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September 10, 2021-Grief and Humor – Vrksasana-Tree Pose-Berry Tart

I spent the last several days with my 90-year-old mom at the Brimfield Antique Fair. What started 30 years ago as an up and back trip has become a 3-day adventure including staying over in Sturbridge and visiting the booths of many dealers we have become friends with over the years. Some of you may recall I dropped the car keys down a storm drain on the first day of the festival trip two years ago. This year we survived a broken starter, the car being towed to RI, finding ourselves with no transportation, no Ubers and no food, along with a freak thunder and lightning rainstorm in the middle of a sunny day. We also found generosity of strangers who gave us rides, made us laugh and offered

(Bermuda Last September)

help. Instead of focusing on bad luck, during both trips we tried to find humor and embraced what my high school friends call my love of a MacGyver challenge. 🤣😂

A poignant part of this visit was visiting our dealer friends, brothers Robert and Roger while missing their dear friend Christine who passed unexpectedly since we saw them last year. While we knew about it (Robert had called us), it still brought us up short to visit their booth and not hear her throaty laugh and see her welcoming smile and laugh with her humor. For over 25 years, the highlight of our Thursday in May’s Field is spending time hanging at their booth and catching up. Instead of focusing on the sadness, I have been channeling some of my friends that have passed knowing that Christine, Diane, my Dad smiling down at Mom and my adventures, glad we had this time together and laughing at our antics. They all had great senses of humor and I know that they are with us in spirit. I was comforted during my first reading of the Bhagavad Gita several years ago by Krishna’s words to Arjuna when he reminds him that as “one abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within”. The sense of the soul remaining when our physical self is gone (embraced by many religions and other spiritual teachings) gives much comfort. I know, for example that when I wear a dress that I bought from Chris, or gaze on the glass star that Diane had wrapped for me before she passed or read a book that Dad and I shared, that they are with me in another form, and that brings me joy and comfort.

Tree Pose – Vrksasana

As I think of friends that I have lost, I often remember times that we spent laughing, times of joy or silliness. This gives me comfort and makes me smile. Many of you have heard me say why tree pose makes me laugh. When I visited my parents in Florida, my Dad would often be sitting in his chair just off the lanai when I was practicing. He would tease (heckle) me in the colorful way that only he could and, while I was trying to be oh so meditative or yogic, I would just start to laugh so hard and fall over. When I do tree now and find myself tensing up or not finding my balance, I remember those days, breathe deep and smile - it always serves to straighten and strengthen my pose.

Tree pose helps strengthen our core and legs and stretches our groin and opens our hips. Building balance is important especially as we age; balance, along with a strong core, will help keep us active and healthy for a long time!

  • Start in mountain pose (tadasana), hands at heart center. Check in with your alignment head to feet, and that your feet are rooted into the floor evenly through all four corners.

  • Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.

  • Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your ankle, calf or inner right thigh. If on the ankle, you can keep your toes on the floor, hip is open to the side.

  • Press your foot into your leg and your leg into the thigh, engage your core, focus on your drishti (focus point that is not moving). Take 5-10 breaths, adding your arms (branches). Remember, most important to maintain humor, smile and breathe.

  • Don’t forget the other side. 🤣😂

Meditation – Celebrating Those We Love

I suggest this week we dedicate our practice to those that we have loved and lost, who inspired us, taught us, and made us laugh. This poem by Maya Angelou, while poignant is also joyful and reminds us how to celebrate the joy in these relationships.

When Great Trees Fall – Maya Angelou

When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety.

When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.

Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

And just to remind us about maintaining our sense of humor, remember that Henry Ward Beecher Stowe said, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road” – Henry Ward Beecher

Nurturing with Food – Berry Tarts

At the end of summer, I think of berries. These berry tarts are a great way to use any summer fruits (including sliced peaches and nectarines) and will help you savor the last weeks of this beautiful season.

See you on the mat,


Julia Anne

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