Sunday, December 20, 2015

Abstract Pieces

I had an Uncle. His name was Tom. He died when I was 5. I don’t remember the exact shape of his face or the sound of his voice. I remember him in abstract pieces. His leg sticking out from his black reclining chair, tripping me when I ran by. The silhouette of his profile sitting in his car outside the front of our house. His hand, passing me a book of paper dolls in the front room of my Grandparents house.

I attributed the unexplainable to him being on the other side of what I perceived to be real. I was 5. It was easy to believe in heaven and angels. There was no doubt that what I could not see but could feel was divine.

23 years ago I took my first yoga class at Swarthmore College near Philadelphia. I wasn’t sure about heaven and angels anymore. I had an infinite number of possibilities to explain what I once believed to be magical coincidences. I went to yoga because my Self magazine told me I would get great abs and I needed to learn how to meditate to keep my snowballing anxiety to a dull roar.  

Savasana is the pose that you do at the end of yoga class. The corpse pose. The do nothing and surrender pose and it is not as easy as it sounds not matter how tired you are. That terribly annoying little voice in my head is hard to turn off. “Did I send that email? Is that lady snoring over there? I’m sweaty. I wish I had socks on. I wish I didn’t eat that second piece of pizza. I should stop for gas on the way home.”

The Savasana chatter was nonstop. Thankfully my instructor was a lovely woman who was happy to lead the group through a guided session to help ease the chatter. We were supposed to open our mind and hearts to whatever it is that guides us and surrender to the peace and harmony of the pose. I was skeptical. It sounded flaky. But I was willing to try. I might have fallen asleep. I might have been dreaming but there he was, sitting on a bench at the opening of a garden, my Uncle Tom.

We talked about our experiences afterwards. Some claim to have held the vision of Hindu deities in their third eye. Some spoke of walking with Jesus. I kept my Uncle sitting on a park bench in his t-shirt and jeans to myself. He never said a word. He merely sat there with a mischievous look on his face. This hardly seemed prophetic.

Yet there he is, all these years later, sitting there every time I prepared myself for Savasana. Never saying a word. I guess he doesn’t have to. I guess knowing he is there is all I need. I choose to believe again that what I can not touch and see but can feel in my heart is divine.

My version of an Angel is wearing blue jeans. He is the light that dances playfully in the garden. He is the breeze that blows thru my hair. He is the bird landing on the branch that watches me. He is the glue that fixes our sometimes broken family. He is the unexplainable force that guides me.

I have an Uncle. His name is Tom.