“Life could be a dream (Sh-boom). If only all my precious plans would come true (Sh-boom).
If you would let me spend my whole life lovin' you. Life could be dream, sweetheart…”
—The Chords ('Shaboom' or 'Life Could be a Dream')
As a classicist, practical and holistic example of love and intention, yoga by definition means union, to yoke or bind together. The practice of yoga brings the mind, body, the heart and spirit together. When we move, breathe and practice on our mats side by side, we embody a pure example of equality and harmony that represents what is intended on a global scale. People - ALL people are meant to be as one. By seeing others as we view ourselves - equal and worthy, it's the way that we begin to acknowledge, value and support the lives and valiant efforts of others. And in that action, we honor our own. Traditionally beginning and ending a yoga class, the sound of OM is simply a symbol of that ideal. It creates and represents a space where the uniting of all beings become a collective made of many voices that come together as one.
In all aspects of our lives, when we all do our part to hold, support and return to the love and values that are dear to our hearts, we can begin to navigate and become stronger together. When we can generate as much love and light as possible, it is in support of those around us where we can move to strengthen our everything—our environments, our communities, our bodies, our minds and passionate hearts for good.
The day of my first cancer related surgery was quite intense, serious and scary but at the hospital, I was blessed with the physical presence and support of my parents, Kym, Marie, later Betty— and apparently doctors who connected to me as well. Each did their part while holding my broken pieces and putting them back together. They also empowered and inspired me to take on my own. As each doctor and their team made their way to me to discuss the events of the day, I grew more and more emotionally tired. Sitting with my mom and Marie at that point, we were joined by the plastic surgeon who came in to make his markings on my body. He expressed confidence that all would go quite well and expected that due to my physical shape that I would have a relatively short recovery. Before he went to talk to my father and Kym who were out in the waiting room, he said, “Look Teri, we understand that this is overwhelming for you, but we deal with this everyday. Let us do what we do. We'll take good care of you...We've got your back."
Once in the operating room, I became over stimulated by the brightness of the lights and the sounds of many people conferring. All were busy in preparation to work on me. Many voices and the cheerful sounds of co-workers quite familiar with each other went about their everyday tasks. My cancer surgeon, anesthesiologist, plastic surgeon and his nurse came over this time to encourage and simply prepare me for a successful procedure. They laid me on the table and each came over to inform me as to what their individual jobs were for my case. Then, there were a couple minutes when it got really quiet for me.
In that softness came a fun sign. As they were prepping to put me under, I realized that my cancer surgeon and the anesthesiologist were having a little conversation with each other. I thought it was about the work that they were about to do, but I soon realized that they were discussing my left arm. That was the arm in which they were about to place my i.v. Apparently, both doctors could read Sanskrit and were discussing my tattoo. Inside of two endless bands my tattoo reads, "Prema / Jeevana". The doctors asked if I knew what those words meant. I told them that in English, the words are ‘Love’ and ‘Life’. Both were not only encouraged by the fact that I knew what the Sanskrit meant, but that the words and the concept of those words together were a clear and conscious choice for me. They proceeded to inform all the many other people who were in that room of the sentiment, which became the moral of the story especially for that day. I then suddenly became distracted by someone grabbing my other hand. I looked over to see that it was my plastic surgeon offering some comfort. That was the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery where we were told that my surgeries went well. My crew of both parents, Kym, Marie & my yoga friend Betty (who I kind of forgot was a nurse), kept me up beat, talking and laughing a lot. That was a good time and my spirits were as good as they could have been. I was queen for the day and brought ice chips and fluffed pillows on demand! All the events of the day made me a popular patient as me, my posse and spiritual resolve were an impressive force with which to be reckoned. Once at home the following day, my apartment was buzzing with the love of my parents and friends hanging out, laughing and taking care of me. Despite what was happening and why, in feeling all of the love that was, is and has always surrounded me makes it OK to be me.
The support and service of those around us is important not only for those who are lifted up, but it is also essential for those doing the lifting because it provides purpose and fosters connection. Caregivers are just that. They offer care and the space for those in need of care to become freed up to find their way to operate from a more stable center. All of the work that we do, the words that we say, the actions that we perform and the thoughts that we have go a long way, and can have lasting effects on us and those around us. If we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we must work to love our own lives (and find inspiration to seek out the sunshine that's hidden within the shady pockets) — for life is the weirdest, scariest and most precious party you’ll ever attend.