July 25, 2012

It’s Mom. ~ Tracy Johnson

Photo: Flickr/Steve Ryan

I am often humbled by the stories and experiences that my yoga students share with me.

In a small studio, in a small town, we get to know our regulars pretty quickly. During difficult times, the studio is a place where they can either embrace and experience their situation fully, have a brief respite from it—or both.

I try to be there for them, with open ears and an open heart because I know that sometimes you just need to have someone to talk to, who won’t give advice or even ask questions. I try to be that person for them and, as such, have been gifted to share in some of the most beautiful, painful and amazing moments in their lives.

This morning, one of my students chose to share an incredibly beautiful story with me and gave me permission to share it with you. For my own personal reasons, I have been holding onto and suppressing a lot (like buckets and tons!) of emotion lately. I have used every bit of attention and focus to maintain my outer calm and to not let my own emotions overwhelm me—and it has been exhausting.

This story broke the dam.

I stood in the parking lot, sobbing uncontrollably. My heart broke open and I was reminded that everything—and everyone—is infinite.

I was reminded to be present to each moment or I may miss something beautiful. I was reminded that I am not alone in my sorrow…and I was reminded how necessary it is to have a good cry once in a while.

Sarah (not her real name) is a beautiful yogini, with a wide open heart. In her day job, she sees horrible things, on a daily basis—but somehow always finds peace and balance. Over the last year or so her yoga practice—and the sangha of our small yoga community—has served to help her deal with the loss of her mother. We were there to hug her when she found out that her mom was ill and to hold the space while she crumpled into child’s pose and cried her heart out on her mat.

Over past few months, Sarah has been spending most of her weekends in Door County, where her mom lived, dealing with the “business” of losing a loved one. Every weekend she comes back with stories of the treasures she finds as she goes through her mother’s things; old letters, jewelry, trinkets and photos—she even found a small box with the hospital bracelets from when each of her 6 children was born.

For the Fourth of July weekend, she and her husband took a few extra days to finish up preparing the house for sale. After too many hours of sad work, they decided to take a break by going for a bike ride.

As they rode the scenic country roads of Northeastern Wisconsin she was crying, missing her mom. Her mom loved dressing up on holidays. She was imagining how her mom would have dressed for the Fourth of July, decked out in red, white and blue, right down to the manicure. As she was noting her own lack of patriotic colors, she saw something lying in the road and stopped.

It was a red, white and blue lei.

Standing there, crying on the side of the road with the lei in her hands, a monarch butterfly landed on her. Her father had a special love for monarchs, so, since his death years before, they have been a reminder of her father.

“Look!” she said. “My dad sent someone to give me a hug!”

{Here, she paused for a moment and said, “I wouldn’t even tell you this if my husband hadn’t been there. I wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it too.”}

Just at that moment, on this quiet country road, a car drove by with a personal license plate.

It said…It’s Mom.

True story.


Tracy Johnson RYT200 is a graduate of Devanadi Yoga Teacher Training. She teaches yoga to kids and grown-ups Western WI and is the author of Little Lotus Kids Yoga Cards.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

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