Happy Interdependence Day

Happy Interdependence Day

 

July 4th in the U.S.A is about baseball and Bruce Springsteen, the red glare of fireworks in the night time sky, and frankfurters on the grill (Beyond Meat, of course). On this “independence” day we realize that in truth, citizens of the globe are not separate but interwoven, not isolated but mixed, not divided but united. Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Founding Fathers (read too, Mothers, Sisters, Sons, and Lovers) valued independence, self reliance and autonomy. However today, the assertion of independence is absurd. In somatic terms, it would be like the liver saying to the spleen, stomach and small intestine “Hey, I’m going to claim independence over here ”. Not only would this be ridiculous, it would lead to certain death. Today, we should celebrate not that we live in isolation but that we are connected. We should rename this day Interdependence Day. The prefix inter means between, and appears in words like interesting, international and– what you are likely on right now– the internet. Today, we should celebrate our in-betweenness and inter (i.e bury 6 feet under) the assumption that we are autonomous and self-sustaining and can go-it-alone to survive. When it comes to containing the spread of the Corona Virus, the proliferation of carbon in the atmosphere, and monitoring content on the w.w.w., we must collaborate with other nations beyond our borders. That we are interdependent, interwoven and indivisible is one of the earliest teachings of the Buddha, known as pratityasamutpada, or “going forth together”. If we are to preserve our planet, we must “go forth together” and realize what Thich Nhat Hanh called inter-being. When in service of the whole, we take a vow to realize “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (as espoused in the Declaration of Independence of 1775) not just for ourselves but for all beings. While honoring our nation’s uniqueness and richness, let’s celebrate the fact that we are all interwoven.

Happy Interdependence Day!

Shared Thoughts and Experiences from our Sangha

“My Father is 87. He & my Mom introduced me to Yoga in the 1970’s .He is still practicing today ! He is physically very well but struggles with depression having lost my Mom 7 years ago. He’s extremely impulsive, easily irritated & has lost a lot of filters 🙂 This is a lesson for me everyday. He uses essential oils religiously, seeks solace in friends and his garden. I pray for his well being and continually feel grateful that he has independence. Each & every thought, movement & interaction we have in this lifetime is a gift. I’m lucky to him and this lifelong practice of Yoga as teachers.”

– Kathryn Leider | Illinois

“It was the most difficult time in my life to watch my parents grow old. Although they both have passed away, it still saddens me to think back on those difficult times.”

– JS | Chicago

“Thank you Tias for this generous sharing. You have often told us about your mother during our training and I imagine how much this reality should affect. I wish you a wonderful time together.”

– @veronik_davanne | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing this tender and profound reflection around your mother’s experience, and yours of her… it brings to mind and heart Yoga Sutra 1.14 in a way I’ve never quite heard, felt, or perceived before. As always, so much gratitude for how you share the teachings. 🙏🏼💚”

– @sukhamukha | via Instagram

“Such a beautiful message!”

– @relishjoy | via Instagram

“She continues to be a remarkable woman.”

– @spindrift_yogi | via Instagram

“Thinking of you and your mother! We so enjoyed spending time with her and getting to know. Sending our love! M & M❤️❤️”

– @vista_yoga | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing this. My mom suffers from DIM-entia. She has not practiced yoga But it brings some comfort to me knowing that I do should I end up with dementia in my future”

– @kristen.mcquaide.yoga | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing. I remember meeting your mother at a workshop several years ago. She is a bright light. You are a fortunate son.”

– @momauney | via Instagram

“Sending blessings to all of you on this journey. ❤️”

– @janine.bjornson | via Instagram

“What grace and fortitude in your lens. Thank you for this reminder, Tias!💕🙏🏻💚 “

– @annigraley | via Instagram

“So beautiful ….. and inspiring to keep practicing. Thank you for sharing.”

– @loycedunbar | via Instagram

“So beautiful ….. and inspiring to keep practicing. Thank you for sharing.”

– @loycedunbar | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing this. Sending blessings to you and your mom. Your post reminded me of my dad. I lost my dad to dementia who had practiced several years of yoga in his life. He wasn’t much aware of anything due to the nature of his dementia. He would proudly hold Goddess pose before he got bed ridden and finally passed away. He continues to inspire my yoga practice and so do the teachers like you.”

– @vishali_gupta5 | via Instagram

“Indeed! Thank you for sharing. I want to innovate some of the neural pathways with movement and yoga to perhaps find relief from the slow incoming fog that is also in my genetic coding. I am curious and open to learning and discovering new ways to open the lens and the view wider! I hope that you enjoy your vacation and visit! See you soon!”

– @bethriley54 | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing this insight and for reminding me just how extraordinary your Mom is ❤️.”

– @capebeth15 | via Instagram

“Tias Thank you so much and never stop loving because you have a beautiful mom”

– @tomassosilvestri | via Instagram

“It is heart breaking ❤️ my beloved grandmother and mother in law both spent their last part of their life in the shadow of dementia and alzheimer. Loved to talk to them about the life they had lived, and then it’s gone. So, remember to speak to your elders about their life and their experiences. Their stories can be lost forever. ❤️ ”

– @rofylltrum | via Instagram

” Tias, thank you for sharing this experience & your thoughts. Aging & then death is inevitable. Your mom is beautiful & courageous. Sending you & your family warm & loving thoughts. 🙏💕”

– @tinakwoksf | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing these precious memories. 💛🙏”

– Christine Morgenstern Shin | via Facebook

” Thank you for sharing this intimate part of your life, Tias. My mom turned 90 last month just weeks after falling and breaking her pelvis. A month later, her words have vanished for everyday things. I wrote a poem the other night about the way she giggles when she forgets common names for things, and I wrote how I wish for myself to go out giggling instead of being angry. Her decades meditating has served her well. Again, you sharing here is so meaningful. 🙏🏽”

– @dinamcqueen | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing these thoughts. My mother lived with Alzheimer’s for over 10 years and passed away a number of years ago. It is so difficult to watch the gradual continuing decline and so hard to live far away. I still cherish those few moments on each visit where she seemed to really be present with me. They were so unpredictable and beautiful. Peace to you and your family.”

– Deborah Doyle | via Facebook

“It is a Blessing that your Mom’s dedicated yoga practice continues to benefit her emotionally ❤❤❤”

– Jayne Schell | via Facebook

“Oh Tias, my heart goes out to you, your mom, dear Surya, and Eno. Thank you for sharing the present moment about your mom. May your bearing witness be a reminder to all of us about the fragility of life. Sending hugs and love. 🧡”

– Malka E. Michelson | via Facebook

“Sending loving support.”

– @moving.to.balance | via Instagram

“You always have the right words for things, words that express a truth and yet they are infused with a deeper and more lovely understanding of what you are describing (or teaching). Thank you. I’m sure this post touches many people’s hearts. ❤️”

– @rhondakuster | via Instagram

“I am 1500 miles from home attending to my 88 year old dad, who is in hospice with cancer. So many revelations and discoveries and emotions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙏🏼❤️”

– @andreacneil | via Instagram

“They told us we would lose our mind as we got older , what they did not mention was that we would not miss it.”

– Anjillee Schwarz | via Facebook

“Very moving tribute to your Mother and to life, thank you.”

– Beth Davenport | Facebook

“I am 1500 miles from home attending to my 88 year old dad, who is in hospice with cancer. So many revelations and discoveries and emotions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙏🏼❤️”

– @andreacneil | via Instagram

“Sounds very much like my mum. Your mum looks great in her hat 😁”

– @moments_with_my_mother | via Instagram

“It is heart breaking ❤️ my beloved grandmother and mother in law both spent their last part of their life in the shadow of dementia and alzheimer. Loved to talk to them about the life they had lived, and then it’s gone. So, remember to speak to your elders about their life and their experiences. Their stories can be lost forever. ❤️ ”

– @rofylltrum | via Instagram

“My mother, 87, lives 1,200 miles distance from me. When I visit and enter her world, it is all consuming. I could spend all of my time caring for her. She is stubborn and proud. It is a true test of trusting others (caregivers), letting go, patience, forgiveness, and paying attention. A lot of sorrow, with brief moments of joy and lightness. I try to show up and be of service as best I can. This is the journey. Peace and Love. ”

– SD | Colorado

“I’m grateful she is not anxious. ❤️”

– @taylorrainbell | via Instagram

“My mother has Alzheimer’s so I relate. I teach chair 🪑yoga 🧘🏻‍♀️ for those with dementia and seniors and at Alzheimer’s homes (and taught for Dr. Ornish’s Alzheimer’s research study with a vegan diet), and train yoga teachers to do the same. But when it’s your own parent with the condition it’s a challenge and lesson of slowly letting go that is beyond words. But the essence and love remains, even when the cognitive understanding and knowledge of who you are fades. 💜 Namaste Stacie”

– Stacie | via Instagram

“Can totally relate, Tias. I will try to find and send you links to resources that helped me in my mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s. Namaste to you~”

– Jorie Raymond Sligh | Facebook

“I experienced my mother’s decline many years ago in my 20’s and 30’s. She was in her 40’s when I was born. I learned that it was best not to confront her loss of memory in any way, to simply find a way to direct our interaction in a loving way. Recalling beautiful moments in the past was one way, allowing her to tell me about them. Also, one day I sat down at the piano and began to play Christmas carols. My mother, who was mostly mute at the time, began to sing along with a big smile on her face. I invited friends over that evening and we had a Christmas party and sang all the old Christmas carols. My mother sang and brightened up in a way I had not seen in years. A therapist that I shared this story with told me that I had engaged right and left brain with the music and song, and that picking something we learn in our youth gave my mother access to that memory. So maybe you can find childhood songs that your mother loved and sing along with her?”

– EA | Santa Fe

“Caring is love: pure, simple, and beautiful.”

– Jo Ann S Jones | New Jersey

“What a lovely photo of you and your mom and thank you for your openness to sharing yours and her situation. I miss my parents deeply and my mom more so since she passed more recently.”

– @newtonmona | via Instagram

“So many thoughts and prayers to you and your Mom.🙏🏼💚”

– @omwithjanie | via Instagram

“Thank you for sharing. Thoughts and prayers for you and your beautiful mom. ❤️ 🙏❤️”

– @christina.pkt | via Instagram

“I love how she is holding onto you here… feels like you are the anchor.”

– @bettinalancaster | via Instagram

“I did not see your previous post but I so appreciate your sharing what you and your family are going through. It sounds like such a blessing that Susan does not feel anxious. Much love to all of you. ”

– Julia Graham Benkofsky-Webb | via Facebook

“I’m not sure life can be anymore honest than in these such moments.”

– Julie Streicher | via Facebook

“Love to you and your beautiful mom. Aging and caring require so much courage in the face of heartache. 💜”

– @flowingintowisdom | via Instagram

“Heard a story of a man chatting with someone. Mentioned he had to leave to have lunchwith his wife in a nursing facility. When the friend found out why she was there for dementia. They asked why bother if she doesn’t know who you are? He replied, but I know her. That spirit is there. Old pictures and singing bring a spark of recognition back. So sad for her loved ones. This is the suffering of end of life. Thank goodness she isn’t anxious. Prayers are with you and family. ❤️‍🩹 “

– @jlouwilds | via Instagram

“Indeed. I lost my Father to Alzheimer’s just 4 yrs ago….. Taking care of aging parents n working in a hospital, seeing patients in their decline at end of life is hard I remind myself how soon we all meet this fate. I wish you best in caring for your Mother 🙏”

– @flowersinherhair2 | via Instagram

” Sending you all so much love. Such a heartbreaking time to witness the decline of one we love dearly. Thank you for sharing your journey. These conversations are important. ❤️”

– @judymoon__ | via Instagram

“When my mother began her journey with dementia the single most useful resource I encountered was a book titled ‘Contented Dementia’ by Oliver James. It taught me how to care for my Mom in a way that would support her well-being and peace. It taught me to stop correcting her, or to say “Mom, don’t you remember…”, all of which can be agitating to someone navigating dementia. I recommend this book to anyone who has a loved one with memory challenges. “

– Janine Björnson | California

“SunLight Yoga · My mother has Alzheimer’s so I relate. I teach Chair 🪑Yoga 🧘🏻‍♀️ for those with dementia and seniors and at Alzheimer’s homes (and taught for Dr. Ornish’s Alzheimer’s research study with a vegan diet), and train yoga teachers to do the same. But when it’s your own parent with the condition it’s a challenge and lesson of slowly letting go that is beyond words. But the essence and love remains, even when the cognitive understanding and knowledge of who you are fades. 💜 Namaste Stacie”

– Stacie | via Facebook

“My parents died in 2016 and 2017 and their illnesses took them quickly and painfully, I was spared your experience. I attended the funeral of a friend’s dad with Alzheimer’s and he said the actual death was like a second goodbye because the first had been at the onset of Alzheimer’s. Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing.”

– Babs Randle Symonds | via Facebook

” This deeply resonates as I care for my mother, who resides in a very similar state. Thank you.”

– @nia.nascimento | via Instagram

“My dad loved to laugh, lighthearted and a little mischievous which he held onto mostly through his five years with dementia; a little anxiety during the beginning stages. Whenever I was with him, I would recall the words by educator Teepa Snow; “Dementia doesn’t rob someone of their dignity, it’s our reaction to them that does”, so I would listen intently when walking the farm together as he shared stories from his childhood and then funny stories too. Sometimes he would repeat the funny ones several times within a few minutes, and I would laugh each time as if it were the first. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when I laughed; those were most precious moments. Thank you for offering this opportunity to share, it has brought back some precious memories. “

– Sheila Wenzel | North Carolina

“I resonate with you on this Tias. My 94 year old mother also had dementia and passed peacefully not too long ago.”

– Werner Martin | via Facebook

“Heard a story of a man chatting with someone. Mentioned he had to leave to have lunchwith his wife in a nursing facility. When the friend found out why she was there for dementia. They asked why bother if she doesn’t know who you are? He replied, but I know her. That spirit is there. Old pictures and singing bring a spark of recognition back. So sad for her loved ones. This is the suffering of end of life. Thank goodness she isn’t anxious. Prayers are with you and family. ❤️‍🩹 “

– @jlouwilds | via Instagram

“My father suffers dementia (age 82), my mother (76) carries the consequences of a bipolar disorder in her stressed soma. Both are looked after by a 24h nurse in their homes as I have two small children to look after myself. What do I do to hold spaces for them? I try to spend quality time with them. Being with them is a lot about tactile things. Holding a hand, stroking a back, combing hair, giving tender and sometimes strong hugs, recollecting memories, assisting them to forgive. I also offer them to frankly talk about their ideas of dying and I get surprised how bold and courageous my father talks about it. Are you afraid of dying, dad?“ – „No, why should I? It will happen anyway.“ – „Wow, that’s bold. But what do you think will happen afterwards?“ – „Nothing, I will dy and that’s the end. Zack Boom.“ – „Well, I do have different ideas …“ – „What kind of ideas do you have?“ – „I think after leaving this life, we will come again in a different shape and form.“ My dad laughing out loud: „Well, my little one. We both wouldn’t mind me coming again in a different shape, would we?“ – Me laughing back at him: „No daddy, we wouldn’t mind. I love your humour.“ – „I love you too, meine Kleine (my little one).“ “

– Alexandra Kleinheinrich | Berlin

” She is just as beautiful as she has ever been”

– @raffarobin | via Instagram

“For the past year and a a half my mom, Judith, has had a series of UTI infections and falls that have sent her to the hospital and rehab centers on a regular basis. Following the death of her husband last December, my brother and I sold her home and moved her into assistant living in Knoxville, Tennessee close to where my brother lives and where I grew up. Initially she was doing well but recently started having falls again and had a particularly bad one a few weeks ago. My family took a road trip to Tennessee to visit and vacation last week. When I arrived, my mom was in the hospital, when I left she was back in her assisted living room with hospice care. She’s able to hold a short clear conversation before getting tired or confused. Her body is weak. In Tennessee my family stayed with my father. My parents are divorced and haven’t had much communication with each other for years. My father though, spent time telling my kids stories about my mom from when she was a teenager and early adulthood. It was good to hear those stories and they certainly brought tears to my eyes. When my brother visits my mom he often Face Times me so I can see her and speak to her. “

– Sarah Selig | NY

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