Have you ever found yourself in your car…crying…alone? I’m definitely a car crier. There’s something about the solitude of driving and the feeling of not being in any one place that makes the tears come a little easier. Songs seem to magically have deeper meaning, the events of the day seem bigger than they really are and emotions weight a little heavier. Sometimes I drive around feeling completely blissful and grateful for sunshine and beautiful days and then other times I am on the opposite end of the spectrum – sentimental and emotional.
One sure fire way to bring on the car crying is by listening to StoryCorps on NPR. I’m pretty sure that I’ve cried listening to about 75 percent of them. If you’re not familiar with StoryCorps, let me bring you up to speed. Here is an excerpt from the “About Us” page on the website.
“StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.”
Rewind to Sunday morning. I’m driving around in my car and listening to another great NPR show, On Being. I happened to catch the end of the show and the topic was contemplating mortality. Heavy stuff for a Sunday morning, right? To close the show they played the most touching excerpt from a StoryCorps that was recorded between Danny and Annie. This Brooklyn, NY couple was married for 27 years before Danny passed away from a fast-spreading form of cancer. They visited StoryCorps twice. The first time before his diagnosis to share their love story and the second time after the diagnosis to discuss how they were dealing with the news and the reality of his mortality. The next thing I knew, the tears were freely flowing.
I usually try to share some type of message with my yoga class on Sunday mornings. I listened to the full story and immediately knew that I was going to not only play it for them but play it while I held them in frog…for five and a half minutes.
Frog is one of those dreaded yoga poses and when I call it out, there’s usually an exodus for the door. “Oh look at the time, I have to meet someone for brunch.” It’s a deep hip and groin opener and definitely one of those poses that requires surrender. The more you fight it, the more it’s going to dig into you. In addition to it being an uncomfortable pose for some, there’s the added factor of hip openers being known to illicit emotional responses in people. So not only are you kind of miserable in the pose unless you surrender to the fact that you’re in it but you also might be wondering why these crazy feelings and emotions are coming up.
I have to say that I’ve never seen a class so still during frog pose. Usually people start to fidget and come out of it early. No one moved on Sunday as they listed to Danny and Annie tell their story and there weren’t many dry eyes when we finally came out of the pose.
Let me be clear, I didn’t play the story just to make my class cry. I played it because it’s a powerful reminder to be grateful for those you love and for those who love you. Also, to remember that love is not just about grand sweeping gestures but about how you love someone every single day. At the beginning of class I encouraged my class to dedicate their practice to someone they loved.
I leave you with two things. The story of Danny and Annie and a how-to video detailing frog pose. Y’all asked for more videos. I’m trying!
DANNY AND ANNIE – STORYCORPS
Do it and let me know how long you last.