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Yoga Off The Mat: Choice or Chance?

By Rev. Edie Weinstein-Moser

A thought has been knocking loudly lately that I have wondered about for years. Do life events occur at random or is there a pattern or perhaps even pre-destination involved? Do we as humans have much control over who we draw into our lives and at what point along the path? I look at all of the friendships I have engaged in over the years with people from all different eras in my life. My oldest (not chronological age, but duration) is Barb. We met on the bench of a pool at age 14 or so when we swam on different competitive swim teams. Back then we became blood sisters, literally cutting our fingers and mixing blood as a sign of unity. I have to admit that I was such a wimp that we waited until I accidently sliced my finger and then she deliberately cut hers. Our developmental paths and interests diverged and merged, weaving in and out over the years. She is an accountant, wife and suburban mom of four beautiful children, the 3rd of whom is my God-daughter Cady. After she was born, Michael was in the hospital for a final time and she told me that she and Glenn had decided to name me God-mother "so you’ll have a little girl to spoil." A few days ago, Barb told me that "you have always been my flower child friend" when I related that my son Adam thought I should take up kick-boxing to deal with my repressed anger that he so loves to invite. I told her I’d rather take power yoga classes. I could hear her smiling through the phone. What is the bond that keeps us together even though on the surface, our lives are so different?

In 1979, as a sophomore at Glassboro State College, I attended a weekend retreat in North Jersey, offered by author and teacher Alan Cohen, whose home base is now Maui. At the time, he lived in the New Brunswick, NJ area, location of Rutgers University where I almost went to undergrad. What drew me to the weekend were my friends and dorm-mates Laurie Zankman and Allison Weiss (I haven’t thought of them in ages...watch, they’ll show up in my life sometime soon). They were from the same area as Alan and knew him personally. So, either way, it seems, I would have met Alan since his work was well known in his own region as well. We remain friends after all these years and when I saw him this past Spring in South Jersey, it was as if no time had passed since I had seen him three or four years earlier.

Michael and I were introduced in 1986 at a Ram Dass lecture by mutual friend Ute Arnold who told him that I was the woman who was facilitating a workshop at a conference that he had already signed up for two weeks down the road. What if we hadn’t been introduced that night, would we even have noticed each other at the workshop? Would sparks have developed? He told me he was smitten right away and I told him it took two weeks for my heart to catch up.

I could offer countless more stories as examples and I’m sure you have them too. Digging deeper into the puzzle or as is posed in one of my favorite movies "What The Bleep Do We Know?" : "How far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go?", I wonder what series of events needed to come into alignment in order for me to have met those who are now treasured friends? What choices did I need to make and did they need to make along the way for our hearts to connect? Would a moment later or a moment sooner have made a difference? There but for a sense of bravado rather than shyness, would that have prevented me from introducing myself to kindred spirits that I recognized at parties like my friend and ‘creative partner’ Peter, websites where I met new friends Robert and Gerald and workshops where Greg meandered in, followed closely by Kim and Brad and my "California friend" Brad and Dianea whose NY license plate proudly displays the handle "Crybabe", supermarket check out lines where I met my friend Donna; my ‘other Jewish mother’ who has been available over the years with emotional chicken soup for my soul, volunteer opportunities where I met Roz and Don, at the Philly Folk Festival in 1985 where Randi sprawled on my blanket, on an exercise bike at the Y where Jim sweated on in, fundraisers where I connected with yoga instructor Jack, over a conference table at work where "Malibu Troy" had me questioning the nature of reality, my former incarnation as a magazine publisher during which Healing Music Man Brian came into my life, spiritual community gatherings from which Pat, Glenda, Karen, Gary, Susan, Larry (aka Hugman), Hannelore and Bob, John and Darah have graced my life and even a book store where I picked up a copy of Jody Kessler’s CD "Leap of Faith". I listened to it in the car and decided that I wanted to email her to thank her for creating such beauty. We have been friends ever since. Each one of them has brought with them a sense of the miraculous. Now the question remains: were these friendships ‘beshert’–Hebrew for ‘meant to be’ or were they simply random occurrences in series of life events? I wonder too, who else is out there with whom I’ve yet to connect and is every decision I make moment to moment going to allow our paths to cross? I’m open to the discovery.

Rev. Edie Weinstein-Moser, LSW is a writer, free-lance journalist, speaker, interfaith minister, social worker, reiki master, greeting card text writer and clown.

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