Be Well Be Happy

As you read this column I am on a retreat in Vermont with my daughter Kayla with a group of yogis from Jaya Yoga in Park Slope, my home town. I have gone on this retreat before and it has been one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. We will not know most of the people but will become friends in a short time. It is a lifetime experience without a doubt, and I am with my best friend.

Park Slope is a connection I am very proud of since my roots are from this wonderful neighborhood where I learned to be who I am today.

My mom and dad raised seven children in a nurturing, loving, supportive environment. We had the most amazing childhood. Lots of great memories. We vacationed in Rockaway Beach, renting a bungalow where nine of us happily lived and learned to swim in the ocean.

I am writing this column on the 30th anniversary of the death of my baby brother John, who was 22 years old when he died in a car accident. It was the most devastating time in our family. His birthday was July 21 and he died on July 14, giving him a new birthday. I never celebrated or honored when he left his body because the loss of my loving brother hurt too much and I did not feel this was a good day.

This year felt different. There was a feeling of acceptance and knowing that his life was full and complete. Death teaches us to love, be happy and live well. I have much love and support in my life. For one thing, I have the most loving family who respects and loves life. We understand one another and take nothing for granted. I also have a yoga community that makes my heart sing. We are at home and at peace together through good times and bad. There is this sense of unity and strength. They are lighthearted and full of life. They are part of who I am. I share everything with them.

On this particular day, July 14, I am feeling so much love and generosity. There is a young teacher who is auditioning to teach yoga at the studio before my class starts and her energy is beautiful.  I feel it right away but I still need her to demo her teaching.  Something tells me to let her teach my class. I know it will be a full house, it’s raining out and no one is going to the beach, they are coming to Ocean Bliss to be peaceful and happy.  This particular day I am very aware of my brother John and his spirit is strong on this anniversary day. Normally I would share my story with my students but something tells me to share my teaching and be the student. I know this is the right thing to do simply because of her positive energy.  It is real and I am listening. I need this teacher to guide a peaceful class full of love.  And she does.

My brother John was the most generous, loving, happy guy. He opened his heart to all and never judged anyone but was honest and straightforward. His demeanor was one of generosity.  He was my hero and my best friend. I will never forget him and will always remember him from this day forward. God needed an angel to look over us and God always has a plan. We are all part of the plan. Trust, believe and accept. It takes time, but be patient and listen to all the signs. I am grateful for this day.

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