On Sunday 16th September I had the honour of attending my cousin’s wedding. It was a joyous celebration of love, family and the good things in life. I’d been looking forward to getting dressed up, having a night without my daughter, Mackenzie, connecting with family and dancing until the late hours of the night. Just as I sat down to catch up with my Aunty, my brother received a phone call we hoped we’d never receive. He called me over to a corner of the room behind the blaring speakers and calmly said, “They found Butcher this morning”.

I gasped in horror and covered my gaping mouth with my hands. As his words weaved into my body my stomach churned until I felt like I was going to vomit. I burst into tears; the kind of sobbing that involves the entire body shaking uncontrollably, as I felt the weight of the loneliness our friend must have bore in those moments before he chose to end his life.  

When I felt able to return to the celebrations I sat down and watched the room full of people enjoying the evening, unaware of the tragedy I had just heard about. I sat in conflict, my external world bathed in light, a beautiful bride, a doting husband and music that made your body want to move. My eyes puffy from crying, my bottom lip quivering as I tried to hold back the tears, my internal world suffocating in darkness over the loss of a friend to suicide.

I was acutely aware of the disparity in witnessing moments of pure joy when my heart felt like it was crumbling. A celebration of life and love shadowed by the depths of one man’s inability to crawl out of the black hole he felt buried in. As I watched guests banter and laugh I remembered another time when I felt pulled between the light and dark. I was standing in the emergency department watching Mackenzie receive life saving treatment as a baby. As doctors pumped her full of needles, drugs and tubes she suddenly smiled in delight at the sound of my voice begging her to wake as she came out of an adrenal crisis. The dimples in her cheeks immediately soothed my fears and settled the thumping heart in my chest, filling me with a sense of overwhelming relief and joy.

I’ve spent the past nine years creating the illusion that I’ve found a sense of equilibrium in my life. As Mackenzie grew, her development and independence improved and her health stabilised I invested time and energy in understanding my Self, my beliefs, the things that disrupt my peace of mind, and created opportunities to reconnect with the essence of my Self. I wanted to build a strong foundation to come back to when life got too up or down. As I felt this gut wrenching sadness for the loss of a friend at one of life’s greatest celebrations, I danced between the very up and the very down, reminded of the constant polarity of this beautiful life.

Less than two weeks later I launched my book, The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo and I released tears of pure overwhelm, happiness, pride and gratitude. 24 hours later I released tears of sorrow as I farewelled my friend at his funeral. I was bathed in duality as I embraced the light celebrating one of my greatest achievements and embraced the dark as it reared its ugly head. No matter how solid that foundation is life will continue to undulate through its ebbs and flows, and can change dramatically in any given moment. I accepted that there were vastly different experiences for me to endure over the past few weeks and simply gave myself permission to be present in each moment. I allowed myself to experience every emotion and made the choice to not allow one emotion impact on the expression of the other. I allowed myself to celebrate my joys, and then sat in quiet contemplation of my friend’s decision when I felt the need.

We can only ever fully appreciate and experience the fullness of life and the emotions that are available to us unless they’re known in comparison to another. I was reminded that it’s OK to feel moments of bliss amongst the chaos of tragedy, and express moments of despair when life is being celebrated.

The light only exists in the presence of darkness.

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I’m hosting a Blindfolded Yoga Workshop at One Big Heart in Camden, NSW. It’s an immersive experience that will guide you to connect with the essence of your true Self. It asks you to look within, to sit in the darkness, free your Self of self-imposed limitations, embody the emotions residing within you, and learn to completely surrender into trust.

Some basic yoga understanding is necessary but you don’t need to be a seasoned yogi! Come and find your light in the dark. BOOK HERE

Saturday 6th October 430-630pm at One Big Heart: 11/1-15 Murray St, Camden NSW

Tanya Savva