Sunflower Mandala

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Happy Springtime

My emotions can shift abruptly. This morning, I was enjoying a sweet springtime view from my bathroom window for about a minute before I had to break up a sudden kitty battle for window supremacy. Several minutes later, I found myself thinking about the classic scene in Titanic after Rose passes, when we see her walking up the ship’s grand staircase, surrounded by the passengers who didn’t survive the sinking. At the top of the stairs, Rose is greeted by her long-lost lover Jack, bringing her life’s story to its close.

For me, the scene is simultaneously sad and lovely, and it probably slid into my quirky, too-busy brain because I’d woken up this morning relieved that the world as we know it was still here. The fictional character of Rose had a life as long and grand as the ship’s ornate staircase, and we last see her surrounded by love in another plane of existence . . . or perhaps in Rose’s vision of what heaven would look like. I’m not sure who’ll greet me at the top of the grand staircase at the end of life, but I like to think that all the kitties I’ve fed, cared for, and loved will be lined up on the steps. Preferably not growling at each other.

This time of year offers a bit of heaven on earth. Spiritual celebrations from three major religions converge against a background of blooming beauty and color, complete with a birdsong soundtrack. Many of us will visit family this week, sharing memories and making new ones. (I know three yogis who are celebrating the holidays this year with a new grand baby. WooHoo!) But others will grieve the loss of loved ones or suffer from hardships and war. I’m grateful to be one of the lucky ones.

Wishing  you a joyful and peaceful springtime holiday. Namaste, Louise

Chag Pesach sameach, Happy Easter, and Ramadan Kareem to all who are celebrating this April

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

There’s One More Yogi in Heaven

Saying goodbye to a special lady

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Mollie Vogel: yogi, friend, wife, mother, teacher, role model. Nicknamed “the mayor of Mount Vernon,” by the many people whose lives she gently touched, Mollie passed away on Tuesday, a little more than one month after the celebration of her 95th birthday.Yogini Mollie Vogel

I was lucky to know her, luckier still to be one of her  yoga instructors. I was the last teacher she worked with during her 50+ years of dedicated yoga practice. I’m sure I learned more from her than she did from me.

Mollie’s memorial service was held at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Mount Vernon. The rabbi who lead the service described Mollie as “a woman of excellence,” or “eshet chayil” in Hebrew. Loving, smart, and stubborn, she raised four children with her husband, Seymour Vogel. In her 40s, after the couple’s children were grown, Mollie obtained a driver’s license so that she could return to school to earn a college degree.

Mollie worked as a nursery school teacher for many years. Following her retirement in her late 70s, Mollie remained active in every sense of the word: politically, intellectually, spiritually, physically.

While I can tell you tidbits about Mollie–that she volunteered in a local soup kitchen; that, as a yoga ambassador, she accompanied me to a senior home to encourage the residents to practice yoga; that she had an amazing om (click here to read an article about Mollie)–I am not adept enough with words to express all that she meant to me. I see Mollie as a spiritual warrior, a woman who walked a path of peace with strength and dignity.

I hope I can walk a similar path to Mollie’s, and that I can keep up with her. Because I think that somewhere, perhaps on a yoga mat in heaven, she’s doing one awesome downward-facing dog.

Friday, April 17th, 2015
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