I stepped in to Lakshmi Voelker’s Chair Yoga teacher training class and Thanksgiving came to mind. A specific Thanksgiving, one I shared with a long-lost cousin.
Both happened at a similar time of year, when New England shifts from the colors of a sunset to the threat of frost. Both involved months of emails and phone conversations before deciding to get together. The only real difference was the pie.
My cousin and I reconnected in the late ’90s, reviving our long-distance friendship from childhood. We hadn’t seen one another in twenty-five years and were overdue for a visit. Since her Florida autumn remained balmy, we opted for a Southern Thanksgiving.
I boarded a plane in flip-flops, my carry-on item a still-warm apple pie. Wedged into the middle seat, up in the air somewhere between home and this unknown place, the ease of our past conversations led to trepidation. What if we’re not as charmed by one another in person? How many awkward moments will fill in the spaces of our long weekend?
I closed my eyes and, like the apples I’d peeled and cored, I sliced away at the fear of the awkward moment. It ends up that there were none. From the moment I stepped through the gate where my cousin stood, we laughed, talked, enjoyed each other’s company, and ate pie.
Sometimes, wonders come to us from hard work. Sometimes, we need only open the door. Lakshmi and I connected months ago. Her invitation for me to share in her fall program delighted me. I’d not only finally get to meet her, I’d be immersed amidst yoga teachers who want to bring strength and balance to people with movement disorders, chronic ilness, conditions of aging.
As the date grew near, I admit that trepidation accompanied my enthusiasm. We’d spoken, emailed, texted with ease. Halfway through my three-hour drive to the mountains to see her, those awkward-moment fears crept in to my thoughts.
They dissipated the moment I entered her class. Sometimes wonders land in our path, gifts wrapped in satin ribbon. Acceptance, laughter, sharing, kind words, sincerity danced in that room, partnering with Lakshmi, her colleagues, the yoga teachers. Perhaps fear and trepidation entered the thoughts of those teachers as they stepped out of that room, preparing to embark on a new journey. You are wonders, each of you.
I’m thankful that a whole group of teachers will bring yoga to those who may not move with ease. I’m thankful for Lakshmi. It’s been an early Thanksgiving for me. I only wish I’d made some pie.