Tuesday, September 11, 2018
When I wrote my first business plan in 1996, to get on the self employed assistance program with HCDC, I ended the submission with a paragraph about what I wanted or hoped people would say about me at my funeral. The kind of person I was, how much I loved my family and friends, how I contributed to the community, the adventures I had. I was inspired to write that because at that time I had done my first few yoga retreats at The Kripalu Centre for and Health and one thing I had learned, was that death was a great teacher in the yoga tradition. Death was the equalizer. We were all going to die some day and so death’s big lesson to us was to really love life. To savour life. To create the conditions in ourselves where we would live as long and healthy as we could. There was nothing gloomy or sad in the contemplation of death. Rather there was a feeling of power and urgency to really savour and enjoy the moments we get. As I wrote that business plan I was committing to living a full and interesting life. To notice the small things and be grateful. And I’ve never forgotten that.
At the end of every yoga class I guide a pose called “savasana” and it is also called the corpse. When we lie quietly on our mats, is represents the death of old ideas, old ways of being. Letting go of things that are no longer helping us. It’s like we enter a state of blissful neutrality. In this pose we abide in ourselves, exactly as we are. And we are enough. “Savasana” is considered to be a pose that reduces agitation and restlessness out of the body. It helps to ground the nervous system, pacify the brain and is a great prep for deeper states of meditation and the practice of yoga nidra (yogic sleep). “Savasana” is one pose you want to master in the practice of yoga.
A few weeks ago Jim and I went to the funeral of a family friend of his. Sheldon was 90 years old and had known Jim’s mom his whole life. They had been neighbours. The funeral was just so touching. Sheldon lived his whole life in the same house and never married. The stories the minister and families told of him spoke of a quiet man who generously gave to his family, friends and church. He was a farmer, an avid reader and a man with a great sense of humour. At one point the Minister was saying “you will remember Sheldon when” and spoke of his rhubarb patch that was huge and that he shared with everyone. Many, many years of shared rhubarb pie in that community. After the service we went downstairs in the church where the men and women had prepared a lovely lunch for us to share and talk about Sheldon. The dessert was of course, rhubarb pie.