Wow! What a trip that was. Flying to Toronto on the red-eye, from there to Albany in a little twin engine plane, then shuttling to the retreat centre near Lenox.  The weather went from moderately cool and clear skies in Vancouver, to down right cold and snowy in Toronto, Albany and Lenox too.  All I wanted to do when I arrived at the Yoga Centre was  sleep. But I would settle for a speedy registration at the front desk, a hot cup of tea, and an hour and a half in a much-anticipated Yoga class. One that I could sink into and enjoy without having to teach it myself.  I couldn’t wait.

However when I arrived at the Centre my room wasn’t ready.  So after registering, I had a chance to wander around the old mansion and get a feel for the place. I traded the hot cup of tea for a few minutes in the Centre’s well-stocked bookshop. When I finally did get to my room later that afternoon, which I chose to share with a fellow Yoga lover, I was met at the door by a 50ish year old woman who was crying, and clearly in a distressed state of mind. There was no time for pleasantries. With hesitation in my voice I queried “How are you?” She stared at me with her sad sad eyes and said, “My son was just arrested on felony drug charges. . . He didn’t have to make that choice . . . He’s from a good family. . . He’s my baby! . . .”

My heart sank. It went out to this stranger for the situation that Life had dealt her. The agony of her pain intermingled with her son’s, and no doubt the rest of her family as well. I had just traveled across the continent for a few days away from home to a Yoga retreat centre, to get some much needed R & R, take in a trauma workshop with an esteemed psychiatrist and his Yoga teachers, and of course get away from the clinic where I work as a therapist and Yoga teacher with recovering addicts.  And there I found myself in this particular moment . . . at work.   Now if the Universe couldn’t get any wackier in the way it can teach us our lessons, in my own family a relative was recently arrested on drug charges. Ugh! The pain of it all! I was in the thick of a moment that I didn’t want anything to do with, again. Why now? All I wanted to do was put my bags down and take in a gentle Yoga class. That’s all! But the Universe had other ideas.

As my conversation with Laura* unfolded she shared through her tears that she just couldn’t stay at the Centre for the next week as planned. She had to go home to be with her family. I remember us hugging in the room the way only two strangers can, sharing through our embrace both our spoken and unspoken family tragedies. As we said good-bye, Laura was on her cell phone being updated by her partner. I left quietly to take in the Yoga class that I really really needed at that point. When I returned to our room after class, Laura’s things were gone. As I stood there alone my mind turned in reflection to the mysterious workings of the Universe. How in one moment I could be vibrating with the despair and drama of a family tragedy that mirrored my own, and then in another . . . peace.

* not her real name