Kat Farrants, MFML founder, shares her journey: How heartbreak was the very foundation of starting Movement for Modern Life how her healing journey included Mimi’s Qigong classes!
Some of you may already know, I founded Movement for Modern Life in the midst of heartbreak. This is a bit about how and why I turned to Qigong for healing me and my heart!
MFML was birthed, as many of us are birthed, through endless waterfalls of tears. It was a day in June, 13 years ago, when my husband sent me a text to let me know that he’d found someone else. We had been together since we were teenagers. I was devastated to the extent that I really had no idea of what life could look like on my own. I’d never lived on my own as a grown up. It seemed utterly horrific, terrifying. I had no idea that life could feel that terrible. I had no idea how I could live one day to the next, let alone enjoy my life again. There were tears on my yoga mat. Tears when I went out with my friends. Tears when I wasn’t thinking about it at all, just tears seeping into every aspect of my life.
This sounds very dramatic. But heartbreak is. Most of us have experienced it at some point or another. The utterly shattering feeling of loss when grief overcomes us.
I numbed myself to avoid the pain
Of course, that shattering feeling did slightly diminish with time. Time really does heal wounds, but for some that healing process is longer than for others. For me, the first year or so after the utter devastation of losing my home, my identity, and yes, life as I knew it. I slept on a friend’s blow up mattress in her front room and I numbed myself in any way I knew how. I surrounded myself with friends, I went to endless parties, went on holidays and drank A LOT. Eventually the party was over and I couldn’t avoid it, the healing had to begin. I moved back to London and got myself a flat and a job. I got back to my yoga-practice and started to re-build my life, best as I could.
It wasn’t until I had the double-heartbreak of my beloved dog, Saffy, getting cancer, that I moved out of London to care for her. When I moved out of town, I realised that I had relied on my London yoga classes to help to process my grief. Yoga and movement really helped me to heal. The consistent practice of moving with the breath heals and soothes from the inside out. When Saffy passed, I was out in the middle of the countryside, and my grief returned four-fold. Though I tried to roll my mat out at home, it was useless on my teary mat.
I needed my amazing teachers at home with me!
That’s when I realised how much I needed my amazing yoga teachers, who’d seen me through the heartbreak in London. But now I needed them with me in my countryside home. That’s when I had the idea to set up an online yoga company. So that I, and others, could practice yoga at home, when we need it the most. And that is how Movement for Modern Life was dreamt up, written in tear soaked paper and with my broken heart!!
One of the first teachers I asked was Mimi Kuo-Deemer, a yoga and qigong teacher who I’d practiced with in London. Her classes had deeply resonated with me, and had played a big part in my healing journey. The practice that seemed to help me the most was her Qigong for healing heartbreak, it was here I first realised Qigong was so powerful for healing.
It took around 8 years of carefully tending to my business baby before I was ready to open my heart again. But, thankfully, I did, and I fell head over heels. It really was truly madly deeply, a crazy-beautiful love affair.
My heart broke again – this time it was different
Cutting a long story shorter, I was again devastated when this didn’t work out. The familiar darkness overcame me. The wounds which I thought had healed, opened up. But now, ten years on, full of the wisdom imparted to me from my beloved MFML family, I went there, deeper into the darkness of sorrow. This time was different, there was no drink. No partying. No avoiding or softening the blow. I spent the winter in utter depths of grief, despair. Just journaling and practicing. I learnt that healing isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a repeated life practice, and here I was healing again.
I turned to Qigong for healing me and my heart
Yet again I found that the practices of qigong that Mimi had taught me through the years really helped my healing journey. I found that qigong for healing heartbreak really did help. I journalled and practiced diligently, writing the truths of my hurting heart, of my wrenching guts. It was a deep adventure and journey inwards. It took me further into my heart, into my origin story, into the endless stories of my head and the feelings in my heart and gut than I’ve ever dared to go before.
I am lucky to have been on a couple of retreats with Mimi, and each time I was struck by the ability of movement to heal the body and spirit. It turns out that qigong really can heal heartbreak!! It was then I asked my beautiful teacher, Mimi to please send me specific qigong for healing heartbreak practices which would help me, and others, through these darker moments. Even though it felt scary, I wanted to open my heart to this authentic grief, despair, and sadness. I wanted to feel it all and I didn’t want friends saying it was OK. It wasn’t ok. I didn’t want anything to cover or numb the pain or feelings, I wanted to go deeply into the sensations of grief, into my heart.
Try the ‘Yoga to Heal Heartache’ course on Movement for Modern Life
It was time to feel and heal from the inside
The only way out was through it. This time, I didn’t want an easy way round. I wanted to heal and repair from the inside out.
Am I over it? No, have I moved on? No. I’ve learned that there is no letting go. There is no moving on. There’s simply learning to live with a deep scar. And yes, this heartbreak has scarred me deeply. The love was deep and the sorrow runs in rivers. As it’s been first said by Rumi, and repeated by my favourite poet, Leonard Cohen, ‘the wound is where the light enters you’.
‘the wound is where the light enters you’Rumi
This is why I wanted to learn about my wound and how to live with my scarred heart. Most importantly, I wanted to learn how to stay open, stay trusting, stay within a place of love and feeling love, so that I can give and receive love of friends, myself, and others in the world around me. My intention is to live wholeheartedly, unreservedly, with the deepest love and curiosity for the world, even with my broken heart.
Our culture teaches us to guard and protect our hearts, to be ‘strong and silent’ in our pain. But I’m resolute in my intention that true strength lies in being open, in being willing to love, despite the pain, in being vulnerable, permeable and scarred, to let the light in through the darkest moments. So even through the pain of heartbreak i’ve been learning to keep my heart open. I have been staying curious about my feelings, i’ve stayed in connection, listening.
Life is about staying open and loving deeply
To love and connect deeply, to stay open to love, that is what life is about to me. Will heartbreak stop me? No, it’ll only serve to deepen my service to love and help to acquaint me to practices to awaken, cultivate and nourish my heart. Will I ever be be fully ‘healed’? No! But will my heart be open, albeit scarred and broken – absolutely.
Yoga, Qigong and other practices keep my heart awake and nourished. They have supported me on this journey, to stay awake and open through the pain. Isn’t that the real practice of life? Staying awake, staying really present to all the triumphs and the many sorrows. Heartbreak is just one of the many sorrows that wlll befall most of us, and of course, it is one of those wonderful portals for true transformation. Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Absolutely. But is it a real opportunity for awakening? Yes. A precious time to be grateful for.
I have made these beautiful Qigong for healing heartbreak classes, from Mimi, into a series on MFML that we can all access for lifetime, whenever we need. They are there to come back to time and time again, to remind us to stay open, to have courage, the strength to move forwards and heal.
With all my love,
p.s. curious to learn more about Qigong? Read this blog on Qigong for Beginners