I love Taylor Swift. I have embraced being a Swiftie. It has become a bit of a joke with some of my clients that as soon as new Taylor music drops you can expect some of it in class. But there is a song on her new album that hit me in a less upbeat way.
I had read reviews and I was warned that “Soon You’ll Get Better” would be an emotional experience. This song is about watching a parent go through cancer treatment (for Taylor her mother). I have written before about watching my own mother go through breast cancer treatment. It being October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am constantly reminded about how trivialized and sexualized breast cancer has become. Honestly, I get so offended by save the ta-tas shirts that I wish we would all be less aware of breast cancer. However, this is not the experience that the song brought up for me . It made me think about my father’s dementia.
Again, this is a topic that I have written about before. I try to be open about what our family is going through without wearing it on my sleeve every day. There are moments that still get me and these lines in the song made me pull over while driving so I could cry:
And I hate to make this all about me
But who am I supposed to talk to?
What am I supposed to do
If there's no you?
There are a lot of things that I can only talk about with my dad.
On my most recent visit home, he was in a good place and was acting like himself. We watched Walker, Texas Ranger re-runs and mocked a lot of the over-the-top production choices. My dad is where I get my sense of humor. He taught me the art of television commentary.
My dad was a coach and understands a lot of what I see as a yoga teacher. Leaving some of the philosophy aside, he understands what it is like to try and bring the best out of someone. He knows what it is like to teach and inspire all while knowing you are a flawed human being yourself.
If you have read my other posts, you probably know that I am about to bring this all back to the teachings of Yoga. This one is always hard for me to connect back. I tend to resist Yoga’s teachings most when it comes to dealing with my pain over my dad. I try to excuse this resistance by telling myself Patanjali could never understand my pain. But no excuse truly holds up.
When I get to this place of worry and fear over my dad I am letting my mind run wild. It goes through scenario after scenario of what might happen. Yoga is about becoming the master of the mind so that you can separate the could be from the what is. In the book, Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Lesson, author Joan Borysenko explains that,
“This does not mean languishing in a state of bliss and dropping out of the world. It means centering ourselves in the present so that we can perform our actions in the world with greater awareness: more honestly, lovingly, competently and confidently.”
When I think of how I would like to spend time with my dad, and my mom too for that matter, I would like it to be in a more loving and honest way. I want to be present with them every chance I get. Also, I just achieved one of my personal goals of directly relating Taylor Swift’s music to Yoga’s teachings. I feel like that is enough for one day.