her without too much effort. As it turns out, I was instructed that we would simply grab Reshu by her limbs and lug her to the bathing area. I started to panic when we shifted her off of the bed. The deadweight from her paralyzed body was difficult for me to carry. I looked down in terror to notice that her head was craning back. I quickly maneuvered to support and lift her skull, and she immediately started to say “No, no, no!” I lost all presence to what was going on during the frenzy. Reshu was in a terrible state when we placed her on the ground. Picking up Reshu’s head caused her intense dizziness. I watched her briefly as she laid helpless and in pain before walking outside of the room to cry my eyes out.

The nurses called me back after Reshu’s bath to carry her once again. As soon as my hands touched Reshu, I knew that there was no room for losing focus. Her body was now damp and slippery. I gripped her arms tightly and began chanting fiercely in my mind, “I will not let you go!” We shuffled and struggled our way to eventually hoist her back to the bed. In that moment of relief came a sense of euphoria. I realized that I had been transported beyond my panicked state and gave all of my concentration and strength to the present moment.

My inner dialog and anxiety did not allow any space for me to hear Reshu cries towards me when I elevated her head. It was only when I could be fully present was when I could carry her with steadiness and support her the way that she needed. This whole experience was a reminder of what yoga is about. We initially do yoga to empower ourselves. At a certain point in our practice, it is necessary to move beyond our sense of the individual. Only when we realize there is something higher than our self can we truly have the space to wholeheartedly support another person. We must develop the power to hold one another and maintain the courage to be held.

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