Tag Archives: Mana

Don’t Compare

It’s hard not to notice that many in my yoga class are more limber or better balanced than I am. Some can bend at the waist and touch the floor with their palms, their knees only slightly bent. Others can stand on one leg seemingly forever. Not me.

“Don’t look around,” Mana intuitively instructs the class. “This isn’t a competition. Honor your own body and your unique abilities. You’re perfect just as you are. Don’t compare yourself to others.”

Don’t compare myself to others. Easy to say, hard to do in this ego-ravaged world.  So the lesson keeps presenting itself to me. Prior to a cranial-sacral session with Mana, I tell her of a friend who is not conscientious about his health habits yet is seemingly healthier than I am. Where he definitely has the edge over me in healthful lifestyle is that he doesn’t worry. And that makes me wonder if my stress and anxiety are canceling out my good health habits.

I tell Mana that I want to be more like him, that I need to change.  She immediately responds, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Neither is better than the other. You’re just different.”

I nod, not fully embracing the again-repeated lesson. My blood pressure is high; his isn’t.

She continues, “Self-compassion is important. Otherwise, you can end up feeling guilty for who you are.”

Feeling guilty for who I am. When seen in that light, what a shame, and how debilitating, to carry such guilt around. Of course I could do better. But I don’t need to be like anyone else.

Later that night, I have an unexpected good cry. And then fall into a wonderful night’s sleep. Thanks to the wisdom of my 82 year old yogi.

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Precious Moments

“Precious moments. Wonderful moments,” she sings out to us in a sweet, clear voice as we lie on our mats during cool down.

I’ve always thought of it as a generic construct, encouraging her yoga students to stay present as she quietly walks around covering us with blankets. But tonight, it feels different. Tonight it signifies for me, and I sense for others as well, how precious time is with this 81-year-old yogi. Due to her ethereal nature, I’ve never sensed her mortality before: There will always be Mana, just like there has always been Mana.

Although it’s true that Mana will always be in my soul because she’s taught me so much, I still have much more to learn from this wise woman. Moments with her do indeed feel precious now.

I’ve been paying class-by-class, never sure if I can make it from one week to the next. Tonight I pay for eight classes, both to signify my commitment to the practice and as a way to obligate Mana to stay on this plane for me, as crazy as that may seem.

I will not take for granted precious moments spent with this precious woman.

– Journal entry, March 2013

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A Terrible Mistake

The recent loss of a dear friend – an elderly woman who I believed immortal – brings back the same feeling I had when my mother died…that it’s all a terrible mistake. I keep waiting for a call or a text from my friend…even though the memorial is this weekend.

Denial is the first stage of loss.  It works for awhile…

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She can’t be dead. It’s not possible. I keep expecting her to show up, to put an end to all this nonsense about her being dead.

I keep thinking we’ll have another chance, that it’ll be like before. That I should save those clothes because she’ll need them when she returns.

It’s all just a terrible mistake. Come back, Mama. We’ll get everything all straightened out.

She can’t be dead. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Excerpt from They Live On: Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad © 2010

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Cry into the Darkness

Cry into the darkness.
Feel your pain as you gaze into the night sky.
Beg the moon and the stars for mercy.
Feel small and inconsequential.
Face your dark night, recognizing that this is where you are to be right now.

Feel the full impact of hope and disappointment.
And wonder if they are mutually exclusive.
Cry, mourn.
Remember the stages of loss.
Remember the stages of life.

Excerpt from They Live On: Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad © 2010

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