A good friend lost her fight with cancer tonight…I feel the loss so patently, and yet so much relief that there is no more pain for her now.

This is the end of a fight fought by one of the bravest souls I’ve been blessed to know, even as the cancer overtook her body and began to take her away from us, she never focused on it, she’d answer if you asked directly, but her disease didn’t own her…her life was the ultimate expression of yoga, she “did” Life one moment at a time, as honestly as she could, though she guarded her privacy fiercely.

The last time we talked, before it became too difficult to do so, she taught me a Sanskrit chant “Anando Hum” which means quite simply “I am Bliss”…I had asked for a chant to give to a friend who also lost a relative to cancer, and this my friend gave me so freely (as she always did).

I called her my “Oracle at Delphi” for the wisdom and humility she taught me, for sharing with me that it was ok to just “be”, to process the darkness, as well as enjoy the light. She told me of Noble Silence, pain as she had never known and how she saved up Yellow Skittles and Starburst for me because I told her I loved them so. All with the same breath and love.

Her transition comes not as an ending, but as a doorway to another place, another plane of existence; she has transcended this one, and though we will miss her, and shed tears…we must also celebrate. Think not that Death is an end to life; no, death is only the opposite of birth! LIFE has no end, she knew this, she lived it, and she has branded it forever in my heart.

Words fail me here, and so I will rely on those of another, John Donne, who wrote in words equally terse and profound:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Death Be Not Proud

John Donne

This is my yoga as September becomes October, and as Yoga Month ends, and we return to the everyday yoga of life and the search for peace.

Always and ever love, my Oracle, I will dream of sunshine, labyrinths and yellow sweeties.

Anando hum.