We are a gang of four: 4 truth-seeking yogis, 3 yogateachers, 2 theologians, 1 pastor, 1 teacher, 1 advaita vedantin and 1 journalist. Different flower heads to the same root*.
Summer 2016, my life fell apart. Everything I thought I’d knew was blown away. What and who I used to be was blown away. I used to be: a life-lover, a fiancée, a partner, a daily meditator, a dedicated yoga-practitioner, a radio-journalist, a yoga teacher, a theologian, and extremely comfortable in my own skin.
My partner, my companion and best friend of eleven years committed suicide. After a relatively short period of suffering. SHIT hit the fan. Big time.
So I found myself amidst the shattered pieces which used to be my life. Nothing helped. No meditation, no yoga, no God, no nothing. What I had previously thought about life and how it all works turned out to be bullshit.
How is a human being able to navigate in such groundless times? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know, when SHIT hits the fan, it’s not time to hide. It’s time to show yourself, raw, undone and unadorned. And make this world a more real and honest place, for God’s sake.
Photo: Andrea Monica Hug
Julie Martin is an internationally recognised yoga teacher who was drawn to the project #whenshithitsthefan. Due in part to the loss of her own mother and also through experiencing other people’s loss and their inability to find a way of dealing with it. She has discovered by connecting to others during their time of tragedy, that most people need a dialogue to allow them to grieve and to discover what works for them. That takes space and time and the help of others who can hold that space. This is lacking for most people and this podcast gives us the forum to enter that dialogue. Hopefully it will open doorways for others to grieve, to have a better understanding of it, and to find the grace within the process of trauma.
Patrick Schwarzenbach is a protestant Pastor. He practices zen meditation, hatha yoga and christian spirituality.
From a christian perspective and from personal experience, it’s very important to acknowledge that suffering and the dark moments in life are not just the unfortunate downside of the ,normal’ and ‚happy’ hours. The moment when SHIT hits the fan reveals our deepest humanity. It’s the time without armour or a security net, the time when our everyday ego is washed away and light shines through the cracks.
The early death of my father, the accompaniment of dying people and their families coupled with my own sad and lonely times, led me to think about this topic and discuss my experiences. For me it’s important to share these experiences, learn from others and find a deeper, richer way of living in connection with all beings.
To cite Leonard Cohen:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Bild: Ursula Markus
Why am I supporting this podcast? The answer might sound dull, but it’s just the truth: I want to spread love. I want to receive love without ignoring the SHIT. Real love, as I’d like to call it. Having lost both my parents at an early age, I have seen quite a bit of personal SHIT splattering the walls around me. What happened? I’ve hidden. Why? Because I haven’t felt welcome. I’ve felt like a burden to society. And I still do at times. However, there have always been people who could handle me, even with the SHIT. These relationships are the REAL THING. As I began to show my vulnerability, my darkest fears, my questions, I realised that people around me felt invited to open up as well. This created a strong feeling of connection. More than that, it was love, actually.
When my most precious friend (yeah, you might know her!) started this project and asked me to support it, I just thought: „If it’s in the name of love, I’m in.” So I’d like to welcome YOU warmly. Welcome to your raw self. Welcome to all your SHIT.
∗ Quotation from my teacher Kiran Trace.