Tuesday May 8th
I know I’m a week late for May Day, but today was the day when I needed to send out the international distress signal. After some travel delays, I arrived home from Kansas City at about 1am Monday morning, a little worse for the wear after a busy weekend of teaching at my friends Kathleen and Wade Mortensen’s yoga studio, Maya Yoga. They were having a heat wave in Kansas City—on Saturday it was 95 degrees with about 90% humidity and the studio was like a sauna. Saturday evening I began to experience a little respiratory and intestinal distress along with a little fever. I figured I was just overheated and dehydrated and kept drinking water. Sunday was a little cooler and I managed to suck it up and power through the classes—it’s an interesting phenomena how being in teaching mode can sometimes override any physical symptoms of illness. When I arrived home early Monday morning I was not in good shape, and when my alarm went off a few hours later I was not a happy camper. I rarely get sick and almost never miss a day of teaching due to illness, so even though I felt horrible I went in to work. It was a bad idea, but I got through it and was able to get a little rest afterwards, then come back and teach an evening class—again, not a good idea. Last night I hoped to catch up on my rest but could barely sleep because I felt so lousy. This morning I woke up knowing there was no way that I could answer the bell. I drove to the studio hoping to find and convince someone to fill in for me. My faithful ten- year student, Pete Hurley, pulled into the parking lot just as I did. He took one look at me and said, “You don’t look so good,” and offered to teach my two morning classes. I came home and went back to bed. That is my sad story.
I’m feeling a little better this afternoon, but still find myself slipping into a regressive state where I feel like I want my mommy—kind of pathetic when you are 61! My wife has been attentive and compassionate, but somehow mom always did it best. I remember contracting the mumps and measles simultaneously in kindergarten and then transmitting them to my two brothers and my father. My mother looked after us all tirelessly until we were well, with never a complaint. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone as selfless as my mother. Her life has always been about taking care of her husband and her kids, performing selfless service with no thought of personal reward—the Hanuman ideal. Since my father passed away last year, she has no one to take care of but herself, which she continues to do at the age of 93. She is pretty deaf and has a severely arthritic hip that requires her to use a walker, but is still mentally intact and kind and sweet and thoughtful. I’ll be driving up to see her in Riverside on Sunday, to bow to the lotus feet of my first Guru and celebrate Mother’s Day.
On Mother’s Day the annual conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter will take place at 6:24am. This is traditionally considered to be a very positive aspect, which lends itself to feeling good on both the physical and psychological level. In the Jyotish system this conjunction takes place in the nakshatra called Krittika, seven bright stars huddled together in the constellation known as the Pleiades. The seven Krittikas are thought to be the wives of the seven primeval rishis who look after the affairs of our galaxy and collectively form the constellation known as the Great Bear, or Ursa Major. From the Puranas comes the legend that the seven Krittikas were the foster mothers of Shiva’s younger son Karttikeya, the god of war. Karttikeya was born for the purpose of killing the demons and restoring the heavens to the gods, but he needed to be hidden and nurtured by the seven Krittikas until he was ready to fulfill his mission. The Krittikas are thought to symbolize the feminine matrix of life—the perfect nakshatra for Mother’s Day.