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Dharma Kitchen

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What My Mom Taught Me About Yoga

Carrie H

My mom never did a single forward-fold or downward-facing dog in her life, but on the way home from an expansive yoga class this morning, full of life-affirming backbends and similarly uplifting camaraderie, I realized that she was more yogic than most people I have met. And that silver threads of her run throughout the people I meet who embody those benevolent qualities. 

First and foremost, she vibrated at a higher frequency than most people around her. It's just the way she was hardwired. She had her dark moments like we all do, but she was full of joy and so funny, funny, funny. Her expressions for things, her way of talking about something, no matter how ridiculous or seemingly insignificant, stick with me still (and with my friends: "I miss your face!" ). She elevated the spirits of everyone who came into her path and you would walk away (or hang up the phone with her) laughing. There are so few people in this world who are blessed with that quality. Luckily, two of them own a business in my town where the visits are like straight-up mainlining joy. I only wish she had been able to meet you, Ron and Ken. 

My sister and I refer to this photo as "Mom from a Godard film." 

My sister and I refer to this photo as "Mom from a Godard film." 

She was fearless and knew no boundaries, sometimes to the embarrassment of her young-to-teenage children, in her genuine interest in and ability to connect with people in an authentic manner. In the supermarket line. At the doctor's office. She would talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything. She wanted to know about you and what made you tick. I see this trait in both of my children, who talk to almost anyone, without even thinking twice. That confidence isn't something you can easily teach. 

She had an unparalleled sense of justice and equality, and possessed the most unwavering moral compass. See also her love of crime-dramas. I can't overhear the gung-gung of a Law and Order episode without thinking of her. (A little bit un-yogic, yes, to watch procedural cop and lawyer shows, but there it is. No one is perfect!) 

She listened to her intuition. Knew when people weren't telling the truth, knew people's true motives without them having showing the slightest of hand. 

She never really talked smack about anyone, even when she had plenty of reason to do so. (Ahimsa, check.) She wasn't a beauty parlor gossip. 

She embodied compassion like no other person I have ever met or will likely ever meet. It's no wonder Mother Mary was her girl; my mom had a direct line with her that strengthened her in challenging times and enabled her to perform selfless acts of compassion, with grace, toward people who had harmed her in life. 

She never complained (at least not to me or my sister) about having cancer. She would hurl expletives at it with laughter, one of barbed attempt at being light-hearted that many of us resort to when things are tough. She always kept a positive attitude. She understood what Wayne Dyer and so many others I've read often espouse: your attitude can change your reality. Unfortunately for her, it didn't change the course of her disease. 

She would sometimes worry about us, but she never let it consume her. She would look forward to things, but she also didn't live in the past. She was grounded.

I am sure there are more, but the one thing that sticks out, that feels like neon lights blinking, blinking, blinking, is the fact that she loved hard and loved big. She would smother you in a hug. She would give you extra kisses. I see it in how Miles is the most kissy and huggy kid I've ever met. Departures, anywhere, are epic (If you have seen us in front of March School or at Third Street, you know what I'm talking about.) I see this sometimes in how I love my boys. It gets a little ridiculous at times, the way I smother them, but they will only be little once and I have to give them extra kisses, all the time, to make up for the love they don't get from her every day. It will never be enough.  

Through it all, I maintain an overwhelming sense of gratitude this Mother's Day toward everyone around me who behaves like a mother and takes care of others. When you start to widen the scope, it becomes limitless.