“Oh honey, it's a magical, magical life, life, life.” ~ Magic, Sia
I almost slept through my alarm this morning! The song on the radio that woke me up was hovering between two stations, and I almost didn’t hear it.
That might not make much sense to someone who’s younger than I am and may never have owned a clock radio, but mine has been my alarm for more than three decades, and it’s still kicking! It’s just that today, as is so often the case, the dial is a little off kilter. And in my first waking thought, I decide that I’ll fix it later. Without looking, I reach over and turn it off. I’m up, and I’ve got enough time to make it to morning yoga!
I love this early hour. To me, it feels as if it’s part of a secret that I almost know but don’t. It’s a hushed hour, whispering between night and day in a way that so often I sleep right through it. But when I’m able to awaken in it, as I have today for yoga, I feel connected, as if I’m part of that secret, too. And I like how that feels. Maybe some of that feeling explains why I wasn’t so anxious to fix the dial on my radio just now. Maybe part of me likes to hover in between, too.
My coffee is almost ready. I’d set it up the night before, and it serves as my incentive to climb out of bed and make my way downstairs. I pour myself a cup and look over at the kitchen table. In the quiet, my computer blinks at me, and I sit down in front of it to answer a few emails. Then I go back upstairs to get ready in just the briefest of ways. I splash water on my face, brush my hair and put on my yoga clothes, before making my way back downstairs again to gather my things and leave the house.
I roll up my mat, which I’d left on the floor by the front door just the night before. Then I put on my jacket and grab my keys and step outside. A sharp kiss of cold air greets me, and I let it linger for a moment. Out here, it’s even darker and more hushed, and I can’t help but do what I do every time I leave the house at this hour. I stand on the front stoop and scan the skies to see what I can see.
And what I see is a view so vast and silent that I can only marvel at what might be behind it. And looking at it gives me that same feeling I had earlier. It’s a feeling of connection, one that makes me feel a part of that same secret that I almost know but don’t. And I don’t think I ever will, either, guarded as it is by so many endless points of light and a moon so bright that it still looks like night.
I make the short drive to the studio and pull into the parking lot. Sitting in their cars like yogis on their mats, a few others have already arrived and are waiting in their chosen spots. I park my car among them and wait for the studio to open. I like this time, too. It’s yet another in-between time, and I wonder if any of the others might also feel it. Part of me thinks they must, because when the instructor arrives, all of us stay hushed, as we follow him inside.
I hang up my jacket and put my things away in a cubby. Then I set up in the practice room, rolling out my mat and putting up my hair and chatting softly with some others. Finally, I sit down on my mat to wait out these last few minutes. The in-between time is almost gone, and, before I know it, I am already making my way out of it. The practice has already begun, and we are flowing. For the next hour or so, we move through the poses, and when we are done, that earlier time in between now feels like some long-ago dream.
We lie in Savasana, the final resting pose. I splay out my feet with my arms by my side, and then I close my eyes. It’s time to listen to a few words from the instructor, and today he’s cautioning us against the effort of keeping up with someone else’s practice. He asks us not to feel defeated when we see someone else succeeding in a pose that for us might otherwise be a struggle. Instead, he asks us to be inspired, assuring us that our bodies will come into their own knowledge to the best of our abilities, in our own time.
“When you see someone doing a pose that’s difficult for you,” he asks, “can you just marvel at the view?”
I think it takes a bit of faith to marvel at most anything, mostly because when we marvel, it usually means we’re looking at something with an element that’s beyond our own understanding. And so, when we marvel, we have to believe the things that we almost know but don’t. This is how it is for me at yoga. When I move on the mat, there’s something inside that I can’t quite explain. I think of it as magic in my body, and I don’t think I’m the only one who has it. I think we all have it, but I can’t really define it much further than that. All I know is that it’s there, because when I hover in my handstands it feels the same to me as when I awaken in those early hours or when I look up to scan the skies.
But even those of us who believe in magic can still have days when we falter, not just in our handstands but also in our faith. And, so, I’ve been asking about this, because lately there have been those days. And now is not a good time for that. The anniversary of a very big loss is fast approaching, and it’s more important than ever to feel connected, even if it’s to something I don’t fully understand. Soon it will have been three years since we lost the young man who we thought would always be here.
Months before we lost him, he’d given us what I now consider to be his most lasting gift. It was a toast, presented at our Thanksgiving table, just after he’d finished carving the turkey. He’d held his glass high and unabashedly proclaimed his love, first for my daughter, and then for the rest of us, too. And shortly thereafter, he disappeared from our view, leaving only these words for us to hold onto.
And now we’ve been living in a time that I think of as the time between now and back then, and it’s been a time that’s continued to fill with questions. And while we work hard on our faith in our efforts to answer them, there are still no answers forthcoming. Instead, there are babies! Six babies, to be exact! Each one born to family and friends, they’ve all had the honor of being named for him. And this is where my faith comes in, because these events have left me wondering.
Could he be where they’ve already been? Might there be a secret connection?
But these are questions that are as big as our loss, and even as I ask them, I know there aren’t any definitive answers. If there were, then I’d get to know what I almost do but don’t, and I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Instead, I believe my only answer is to keep the faith, and so I’m going to try to do that as best as I can. And that is why I was so grateful the other weekend, when I finally got some help with that. It came from the officiator of the naming ceremony for our most recent arrival. In so many words, she encouraged us to marvel.
She explained about the in-between time. She said that there is a special time between the day we are born and the day we are named. In this time, she said, those who have come before us return to hover close by. In fact, she said that they were right there with us in the room! In this case, that would mean that, unbeknownst to the rest of us, this baby boy had already been in good company for the past eight days!
And what she said next was, I think, the most important. She told us that once she proclaimed his name, those hovering close by would descend into him. And then she pointed down at his little body, as if to show us how a part of them would forever be a part of him.
“L’dor v’dor,” she said. “From generation to generation.”
And with that, she held her hand high and proclaimed his name.
And that, I think, is the best answer to my question, for I believe we are all part of that secret connection. There is magic in us from the very beginning, and it stays with us for life. And we get to share it with others while we’re here, and we even get to do the same when we’re not.