Emotional & Mental Health for Widows

Yoga and Widowhood: The Lessons

Carolyn Moor

Last week we talked about putting up a windmill when the high winds of life begin to blow our way. I think it is fair to say that losing your partner is like being in hurricane powered winds – like you can’t even catch your breathe at times!! It makes you want to run for cover…and for a time, you do because you must.

But when the winds begin to shift, we must resist the urge to go semi-isolated and find a flexible agreement with that voice inside. That means you will have to actively choose to step-by-step live with some resistance and come to peace with it vs. off-loading the hurt and fear that comes with doing new things as a new person.

If we off-load, or otherwise known as numbing our pain, we resist accepting healthy emotions and therefore, the healing that comes forth with working through those emotions………’it ends up looking like alcohol, drugs, food, bad relationships, money, work, gambling, affairs, religion, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism and even the internet’. (From Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown). We all struggle with a way to integrate the enormous uncontrollable emotions felt in becoming widowed. But what we hope at MWC is we each find a healthy way to work through those moments and come out better on the other side.

Last night, I was in a Hot Yoga class. I love doing this kind of exercise because it has taught me extreme patience and tolerance with myself. And when I say ‘myself’, I mean my whole being….mind, body and spirit.

I can clearly remember a time when I was a young, spunky gymnast who could do the most incredible feats with her body (think Olga Korbut on the balance beam)…..so to be in a yoga class and unable to hold a pose is quite humbling.

There are poses where I feel empowered (Warrior 1 & 2) and there are poses where I feel like a Bozo (Balancing Stick). Oh my gosh, ‘I hope no one is looking’….but then my teacher reminds me ‘It’s all about the practice’….then I calm back down, because in yoga, there is no comparison with another. We need more yoga philosophy for all mankind.

So, I’m here to share that widowhood is all about the practice of being flexible with what life brings you. Yes, it truly sucks to lose the love of our lives… double, triple sucks……we don’t want to be in this club (dammit). But we are.

It will require us to be proactive as we overcome many obstacles and struggles….some which feel unsurmountable, some you can do in your sleep now. Keep going. Stay faithful and flexible.

There is one thing I’ve found in people who find more peace, comfort and energy within widowhood…it’s when they keep moving forward (even after 2 steps back) and simultaneously reach back to help others. Because when you do this, you gain a new perspective and mindset that instantly leads to more flexibility.

I see this happening every day in our private FB forums across the country. When someone is having one of ‘those’ kind of days…we talk about it. Then others listen and compassionately validate. This is when a community like MWC is so vital and nurturing long term. I have learned so much from each of you, so keep sharing.

Flexibility + Action = Resilience

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Knowing there are women who have not only survived what I was going through, but were also thriving and moving forward in their lives.
— MSC Wister® (Widow + Sister)