Updated: Mar 27
My Library Theory of Magnetism/ How I Found Yoga
When my marriage collapsed and the truth was revealed, I took a deep hard look inward to reclaim any small fragments of me. Over the next few months, I attempted to glue my life back together. Despite my efforts, nothing remained the same. Every aspect of my previous existence had crashed against the wall of pain. Honestly, I didn’t even know ME or really even care. Over the past 30 years, I had been a reflection of others around me. My titles included wife, mother, teacher, helper, daughter-in-law, caretaker, good friend and listener. None of these labels were going to help me now. I needed to change my persona to survivor, hard worker, home owner, yard person, tough girl and begin to weld a take control attitude.
My health was suffering and my doctor offered no solution short of a long list of prescriptions. There were anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and anti-feeling anything pills lined up on my bathroom counter. Over the past year, I had moved twice and taken on a full time management position at the library. Co-workers noticed a change in my energy and demeanor. A sense of sadness and loss surrounded me. Even the night guard commented that I never seemed to smile. He had no idea of the backpack of pain I carried every day. I kept my personal situation as private as I could, but I knew something had to change soon or I was going to become really sick.
Each morning while driving to work, I took a few minutes to speak out loud to my mom. I felt her presence constantly by my side. She would have been appalled if she had known of my situation before her death, but somehow I felt she was aware of my need for her support and companionship during this difficult time. “Hello Mother, I need to figure out how to manage this terrible stress and anxiety”. HELP! I continued to speak to her under my breath as I pulled into the parking lot and entered the library building.
My work on the reference desk was fast paced and intense at times. My location served as a hub and central clearing station for a consortium of other smaller libraries in the area. The staff was known as the brainiacs of the system. There were three librarians posted at all times. The reference desk was a circular raised podium located in the heart of the building. Library patrons lined up from 9 am to 9 pm with no break. There were questions about medical issues, investments, child care, starting a business, cooking, entertaining, local history, law, homework, getting a job, writing a resume and how to surf the internet, use a browser and search engine. At the same time there was a bank of public internet terminals that needed attention with restart, paper jams and security issues. Often it felt like a bakery with folks lined up waiting with a ticket for service. I had noticed that this round robin of patrons magically matched up perfectly with the staff on duty. It was completely random but seemed strangely synchronistic.
On this particular morning, my first patron was a fit, small man carrying a beige folder filled with typed papers. He approached me with concern in his voice. “How can I help you?” I asked. “I am writing a book”, he answered. “I have a publisher” he continued. “Congratulations” I chimed in, but there was more. “I need to rework my entire bibliography by next week , and I have lost all my references. Can you help me reclaim my research?” This was a major task which would require hours of personal attention. There was a line up of other patrons who were getting restless. “I can help you for 15 minutes today, but you will need to come in every morning for several days so we can retrace your work”. He agreed and we began to rebuild his bibliographic details.
His book was an exhaustive collection of scientific studies on the medical benefits of yoga. He was a scientist employed at Bell Labs, which was located close to the library. His passion was yoga and he had been a teacher of Iyengar Yoga for over a decade. This style of yoga stressed proper alignment with the use of props such as blocks and straps. Students would hold a pose or asana for about 5-10 minutes breathing deeply into the muscles and joints. Eventually, the body would relax and the student would go deeper into the stretch. I was impressed with the studies he had located. He left no stone unturned to prove his theory that the practice of yoga could change one’s physical body but also the overall health and wellness of a yogi. The studies had been conducted with regular people, who had been practicing yoga for just a few months. The results were outstanding. At the end of our week together as a research team, I got up the nerve to ask my new friend a few questions. “Do you teach nearby? I have been seeking a way to manage stress. I am going through a tough time in my personal life”. He told me that he was teaching early morning classes in a nearby neighborhood known as The Hills. Amazing, I thought since I had just moved to that same location. I began classes the next week. My prayers had been answered in such an unusual way
Chapters from my journal: The Enlightened Librarian