The Curly-Haired Yogi

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A few years ago I was eating dinner by myself at a favorite sushi restaurant. I started having a conversation with the woman who was sitting next to me. We immediately started talking when she complemented my curly hair. Her hair was curly. Very quickly in the conversation we discovered we both practice yoga. I felt like we were kindred spirits. We started talking about postures and hair products, and the conversation deepened to talking about family. Her story was complex. Her daughter had just told her she is expecting her second child, and the father of her soon-to-be child did not want to be involved in the baby’s life. She was already providing a home for her daughter and 5-year-old grand daughter, and told me she was deeply worried.

The curly-haired yogi talked through her fear, she shared that she had been very close to her daughter’s grandmother (her ex-husband’s mother) who had recently passed away. My new friend explained she had been with her former mother-in-law in her final days. During that time, her former mother-in-law had shared a bit of wisdom. She said her former mother-in-law told her to “Trust.” For her, that meant trust in God’s plan. Trust that everything was in divine order and would work out. Trust that her daughter and grandchildren would be safe and healthy. The advice was simple. She was reassuring herself. She was reminding herself. I could feel how important it was for my new friend to be with her former mother-in-law during her passing. I could feel how much those words meant to her. Presence was important. Trust was important.

Having been with my grandmother during her final days about a year prior to this conversation, I was immediately reminded of the time when I sat holding my grandmother’s hand as she took her final breath. I had fed my grandmother her last meal. I had told her I wanted her to be free of the pain she endured. I learned about the connection of our breath and our spirit. I learned about the importance of presence during that time.

Perfection was hearing those words that night. Trust. Presence. I sat at the sushi bar filled with angst and disconnection, and a curly-haired yogi reminded of something else. New to my job and surroundings, I had not practiced yoga in months. I am not sure I had really breathed since I unpacked my moving boxes. It seems like I moved to Cincinnati, turned 40, and crashed. This conversation sounded like the soft voice of my grandmother saying, “Everything will work out.” Feeling the relief the memory contained was a gift. The curly-haired yogi had given me a gift. She had quieted my mind. In sharing her story, she had put me in touch with my story, my center.

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