11
April

My Last Mom

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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30 years ago today my mom passed away. It’s hard to grasp just how long it’s been. It seems impossible. I can still remember how she used to say my name with her Polish accent—both when she was happy with me (Sandy) and when she wasn’t (Sandra!). Some days I worry I’ll forget.

I’ve held April 11 close in my heart. This day has always been personal, safely guarded from anyone but my closest family and friends. I’ve chosen to celebrate life vs. death anniversaries. Yet and still, it’s impossible not to acknowledge when April 11 comes around each year. It’s impossible not to remember. There’s a silent nod, a spiritual awareness of the sacredness of her passing and the effect it had on my life.

I remember thinking the “11” was like an opening with borders left to right, a doorway of sorts, a gateway to heaven perhaps. The two numeral “ones” just stand there stark and cold. At least that’s how it seemed 30 years ago.

I wondered how the world could simply go on, how we could all just go on. It felt like the world should stop somehow, for a moment at least, to pay honor to this soul that had passed. The usual ceremonies (the wake, the funeral, the gathering of close friends and family, the burial) weren’t enough closure for me at the time. I’m not sure anything at that time would have felt like closure. It was so raw for so long. An open wound that wouldn’t heal.

I spent the week after the funeral with my dad trying to put their house in order and prepare him for taking care of all the details mom used to do. No matter how many notes I wrote, and taped instructions I adhered to appliances, I knew it would be a rough road for him. I called him daily for a long time just to let him cry. You see, while they had many fights in their lifetime, they had a common history—both were born in Poland and both were prisoners of war in Germany during World War II. They met in a displaced person’s camp after the war. I know their experiences in Germany resulted in post-traumatic stress (PTS) and I know their many fights were rooted in PTS. Deep down I also knew they both loved each other. It always surfaced when the other needed it most, like right before mom died.

None of us knew mom had cancer until the autopsy. She went into the hospital with pneumonia and was released a week or so later, but she wasn’t getting better. She wasn’t eating well. A standard blood test showed something major was wrong and she was rushed back into the hospital not too long after she was released.

I received a panicked call from my sister-in-law that I should come home right away on the same Saturday my husband and I were expecting his parents and brother to arrive at our home. It was a five hour drive from their farm in Indiana to Wisconsin where we lived. Cell phones weren’t common back then. We had no way of reaching them. We waited for them to arrive only to immediately jump in the car and drive the same five hours back to my mom. I found out my mom had passed away from the attending nurse when I called from a phone booth on the way home to Indiana. While no one was able to really say “goodbye” because no one knew she was about to die, I struggled with not making it home before she passed for years. It still bothers me.

This year’s anniversary seems more poignant than most. My step-mom, Prudy, passed away last Thursday. She met and married my dad several years after my mom had passed—somewhere around 1994 or 1995. They were married less than ten years with the last few being really rough on Prudy as my dad developed Alzheimer’s. He passed away in 2003, the year my husband and I lost both of our dads. She was a source of great comfort for my dad and a huge blessing in all of our lives.

My husband and I became quite close to Prudy over the last 20+ years. She was a dear, sweet, adorable, fun, wise and trusted friend. It’s a different kind of relationship with a step-mom, especially when you’re already an adult when you first meet. There’s none of the drama in your history. She filled our lives with much joy and we so enjoyed all of our visits and long talks. I think I was lulled into believing she would live much longer than her 91 years.

Maybe all these years I’ve kept the anniversary of my mom’s passing personal and close to my heart because I didn’t want to re-visit the open wound. Maybe I was afraid to stir up the emotions, believing the memory wasn’t as raw as it once was because I just didn’t go there; or perhaps couldn’t go there. They say sometimes you don’t feel the full blow until you’re ready to handle it.

This year’s anniversary of my mom’s passing is still personal—still held close to my heart. But this year I’m feeling it so much deeper because I couldn’t help but “go there” this year. This year April 11 came on the heels of another loss. My guard was down. This year it’s shared with the loss of my very last mom and I can’t contain my emotions. My first mom passed in 1987 when I was just 27. My second mom (in-law) passed away April 30, 2015. April has taken all of my moms and I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost my last anchor.

I’m so very lucky to have had three moms and I am oh so grateful to have had each and every one of them in my life. God must have known I’d need extra. Their memories will serve as my anchor now. I will always remember.

Mom and Dad

 

 

05
April

My husband and I just got back from a week-long vacation in Napa, CA; and we, uh, had a chance to visit just a few wineries while we were there…hiccup @#! One day we had a professional chauffeur, Rosanna of “Sip and Swirl”, drive us around—a service offered through the Candlelight Inn where we were staying. Mental note to self: Rosanna was retired and did this part-time, she shared that she gets invited to numerous events due to the nature of her job, and she appeared to be enjoying life! Having an escort was smart on so many levels! She knew places that weren’t on our radar and they turned out to be some of our favorite spots. She also had a lot of local trivia to share as we drove around.

Chándon (“Ch is pronounced as “sh” and the accent is on the second syllable) features sparkling wine, a.k.a. champagne. Lovely name, isn’t it? Rosanna started us out there first thing in the morning, because who doesn’t want bubbles to start the day? (I think I want them every day, but that’s another story!) Chándon has a gorgeous location with a lush landscape and beautiful Adirondack chairs in their outdoor seating area surrounded with “indigenous oak trees” for an amazing view. The tasting room has floor to ceiling windows so you had that amazing view wherever you went!

 

We also loved our wine professional, Karly. She was a hoot! She was not only fun, but everything she said about our tastings could have been put on a t-shirt I’d wear all day long! Seriously, she needs to be in their marketing department! My favorite was the title of this post: Delicate but powerful. Now couldn’t you just rock that t-shirt?!
~~
Another golden nugget quote she used was Sweet spice not heat spice. And then there was Approachable. She had so many, shall we say, words of wisdom? Well they got your attention and made you smile! We joked about needing to take her home with us and made plans to stop by on the following Monday as we were headed back home toward the airport. At least I hope she realized it was a joke…hmmm.

The last quote I’ll mention here may have been from uh…the next winery—heck it may have been the next day (we were having too much fun!), but it’s worth a mention: Always polished/Never dull.

“Delicate but powerful” is the one I’ve haven’t been able to get off my mind. I’d love to be referred to with that descriptor, wouldn’t you? I see a black t-shirt in my future, seriously. Chándon’s beautiful star logo (the star could be a “sparkley”) and tagline “let’s catch up” on the front and the quote in royal blue or hot pink on the back would look stunning, don’t you think? It could even be a polo shirt with a collar to make it a little classier. I tried to configure something online with just the quote. It wasn’t what I was looking for but it’s a start! I’m a bit obsessed.


I wonder if Chándon realizes how valuable Karly is. How she does what she does is magic. While many of the wineries had great service, with great presentations, Karly’s was exceptional in her delivery. I mean I’m not making imaginary t-shirts out of any of the other’s now am I? She hit the mark. This was not the norm at all the wineries we went to. Karly made our visit just that much more memorable. I guess you could say she was delicate…but powerful….It’ll stick with you now, won’t it?

 

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

15
March

Moonlight Magic

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Final Relaxation
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Have you watched the movie Field of Dreams? Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, doesn’t want to believe he’s hearing voices, let alone that they’re telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cash corn crop. Ray fights the magical message at first, but eventually he builds the baseball diamond.

The baseball diamond becomes a magical place where the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago Black Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series appear to play baseball. They enter the baseball diamond from the cornfield that is on the perimeter of the baseball diamond, and they exit the same way, disappearing into the stalks of corn as they walk in. The mantra from this film is the message “if you build it they will come” spoken by “the voice” in the cornfield.

The mysterious voice sends other messages, one of which is to find a 1920s ballplayer named Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. When Ray goes to Chisolm, Minnesota, Moonlight’s hometown, they find that Moonlight Graham has been dead since 1972. In his confusion, Ray goes for a walk to clear his head. During his walk he is magically transported back in time to 1972. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out what happens next!

I love all things magical and I believe that anything’s possible.

“If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical.”
~ Lynn V. Andrews

~

Perhaps it’s this belief that encourages a magical surrealness around my chiropractor’s office. Let me explain.

My chiropractor is Dr. John Hilpisch and he is an excellent upper cervical chiropractor in Lake Elmo, MN. Now doesn’t “Lake Elmo” sound like an old-time town name? If you’re not familiar with upper cervical chiropractic, check out his website  or his Facebook page, and/or attend one of his free open houses where they explain it in great detail. It’s quite interesting, and from my experience, it really works for me! It reversed some dizziness I’d been experiencing for a couple of months a little over a year ago—in one adjustment. But back to my time travel story…

His office is exquisitely decorated with vintage prints from the 30s and 40s and well-used crackled leather chairs exuding comfort from an era gone by. Most, if not all of the prints, are water scenes, like my favorite one here:

Can’t you just hear the song “From the land of sky blue water” playing in your head? I often joke that they’re taking care of it for me because I love it so much. It has everything I love, an old time scene, a campfire, nature, and the full moon. I want to walk into that scene—**sigh**. Everything about this office is relaxing and encourages contemplation.

Part of his treatment protocol includes going into the next room to rest for 15 minutes after an adjustment. Here you’ll find recliner chairs to rest in, blankets for warmth and coziness, a timer to set so you can let go completely, an old-fashioned clock on the wall adding to the ambiance, relaxing music to coax you into slumber, and ….the calendar. Speaking as a yoga instructor, this room is the ultimate “final relaxation” room. It’s so soothing to melt into the chair and let the surroundings take you away. Even if you didn’t need an adjustment on that visit, Dr. Hilpisch is kind enough to invite you to go rest in there if you like, and there’s room.

The most important take-away is this: You can recreate this ambiance with little effort. Your body will thank you!

Surrounded by lovely vintage scenes, and lulled into a relaxing dream-like state, it was the old-time calendar that started to hold a spell over my imagination every time I entered the room to rest. I swear one of these days I’m going to walk out of there and be transported back in time to 1928 similar to Ray Kinsella in the movie. I wonder what I’d discover in 1928? I’ve often thought I was born in the wrong era. I love old-time music, wearing decorative hats is one of my favorite accessories; and of course, there’s the vintage art attraction. I think I might like it there…so long as I could take my husband with me. 🙂 Hey, it’s my dream so I can visualize it however I want, right?

“And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight
to make this dream come true?”
~ “Moonlight” Graham.

~

Hat’s off to all things magical in honor of St. Patrick’s day this week! Here’s a link to an archived newsletter visiting the magical realm.

 

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

08
March

The Minneapolis Yoga Conference was this past weekend. I was oh so lucky to be able to spend all three days participating in the Yoga Therapy Track with presentations by Indu Arora (as well as Molly McManus whom I had the absolute pleasure of meeting for the first time! Molly’s Soma Yoga therapy is definitely something I’m going to pursue learning more about!).

I had experienced Indu’s wisdom a couple of years ago at the same conference for her presentation on mudras (yoga for the hands). I also attended her book signing for the launch of her amazing new book on mudras: Mudra: The Sacred Secret. I’d never experienced anyone with as much wisdom in her every spoken word. Believe me, you realize it when you’re in her presence—she’s the “real deal”. Are there any of you old enough to remember the commercial about E.F. Hutton?  Well, the same applies here: When Indu Arora talks, people listen!

So when the opportunity to participate in three days of an International-Yoga-Therapy-Association-approved therapy track this year featuring Indu on several compelling yoga therapy subjects, I knew I had to attend.

She started and ended her classes succinctly on time, and when she gave a break, it was literally five minutes. No one complained, and they knew she’d be back to the discussion at four minutes 59.9 seconds! (And yes, it was a group of mainly women—upwards of 40 of us—with the usual three stall bathrooms in the area so getting through the line in five minutes meant there was no dilly dallying!) She joked once at the end of an hour presentation that her timer said 59 minutes and 59 seconds as she was completing her presentation. None of us wanted to miss a syllable! Seriously! There was so much wisdom packed into her presentations, she had our absolute complete attention. The expressions on my fellow-attendee’s faces reflected the same active listening I was experiencing. We were all gloriously present in the moment, ears wide open, not wanting to miss a drop.

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Our Yoga Nidra class!

You might wonder how you’d command the same attention from your audience. I can only say that the level of truth coming from her resonated with each of us so deeply that I doubt I’ll experience the caliber of her teachings from another speaker any time soon. And that leads me to issue a disclaimer here. In her last class presentation on the components of yoga nidra/yoga sleep, we all were gifted with a luscious 45-minute yoga nidra practice. (Yes—it was an absolutely nummy experience, in case you were wondering!) Towards the end of the nidra, she suggested we bring to mind a teacher or guru who has made a difference in our life. I immediately thought of her. When I shared this with her later at her exhibit booth, she immediately reminded me, “No I am not a teacher! I am a student just like you. I am the same as you!”

Earlier that day in class, she gave an analogy of the difference between teaching and sharing. “When you teach”, she said, “You are like this” (showing her two hands palms down parallel to the floor with one hand higher than the other). “The ‘teacher’ elevates herself above her audience. But when you share, you are like this” (showing her two hands palms down parallel to the floor and even with each other). “I am the same as you! I share. I don’t teach.”

In India, where Indu is from, “a ‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit term that connotes someone who is a ‘teacher, guide, expert, or master’ of certain knowledge or field. In pan-Indian traditions, guru is someone more than a teacher, traditionally a reverential figure to the student, with the guru serving as a ‘counselor’, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student. The term also refers to someone who primarily is one’s spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the gurus already realized.” Indu is much too humble to elevate herself to this description, although I suspect many of us view her as a  true “guru”. I mean if she isn’t an expert, I could only hope to meet her guru!

I left the conference with my heart full of gratitude and my brain soaked in “purposeful information”—her words describing the courses offered. By the way, one of her “asides” was that literally every Sanskrit syllable has 20 possible meanings and how it comes into contact with the next syllable gives the meaning direction. I learned so much this past weekend and I loved every syllable!

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

02
March

You call it a jig, we call it a polka

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Welcome to "My Better Day" Weekly Musings!
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My husband and I thoroughly enjoy celebrating all things Irish as St. Patrick’s day approaches. Yes, I’m immensely proud of being a first generation Pole; but I was born and raised in South Bend, IN, the land of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame! Add to that, my Dad did the stonework at Notre Dame when he first came to America (from Poland with my mom and their two children). He worked on the grotto and helped with the brick work when they installed the Pieta sculpture of Mary holding Jesus into the Basilica. When Notre Dame didn’t win their games, he was NOT happy! So there’s a healthy admiration for all things Irish, especially this time of year!

 

We have quite a collection of Irish CDs. One of my favorites is The Best of The Irish Rovers. The first song, “The Unicorn”, holds a special spot in my heart because it was literally the first song I heard on the radio as a child of seven where I realized that songs told a story. This jig fills me with joy and turns me into that same seven-year-old wide-eyed child. Fun Trivia: the children’s book author, Shel Silverstein, wrote this whimsical poem and it appears in his book Where the Sidewalk Ends. Full disclosure: I’m not exactly sure I DON’T believe in Unicorns!

Many of you may know that about a year ago, my husband, Ed, fell 15 feet from a ladder while taking down Christmas lights. He broke his talus bone and chipped another in his left foot, and also broke his right big toe. He landed into the ladder, as he smacked down onto the driveway pavement. His nose was swollen and appeared to possibly be broken. He was bleeding profusely from the gashes on his face. Needless to say, I was beside myself when I found him. (Does anyone want to buy a ladder?)

The next few months it was my personal mission to surround him with as many healing modalities I could get my hands on. I became “Sumo-wrestler guard” when he moved, trailing him in a stooped position to make sure he wouldn’t fall. His doctor said it would be 18 months minimum for the healing process. So we’ve made it a year!

He is continually improving. Some days are better than others. Most of you wouldn’t know he has any remaining issues, but you don’t see him when he wakes up and it’s tight, or when he goes down steps, or has pain when he tries to go on a longer walk. He’s a trooper! Have I mentioned yet how very much I adore this man? Unbelievably, this has brought us just that much closer. We have a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other. I mean, he’s still here. It could have been so much worse. We’re intensely aware of just how lucky we are.

This past weekend we were listening to our Irish music collection and both of us were enjoying recalling happy moments from our past that these songs brought to mind. One CD was purchased on a trip to Sacramento during St. Patty’s day. We found a CD there that was recorded in South Bend and had to buy it (Seamaisin, Joseph Harvey’s Fiddle was Left in the Rain)! Another is The Irish Tenors in Belfast. Just hearing their deep operatic voices brings tears to our eyes. There’s a National Geographic “Destination Ireland” CD, and one purchased at my step-sister’s wedding from their band, Crazy Maggie (“Rock the Bow”).

But it was The Irish Rover’s CD that, again, delivered a magical new memory. Their “Goodbye Mick and Goodbye Pat” song came on. It’s quite a lively tune, not unlike a polka. I stopped what I was doing to gaze into my sweet husband’s eyes and he held me in his arms, returning the gaze. We spontaneously started to do a very low-key version of our usual Polka (prior to his accident, we were polka-dancing fools given the right song!) We stopped after a few steps, eyes locked upon each other, tears forming in our eyes from a knowing we both understood. This was officially our first polka since he fell almost a year ago! It was a memory of a lifetime. Life is so very precious….Don’t forget to Dance!

 

 

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

22
February

In the Eye of the Beholder

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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Thursday nights finds me at one of my in-home private residence yoga classes where a family meets weekly to practice yoga together. They were all newbies when I started working with them. Sister-in-laws commute along with their toddlers while the husband’s watch over them on the main level and we practice yoga on the bottom level. It’s a family affair. The owner and her 13-year-old daughter are part of this sweet group too. The mom thought it would be a good way for her daughter to learn relaxation skills as well as connect with family. How cool is that?

When you walk into their home, there’s a “sleeping baby monk on an elephant” statue to greet you. I fell in love with it on my first visit. Their décor is beautiful. It’s like walking into a sacred space.

I’d been coming to teach here for several weeks before I finally asked about what appeared to be a fine piece of Incan art prominently hung on their foyer wall next to the main entry doorway. Great Feng Shui! I’d been admiring it for weeks and just had to ask where they purchased it.

Imagine my surprise when the mom told me it was her 13-year-old’s school art project! It was only then that I noticed it was adhered to the wall via stick pins and was signed by her too! Beautiful! Knowing it was a teen’s art project didn’t make me love it any less! On the contrary, I adored it even more! Now I was in awe and admiration. In awe of this young girl’s talent and in admiration of the family’s pride in her work.

It is my absolute honor to connect with families such as this one and share the gifts of yoga, breathwork, meditation and relaxation. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had been given the opportunity to learn these skills when I was 13 surrounded by a loving, supportive family; and to have these life-enhancing tools in my back pocket when I faced the stressors every teen faces as they navigate life. Each generation wants to give their children a better life. And I’m oh so humbled to be a part of this young girl’s journey.

Do more yoga!

 

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

16
February

Approval from within

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Celebrating the Goddess Within
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My husband and I went to see Mamma Mia at the Orpheum this past weekend as an early Valentine’s Day celebration. We really had a great time!

It’s such a fun, uplifting show! You can’t help but feel good tapping your feet and singing along with all the ABBA songs. The storyline reminds you that while the choices you make earlier in life affect your future, it’s never too late to have your dreams come true. Age doesn’t matter when you’re heart’s in the right place.

I couldn’t help but recall the first time we saw the play in Las Vegas several years ago. My company had awarded me a trip because I’d had an exceptionally good sales year. Their outward approval meant so much to me then.

I’ve been teaching yoga since 2008 and when I left the corporate world in 2009 to pursue Yoga as my career, it was more than a little scary. I knew there’d be less income, but the reasons to leave were more compelling than the reasons to stay.

As I sat in the theater this past weekend, tears came to my eyes as I remembered how confirming it was to be given that trip as a sales award. I’d felt like I’d “arrived”. Since 2009, I’ve steadily grown my yoga career and progressed to having in-home private residence and on-site corporate classes. My old corporate boss used to say “nobody ever went out of business because of low overhead.” I’ve been working “lean”—perhaps too lean at times. I realize that maybe I need to take a few more risks going forward. Risk-taking has never been my strong suit, especially as I’ve gotten older!

Recently I achieved certification as a yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I’ve been working toward that goal for a long time. So the Mamma Mia play was a two-fold celebration. Again, there’s that outward “nod of approval” that I still must need.

I realized the tears that came to my eyes in the theater this past weekend were not so much for remembering “then” as it was affirming “now”. “NOW” I was at this play because I chose to, because we wanted to reward ourselves, because we deserved it. So we did it. No outward approval required. It came from within this time. And being with my husband of almost 34 years having a blast was, as always, priceless!

 

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 

08
February

Sacred Moments

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Crystals, Talismans and Other Good Juju
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I’ve written about my Mom (in-law) before. There’s the story of her hearing Dad sing to her each day after he passed until her death 12 years later. There’s the story of my sharing with her the mala beads that I pray Hail Mary’s with. She expressed no judgement of my choice of beads—she prayed the rosary daily, and I mean daily, sometimes twice a day. She commented at the time “it helps, doesn’t it?” I mentioned in a previous blog that she’s the only person I know of that wore her rosary out. She asked me to fix her rosary once because it had disintegrated from use. I often refer to her as one of two people in my life that I have considered a living saint.

So suffice to say that I believe there’s a whole lot of good energy built up within her rosary. Dad’s as well. I remember one time approaching their bedroom as they were about to retire for the evening so I could give them their evening good night kisses and hugs. I literally gasped when I saw Dad on his knees thinking he was hurt before I realized a split second later that he was kneeling by his bedside to say his nighttime prayers. I was constantly humbled by the two who raised my husband into the treasure that I now enjoy going on 34 years—37 if you count how long I’ve known him.

Recently there was a request for advice in a private yoga therapy Facebook group I belong to from someone who’d been asked to hold sacred space for her dying friend. There were many heartfelt contributions, including the one from a kind soul that shared: “Be ready to be present with what your friend “sees” as the end approaches. Regardless of belief systems, many will see dead relatives, or an opening in the room, or feel as though there is a trip to go on. Your friend may point (if non-communicative) or just give really strange looks, because no one has told them of this very normal part of dying. Affirm your friend, create the space for your friend to experience ALL of the emotions that go along with the end of death. Often the health care professionals also don’t “warn” people of this part.“

This touched me so deeply that I shared the passage with my husband and paused to insert his mom’s story right after the mention of “a trip”. The hospice worker who was there the day before mom passed, came after she passed to pick up equipment, etc. She shared that when she last visited the day before, mom had briefly woken up from her sleep looking all bright and cheery and announced “I’m going to heaven today” and then promptly fell asleep again. Our final visit with mom was very emotionally blurred so I didn’t remember my husband was not in the room when the hospice worker shared that story. Tears welled up in my husband’s eyes when I recounted the story (two years after she has passed). It was oh so poignant for him to hear. The look on his face was priceless. It was a sacred moment for both of us. I sent a note off to the author saying how grateful I was that her note prompted me to retell this story to my husband.

mom-and-edjumom-and-dads-rosary-box

 

I use this box from mom containing both her and Dad’s rosaries daily when I do Reiki over my husband’s still healing foot from his fall last year (15 feet). I know like I know like I know his parents are present helping it to heal. And if you ever doubt that loved ones stay present in your lives after they’ve passed, ponder the story of Dad singing to mom daily for 12 years, and the story of the Facebook post prompting a memory my husband needed to hear. I know Mom was reaching out to say hello. Life is so very precious. ~

P.S. I’m adding this as an “update” of sorts, or perhaps the “rest of the story”. At the end of the day after I posted this I went upstairs from my office which is in the basement. There’s a light switch at the bottom of the stairs that corresponds with a light switch upstairs so you can turn it on and off at either end. We’ve lived here well over 20 years and the following has NEVER happened. Later I needed to go downstairs again and I turned on the switch at the top of the stairs and no light went on. There is more than one light bulb in the light fixture so it wasn’t a burnt bulb because that would have been too coincidental. So I wondered if I’d blown a fuse. I walked down the stairs in the dark and hit the switch downstairs up, then down. Nothing. Then up and down again. Nothing. Then up, because I’m stubborn! The light went on! Okay, I’ve posted about my dad using electricity to communicate after he passed before. Communicating through electricity is apparently a venue of choice for those that have passed: ”They also work through electricity – turning TVs and radios on and off, affecting lights, doorbells, phones. They seem to be able to manipulate energy – most likely because they’re energy!”  http://www.grandtimes.com/communic.html. It’s the only explanation in my mind. I’ve used this switch several times since with no issues. Mom was having fun with me! Hi Mom!

 

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08
November

Soham: I am that. Słucham: I am listening.

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Off-the-Wall Musings
Comments Off on Soham: I am that. Słucham: I am listening. Tagged with

You’ve probably figured out by now that I am very Polish! My parents were born there and my husband’s grandparents were born there too. I have always been extremely proud of my heritage.

Hearing any Slavic language pulls on my heart strings, especially Polish. This beautiful language enveloped me in my youth. Even though my parents did not teach me how to speak fluent Polish, I totally knew certain orders: Eat! Sleep! Come here! And I’ve always joked that I knew when to duck for cover. They spoke their native language frequently, especially when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying.

I was the youngest of five, so my parents had been in the United States ten years by the time I was born. Yet, to this day, I can still distinguish a Slavic accent even with those who have been in the States for a very long time. You never forget your mother’s voice. In fact, “new research suggests that babies begin to absorb language when they are inside the womb during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy—which is earlier than previously held. Newborns can actually tell the difference between their mother’s native tongue and foreign languages just hours after they are born.”

As a yoga teacher, I’ve also picked up various Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is said to induce a sound therapy. The pronunciation of Sanskrit affects the meridians of the tongue and stimulates the roof of the mouth where the hypothalamus resides—very important to major bodily functions such as body temperature, appetite, thirst, metabolism, circadian rhythms, physiological responses to stress, etc. The science of mantra repetition creates sound currents and the vibratory effects create a sound therapy manifesting health and healing. It is considered a sacred science.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that Slavic languages, such as Polish, are believed to have common ancestry with the Sanskrit language! Perhaps it’s just me, but I find comfort and more than a little joy in the similarities. “Joga” in Polish is pronounced as “yoga” in Sanskrit, but it doesn’t stop there. The Polish word, “mówisz”, for example, means “you speak” in English and sounds close to our English word “movie”. Doesn’t it make you smile that “a movie with a sound track” is our definition of “talkies”?

Similarities such as, Soham—which means “I am That” or “I am He” in Sanskrit—sounds very similar to  S?ucham in Polish—which means “I am listening”. The word “Koham” in Sanskrit—which means “Who am I?” is also very similar to the word “Kocham” in Polish means “I love”. We are love, aren’t we?

“When Soham applies to a person’s name, according to Vedic philosophy (ancient Indian scripture) it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. Some say that when a child is born it cries Koham-Koham which means Who am I? That is when the universe replies back Soham. You are the same as I am.”
Source: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soham_%28Sanskrit%29

Substituting the similarly pronounced Polish words and their meanings into the quote above translates to a beautiful message:

When “I’m listening” applies to a person’s name, it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. When a child is born it cries “I love-I love” to which the universe replies “I am listening.”

We are meant to come into this world to love. When we do things with love, the Universe responds in kind. When we pursue a dream for the sole purpose of benefitting mankind in some way, the Universe listens.

When I discovered the common ancestry of the two languages and realized the similarly pronounced words, my heart just melted. I knew there was a reason I was so enamored with Sanskrit. Its similarity to Polish is undeniable. It seemed to be a sacred kind of kismet—my two loves colliding: the love of my Polish ancestry and the love of all things yoga. It was as if the Universe was saying my two loves have the same roots in my DNA: “You are the same as I am”.

Isn’t Language beautiful?  / Nie jest j?zyk jest pi?kny?

i-love-poland-2007Koham, Kocham,
(“Who am I?”, “I love.”)

Sandy Krzyzanowski
Better Day Yoga LLC

I used to share a blog with a colleague a couple of years ago. She has since removed that web page so I am “rescuing” some of my favorite stories here. Enjoy!