My dad started a regular Bikram Yoga practice about a year ago. Some of the best mornings over the past year have been when I was sitting at the front desk at the studio waiting for the 6am crowd to stumble in and notice my dad’s car had just parked outside.
After a couple of years of dealing with a few serious health issues to have my dad start coming to yoga and take care of himself has meant the world to me. In the past year he has completed a 30-day challenge, lost a serious amount of weight, and avoided being put on more and more medications. And his practice has inspired those around him. I’ve had more than one student tell me that on the mornings they don’t want to come, they know my dad will be there and decide that they too can get up and get to the studio.
I could probably go on and on about my dad in this post. I could talk about his practice and about how the whole room smiles when I shout out, “ Wow, Dad! Awesome adjustment!” while in a particular posture. Or I could discuss his reluctance to believe that in Separate Leg Stretching Pose it’s not about getting your head to the floor, but getting there with the grip underneath the heels and a flat back. But I know that no matter what I can teach him while he’s taking my yoga class it will never even come close to the lessons he has taught me throughout the years. Or the kindness, acceptance and generosity that he has always shown to all of his kids.
My dad is known for his quirky sayings. Things that at the time seem to make no sense at all, but later on down the road you have that moment where you realize what he had been saying to you all of these years. One of my favorites is, “You’ll be o.k. before you get married.” This was said if you scraped your knee or had a fight with a friend and through the years that one always did make me feel better in the given moment. It helped put things in perspective. I probably would be o.k. before I got married – that was a long way away. But then I got married. The first time the expression popped into my head after I became a wife it made me realize what it truly meant. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In five, ten, twenty years will the situation you are in right now, whether it be a disagreement with someone or hurt feelings, really matter?
Another one of his sayings was one he used while teaching me to drive a car. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where, though there are speed limit signs, we take them as a suggestion. Every weekend when he took me out on driving excursions you could hear him say, “Go with the flow, go with flow,” has he gripped the side of the door. Sure, I completely blame him for my lead foot as I zip from place to place throughout my adult life, but there are times in which you need to go with the flow, honoring the pace at which life and traffic clicks on.
The saying he is probably most famous for is, “When you’re there, you’re there.” This one used to make me shake my head and furrow my brow when I was a teenager. What in the heck was he talking about? He would use this when people asked how he was doing or how a certain business trip went. Actually, he started saying it so much that it kind of became a family joke. Only years later when I started reading John Kabat-Zinn’s “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” as well as, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and Marianne Williamson did this really hit home. No matter where you are be all there. Know that you must love and take care of yourself because you are the one person you cannot escape or leave behind. When you’re there, you’re there.
So thanks dad for all of the love, support, patience, and understanding you have shown me through the years and the little seeds of knowledge and wisdom you have sprinkled throughout my life. You have taught me so much, but I still have a lot to learn.
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