Purple Sticky Mat. ~ Lauren Wessinger

Via elephant journal
on Nov 9, 2012
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About 11 years ago, my mom had to stop practicing yoga asana.

The cancer in her bones was making her too weak to hold poses for any length of time.

It was a heavy time in our lives when we realized she had to give up her physical practice. Her practice meant so much to her and it gave her some peace when she so desperately needed it. I could argue that it was the beginning of the very far off end of her life.

She gave me her old purple sticky mat. You know, the thin mat everybody had before there was Manduka and Jade. The mat that was called “sticky” but kept you slipping and sliding throughout your practice, leaving your knees begging for some padding. That one. And I loved it. With her mat came years of blood, sweat and tears.

It was almost like she was giving me a piece of her soul when she handed me that worn down mat.

Starting with my next class, I was a two mat girl. I had my own purple mat, but used hers underneath mine for some padding and support. It became my own secret way of connecting with her. Each time I practiced I truly felt like her power, her strength, her integrity and her love were all radiating up from the floor and getting in my sidecar to accompany me on my journey.

The other secret about her purple mat is that I have never washed it, ever. “Ick,” you might say and I would agree. Washing it though means getting rid of years of work, years of love and years of her yoga/Buddhist energy that I can’t seem to part with. I know now it isn’t really in the mat like I am describing, but for a long time, I thought it was.

I eventually moved on from my purple mat, and now am on my fourth Jade mat. My mom’s thin purple mat, however, has stayed underneath my Jade all these years. Upon her death five years ago, keeping her mat safe underneath mine saturated by my own blood, sweat and tears, was about the only thing I could physically hold on to. Still, it has never been washed.

Grief is strange. You deal with it when you deal with it, not when everyone else in your life thinks you should. You have to be ready, but it is a crazy ride. Somehow, the five year mark of my mom being gone was significant to me and started a whole year of work on grief.

In February of this year, I gave up the purple mat. One day, grabbing my mats as I headed out the door to class, I quickly decided to leave her purple mat at home. It was a split second decision and the purple mat still sits exactly where I left it seven months ago, rolled up on a shelf in our garage.

I think about grabbing it some days, when I am really missing her and wishing I could call her and tell her something about my life. But then I realize she isn’t there, she isn’t in the mat, she is in my heart. As long as I keep the connection to her there, then there she will stay.


Lauren Wessinger, Fort Worth Texas, 35 years old, yoga teacher and mother. I am not my writing. I am not my yoga. I am not the role society has put me in. I am not my past. I am not my future. I am not my possessions. I am not my thoughts. I am not my doubts. I am not my desires. I am not my religion. I am not my politics. I am simply a human on the path, just like you.


Editor: Sarah Winner

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35 Responses to “Purple Sticky Mat. ~ Lauren Wessinger”

  1. Micah says:

    You are a true inspiration!! Much love

  2. Sherry Griggs says:

    Thank you for writing this, Lauren. Your beautiful soul and spirit {and your mother's} radiate from these words. Love to you.

  3. Naomi says:

    Beautiful story of love and remembrance. Having lost my mom over 10 years ago, I still try to find ways to keep her in my life.

  4. Eric says:

    Simply beautiful

  5. A courageous, heartfelt account of grief and honoring the losses and gifts of death. I loved it.

  6. Mary Passell says:

    She is in your heart, your soul, your being… always. You are amazing, Lauren. Thank you for sharing something that is so raw, real and personal and that can help others heal in their journey of loss. Love you!!

  7. Miriam says:

    Your words are gentle, brave, loving and so very generous. Thank you for sharing your experience, your love and your grief. I hope to read more from you.

  8. Kelly says:

    What a beautiful story. So touching & rings true for the way we all deal with loss in our lives.

  9. Richard says:

    Tears of joy…thank you for sharing.

  10. Kari says:

    Your mom must be so proud of you. Absolutely beautiful reflection. xo

  11. Kimberly says:

    I remember the purple mat! Sad I never met your mother but what a legacy she left behind. I know she is so proud. Having recently lost my daddy this story effected me in a different way. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Margaret says:

    As I am reading your story it brings tears to my eyes. It is an honest account on grief something few understand and even harder to put into words …!Keep writing and sharing it is positive and moving to the soul!

  13. Cami says:

    Lauren, this is beautiful! It brings me much happiness that you are sharing this story to the world as I know so many can relate. Much love!

  14. carah says:

    thanks for sharing your path- you are an amazing light

  15. Kristin N. says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey and love through your words. Very powerful

  16. Dee Anne says:

    Wonderful story Lauren! Made me cry, yet so uplifting. After losing my Mom 4 yrs ago, I could certainly relate. You try to just grab onto anything to remind you of their love and spirit. Your Mom is smiling down upon you, I am certain!

  17. Julie V. says:

    Beautiful writing Lauren. Helps others to not feel alone in their journey. Love!

  18. Liz says:

    Beautiful! Hope to see more of your writing!

  19. Oma says:

    I am so happy that you have shared Purple Sticky Mat with a community. Whether as a member of your family, a friend, a student, or a soon-to-be-friend, your heartfelt words are honest, healing and nurturing. You are a courageous, wise and beautiful woman. Your Tucson home loves you so very much!

  20. Shelley H. says:

    Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your story. Your heartfelt words and beautiful face shine with beauty and grace and embody your Mom's spirit and soul to your very core. I will look forward to reading more of your insight along your path. Much love and many thanks!

  21. Shirley W says:

    What a beautiful love story! She is always with you.

  22. greateacher says:

    This is very beautiful and thank you.

  23. Lauren says:

    thank you everyone for taking the time to read!! thank you for your words of encouragement!

  24. Lauren says:

    thank you for taking the time to read!

  25. Dad says:

    Losing your mother is one of life's worst moments and it hit you very hard. She left you with many life lessons and helped shape you into the great woman you are today. She would be extremely proud of you right now as she always was. We are two very lucky people to have had her in our lives and she will live in our hearts forever.

  26. Sylvia says:

    I absolutely loved this article. An amazing and emotional account of acceptance and love. Please continue to write. The world need your light.

  27. Bari Candy says:

    Amazing Lauren…love you gorgeous

  28. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for writing this article. There is nothing like losing your mom. So sad. May it strengthen you in your love of life.

  29. Melissa says:

    Beautiful written! You are an inspiration! Xo

  30. phylicia says:

    lauren you opened that grieving space for everyone. Tissues needed.

  31. Amy G. says:

    Such a moving article Lauren that's poetic, raw and beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes. You give us all strength and inspiration to deal with the hardships in life through your words. Please keep writing. XOXO

  32. Kacey says:

    absolutely beautiful! Your mother is certainly proud of the woman you have become.

  33. Larry Hagerup says:

    Lauren is one of my yoga instructors, she is extremely talented and a very loving person. My wife Joy and I enjoy her classes and the thoughtful comments she makes during class. This article hits home for me also, my mother passed away years ago and sometimes the slightest thing that seem to come out of the blue make me cry and smile at the same time. As my sister says “life is what happens when you are planning something else”
    Lauren is a giver, and I’m privileged to call her my friend

  34. Sandra G says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Your strength gives me strength. Love

  35. Virginia G. says:

    Most people have the ability to write words, but few have the gift to make those words reach out and touch the hearts and souls of others. I hope you will continue to share that gift. If you keep writing, I will keep reading.