In the Arms of an Angel

This week the Bloom family lost one of our strongest women. My great-aunt Helen was a spitfire personality. As a single woman, she raised a child, bought a house, was a square-dancing queen, and took in dozens of “orphans” in Ojai, CA at a time when all of these things were unheard of. She knew what she wanted and she did what she had to do to get those them. She worked hard, even through her last years of life, because she wanted to be amongst the people: adding joy and peace to the lives of others. The entire community called her Grandma because she treated everyone as family. You’d meet her in the street and suddenly, somehow, she would know your entire life story, offer advice, and hold your hand. She was one of the most open-hearted and generous women. And yet, she had her opinions and made them known. When you were not going down the right life path or doing something she didn’t agree with, she would call you on it. Every time we would visit, Aunt Helen would look me up and down and assess what she needed to critique. I would always wait with baited breath, hoping to withstand the damage. But, looking back, her assessment was usually spot on. Most people were too hesitant to be that honest–but not Aunt Helen.
As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I begin to recognize the amazing women in my Bloom family. These ladies are role models of strength, spunkiness, self-reliance, generosity, and gumption. I am so proud to rise amongst their ranks as a fellow Bloom girl. Thank you Aunt Helen for your inspiration. Keep watching over us and offering your unfiltered advice.

Aunt Helen always gave the best hugs.

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#bestrongin2015 challenge day 19: Fallen Angel. I have been working on this challenging arm balance for a month, but I could never quite gather the strength, coordination, and courage to work myself fully into the pose. This past week my great-aunt Helen passed away. After Aunt Helen’s memorial, I meditated on her personal strength, generosity, and courage and I decided to tackle this pose once again–dedicating my practice to dear Aunt Helen, our own Bloom angel. Suddenly, I found myself successfully in the pose. I felt myself floating and being weightlessly lifted off the ground. Thanks Aunt Helen for watching over us and keeping us on our toes (or on our hands in this case.) You will be missed, but never forgotten.

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