I have been trying to write this blog for a few days now. Earlier this week my dear Uncle Roger was brought to the hospital for an operation. Sadly the operation had complications and at 87 years old, he made is ascension to heaven a few days ago. The timing was so bizarre. On the day I he went into the hospital was the day I found out I landed two yoga teaching jobs in Thailand. And on the day I started work was the day he passed.
Roger lived an amazing life and he was certainly one of the biggest influences in mine. He loved to travel and spent most of his free time visiting other countries, experiencing different cultures. Having no children of his own, he sort of “adopted” my sister and me and brought us along with him on his journeys. It is because of him that my world expanded from the small, humble town I grew up in to 23 countries and 5 continents. By my early 20s I could navigate around any country with comfort and ease. This year, armed with all the experiences I gained from my travels with him, I made the decision to move my home from sunny California to South East Asia. I remember the day I decided to pack up my life in and embark upon this journey. He was the first person I called. I expressed my gratitude for all gifts he offered me and told him that I would never be living the life I am now without his influence.
I’ve had a lot of practice coming to terms with death. Both my father and grandfather passed away while in my arms and over the past few years, I’ve lost several close friends.
But the fact is, we are all dying from the moment we are born. We enter this beautiful earth with a deep inhale and exit with an exhale… and that is a fact. Life is full of birth, death and transformation. It brings me to a beautiful quote by my Kundalini yoga teacher Guru Singh, “Everything’s dying to be reborn, infant day is the early-morning, it’s dark as night when the day shall end and into the night you’ll be born again.
Inside the deepest core of me, I believe that we do live on. YOLO, You Only Live Once, has never been a catch phase that I embraced, because I do not believe that is true. I know this thought might offend some people. In certain religions including the one in which I was raised, we are taught that we live and die and there is no reincarnation. But even if that is the truth, the legacy of a soul may live on. And even that is a rebirth. A new way of living. Transformation. I know that Uncle Roger, my father and the close friends who have passed on are all still living. They are living inside of me and inside those who they touched. I can hear them everyday. Their message, their strength, the lessons they taught, and the inspiration they left behind.
After I lost my father, I learned to celebrate these transitions rather than to mourn them. That is not to say that I do not miss them. I do everyday. But I find it more appropriate to celebrate their transformation. I call upon them and feel their energy, their embrace, and their love.
“For certain is death for the born And certain is birth for the dead; Therefore over the Thou shouldst not grieve.”
So today Roger, Dad, and all the wonderful people who are now our angels, I celebrate your transition.