The day after losing my grandmother, I boarded a plane for Thailand to participate in the Yin Yoga & Meditation module of my 1,000 hour yoga training with Tiffany Cruikshank. The decision to continue with this trip on the heels of this loss was extremely difficult and one that was made after heavy discussion with my family. Everyone was in agreement that my grandmother would not want me to cancel my training. We felt that it was beneficial that I saw her before she passed.
While a heavy heart was a major part of my luggage, I went through the motions of boarding my flights and taking a 38 hour trip. From LAX to Taipei, Taiwan, I noticed an overwhelming fragrance of perfume filling the cabin. I really didn’t think much of it other than that I was annoyed that someone would not think twice about dousing themselves in a strong fragrance before boarding an extremely long flight. I let it go for that moment as I popped in my headphones, watched movies that I had been too busy to see in the theater and took advantage of the complimentary wine service paired with the terrible airplane food.
As I boarded the plane from Taipei to Bangkok, I began to get settled in for another long leg. Earplugs? Check! Eye mask? Check! No-Jet Lag tablets? Check! Then, all of a sudden, I noticed it again. That smell. The overwhelming fragrance from the last flight. It was here again! I peeled off my eye mask and looked around, but no one in my immediate vicinity looked familiar from the last flight. I mean, what would be the odds, right??? Again, I really didn’t think about it much other than the fact that I was irritated that I was having to smell this fragrance for yet another flight. I felt a bit like I had just walked into Abercrombie & Fitch, but what could I do? 2 glasses of wine down, eye mask on, earplugs in, good night!
I groggily wandered through the Bangkok airport from 2:30am-6am before finally making my way to Koh Samui for the Yin Yoga & Meditation module with Tiffany. After everything that I had endured the week leading up to the retreat, plus the extensive traveling, I was so glad to be here. Not only did I need a shower and some decent food but remember, half of the clothes in my suitcase were dirty! (read about that in the last blog, if you haven’t already.) It was lovely meeting new yogis where were like minded and spiritually connected, but it was fantastic to reconnect with fellow yogis who I have had the pleasure of traveling with in the past.
One of the things I have loved the most is making friends on just about every continent. Here, you see Australia, Sweden via Jakarta, Holland by way of Abu Dhabi, London and Norway, just to name a few! Practicing with this group brings a sense of peace, harmony and cohesiveness. Knowing that I had been through so much in the recent days, it was like having a family away from my own family.
The first evening of the retreat was taking place at the same time as my grandmother’s funeral back home. Needless to say, the practice was very emotional for me. At the end of the practice, I laid in the silence and stillness of savasana. As my body rested and absorbed the recent events I had encountered and the travel that I had endured, my mind was called back to the present moment by the sounds of large, metal wind chimes. Chimes similar to those that hung on my grandmother’s back porch. The porch that I spent many summers catching lightning bugs, swirling sparklers and rocking on her wooden rocker while watching the hummingbirds refuel at the feeder that she always had waiting for them. It was at this moment that it all came together for me. The wind chimes. The fragrance on the airplane. I realized what it was and why it was so familiar to me. It was Liz Claiborne. As in the red plastic triangle that we used to wear in high school. My gram used to wear it. Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first!) but I swear it was a sign from her. The perfume. The wind chimes. In my mind, it was her being there with me. Telling me that she was no longer in pain and that she was free and at peace. It was at this moment that I, too, felt at peace. In that moment. In my body. In my mind. Peace and tranquility. Despite the fact that we had beachside winds each and every day, I never heard the chimes again during my stay, yet the sense of peace and calm remained. Om Shanti, Namaste’