Last Sunday my mother came to visit, but this was no ordinary visit. Several years after my father's death 10 years ago, a man that my mom knew in high school found her online. They began writing back and forth for more than five years, until this September when she went to her high school reunion on the East Coast, and visited Barry in Baltimore.
When she returned, they arranged that he would come to see her life here in California. On Sunday he came to our house dressed in a suit, with a cane and sparkly blue eyes that I think look like my father’s eyes. He taught college, he’s got a great sense of humor, he’s Episcopalian like my mother -- and he really loves her. And she really loves him. He's 80. She's 77 and this kind of love has no age. It’s beautiful.
And it’s also strange.
Because whether I realized it or not, even though my father has been gone for 10 years, if I saw my mother walking with someone, I was used to it being my father. And so out of the corner of my eye, as I’d watch my mom, I was consciously attempting to make room for this world where my mother falls in love with a very good man and they are happy. And my reaction is very old and visceral which is of missing my father and a life that once was.
Our practice refers to it as “the suffering of change.” And I’m pretty certain I’ve spoken about this before. Because almost no matter what we do, when change occurs, we often suffer a little bit.
The studio continues to change and grow. Our two-year anniversary is Jan. 1. I’m looking forward to the members' party on Saturday night where we get to enjoy each other wearing something other than yoga clothes. I’m grateful to the teachers and staff, the tried-and-true, who have been with Breathe Los Gatos, many since the beginning and I miss the ones who have moved on. We are committed to growing our community, to seeing to it that everyone of you is given the room to deepen your yoga practice in the way in which you need to personally.
I’m equally committed to all of our teachers' growth. What that means is I do not limit where or how they teach. They are not instructors who recite a script. They do not merely teach postures. They are at Breathe because they are dedicated to offering tools that support every aspect of your life.
Every great teacher is also dedicated to continuously learning. And that means that sometimes they need to go to China or India, or on sabbatical, or open a studio of their own. We support them in asking important questions related to their own growth so that they have more to offer you. And given that we’re all about growth, with growth comes change. And sometimes change can be uncomfortable. You can count on the fact that you will be provided with brilliant amazing dedicated teachers from which to learn. Amazing people go ... and new amazing people come and this is how it works. And it’s uncomfortable sometimes, that transition. The value of this kind of growth is that we get to fully appreciate who we have in front of us at any given moment, because we try to never take anything for granted.
We have three new astounding teachers. Jana is also an Ayervedic chef and a beautiful human being, Elena has an astounding practice and has made a big difference to South Bay yoga and Ashleigh Sargeant represents Adidas world-wide, often teaching to more than 1,000 people at a time all over the world.
Missing my father comes with the territory of being his daughter. I will miss him forever. And I have every intention of welcoming this new love between my mother, whom I love so much, and Barry whom she loves so much into our lives, recognizing also that this is new and I’m getting used to it.
Many of us may be sitting down to the Thanksgiving table with new “family,” or with things being a bit different than they have been before. May we use our practice to make space at our tables and may we do the work to open our hearts to the vast possibilities that sit before us.
Jennifer and everyone at Breathe Los Gatos.