Labor Day, September 5, 2011 – Today certainly feels like anything but summer; it’s a chilly 55 degrees, windy, with a few drizzles of rain under a classic Michigan grey sky. Â Although I’m a bit sad to feel summer slip away I love the cooler temperatures – great for sleeping; yummy soft grandpa size sweaters, leaves turning color, crisp tart apples, homemade soups and chili I’m sure to be cooking up. Soon I will be traveling south to Bonita Springs. I will spend time on the Gulf of Mexico, admiring the sea life and beautiful sandy white beaches, growing my sea shell collection, and visiting wonderful friends and acquaintances I have made over the past eight years. I’m even going to try on a 4-6 week stay for the first time. I’m a bit anxious to be away from my real home, family, friends, classes, students, clients and beloved pets for more than two weeks. Â Fortunately, Louie, our family Boston Terrier will be making the trip with me this year. He’s going to hate the airplane ride – poor little guy. So, I won’t be completely without four-legged companionship – thank goodness! I’m especially excited to spend time at BV Yoga, teach classes, practice Baptiste style yoga – reconnect with the BV community of teachers and students. But, I’m deeply saddened to learn that Luzmaria Lopez, the wonderful massage therapist at BV will no longer be there. I will miss her warm embrace as she joyfully welcomes me back for the season. Whenever I would see Lusma I’d say to her, Â ”soon Lusma, soon, I promise I’m going to let you get your hands on me.” Â Too late now. “Soon” came and went. I missed my opportunity to experience her gentle yet powerful healing touch.
I have no words for what I’m feeling in my heart and soul since learning about Lusma’s cancer diagnosis – one hour ago. I didn’t know Lusa well, yet, my heart is breaking. Cancer and it’s impact on one’s life has a whole new meaning for me today than it did a year ago. My entire being has changed since my cancer diagnosis – everything has changed. Â Life will continue to change. My dad promised me that “change is the only thing I would ever be able to count on. Â And I best be able to keep up”. No kidding!
As Luzmaria says, “it’s time to let go.” Â May we all learn toÂ let go with grace and love in our hearts. – Allison
P.S. If you have some time watch “The Big C” on demand. Â Start from the beginning. Laura Linneys’ character is amazing. Wow! That’s all I will say for now.
The following is a letter to you from our dear colleague, friend, and talented massage therapist, Luzmaria Lopez, who was diagnosed last week with advanced pancreatic cancer that has spread throughout her organs and lymph system.Â Her story is an eloquent and potent testament to the power of yoga. Many of you, and we at BV Yoga, have witnessed Luzmaria’s transformation and have had the blessing of receiving the pure, beautiful and healing energy and love that flows from her. Â ~The BV Yoga Team
“It’s Time To Go”
In 1986 I was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. At this time I was a single mother with a 10 and 12 year old. I prayed everyday, “It is not time to go, my children need me.” Four weeks later, I went to surgery to have the tumor removed and the doctor said the tumor was gone. The cancer was gone.
I first came to Bala Vinyasa Yoga two years ago to apply for a massage job after seeing their ad in Natural Awakenings. I said to myself, “I am going to work there, I need to be there.” I was broken when I first came, physically, emotionally and financially. All my life I was searching for my path, I spent two weeks with the Dali Lama in India, then studied Thai Massage in Thailand, but I was not feeling connected to my life. This was part of my path, but I found my life’s mission when I came to BV Yoga, started taking yoga, did the 40 Days Program, and began the Bala Vinyasa Yoga teacher training program. Finally, I had a sense of belonging. I had found what I was searching for. I started to feel my transformation evolve without a struggle. For transformation to happen I needed to be willing. I was tired of suffering, tired of being a victim.
Physically I was 40 pounds overweight, ate an unhealthy diet and had no physical exercise. I had worked all my life to save money for my retirement and then lost most of my money in bad investments. Emotionally, I was depressed and taking medication. I was not talking to my family. I was ignoring them and I was not present when I was with them. I felt like a victim of my circumstances.
For me, yoga is the integration of the body, mind and spirit. My transformation happened in the little things. I began to recognize that I was not the victim. I was responsible for all the choices I had made in my life. I had not been listening to my inner voice of wisdom and instead blamed other people for my failures. My transformation really started when I started to recognize all the places in my life that I had done this. This did not happen in a “big light bulb” moment, or on a pilgrimage somewhere, it happened in my daily yoga practice, being present on my mat and recognizing that I am the voice of wisdom. I began to see this not just on my mat, but everywhere.
Through this transformation, my way of being changed. I allowed my authentic self to be. I stopped beating myself up and trying to change. I started to see my real self. I saw that I was gentle, kind, caring, generous, loving and lovable. Compassion — I have compassion.
I am connected with my family in a whole new way. I have reconnected to my siblings, my mother and my children. Now I feel that they are my family. They were there before, but I was not connected. Now I have the blessing to be present with them, to give love and to receive love. And now I have the time to say goodbye. I have been diagnosed with cancer again. This time I feel that it is time to go. There is sadness, but there is also joy, gratitude, and knowing that all the pain that I have lived in my life was worth it because it led me to this moment.
I see death as life. I see this as a continuation of my path. I have no more cares or worries. I feel completely free and very happy. I know that everything is going to be fine. I am ready to give up the limitations of the physical form. I told my daughter, “I will be with you always because I will have no more limitations.”
I want to give thinks to this community. Because of you, my transformation was possible. I had a dream last night and the voice came to me that said, “It is time to go,” and I am at peace.
~ Luzmaria Lopez
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC