By Jennifer Kelleher
My Grandma Sally was famous for her quotes. If you ever had the pleasure of being a guest in her home, you would find them hanging all around. “Live and let live.” Some were written in careful calligraphy, decorated with hand drawn flowers, and framed. “It is… what it is.” Others were scripted on chalkboards, nailed to the wall. “Be kind to yourself.” And still more, jotted on post-its. “Most people are good.” “Sometimes you have to stir the pot!” These quotes were Grandma Sally’s self-prescribed good advice to help her stay present and on track.
One of her favorite pieces of advice for me was to, “do as the pilgrims did.” The first time she said it, I asked, “And what is that, Gma?” Her reply was, “Do what the day brings!” Gma shared this advice with me many times over the years, always with the same words and importance.
For years now, I have carried her repeated guidance with me daily. It reminds me to not get too stuck on the original idea. It reminds me that life is organic, forever in movement, and ever evolving. It reminds me to seize the day, and to enjoy the simple things. It reminds me to be where I am, with who and what is in front of me. It reminds me that change is ok. It reminds me that sometimes it is necessary to let go of expectations. It reminds me that happiness and joy is inside of me and always available. And now that she is gone, it reminds me more than ever of her.
I feel blessed to have gotten to know my grandmother. She lived no further than a few blocks away from me my whole life (except for my college years in Vermont and the ones following when I lived abroad). She was like glue, bringing extended family together for every holiday, milestone, beach day, and whatever other excuse she could find. At the end of her life, starting after her house was destroyed in Sandy, Max and I were lucky enough to share a two-family home with my Gma. I knew these eight years were special as I was living them (thank you Mom and Dad for making it possible), and although life is always busy, I do feel that I made the most of our time together. Max got to really know his great grandmother in his early, formative years. We spent many afternoons sitting around her kitchen table or sprawled on her living room floor talking, laughing, sometimes crying, and always sharing. Going down there always made me feel good.
My grandma was authentic, heart-centered, and an open book, and that gave others the license to be themselves, too.
Grandma Sally will always be a huge role model for me, and those last years together will forever live in a sacred time capsule in my heart. She was humble, and I’m not completely sure that she realized how long her loving arms reached (I think in the end, she did). Gma taught me the importance of family. I am so grateful for my immediate and extended family, along with all of the incredible people in our Rockaway community that I have come to also regard as family. I share this today from my heart, to say thank you, and to perhaps inspire you in your own life. It goes quickly, but each moment is rich, and we experience the richness when we land exactly where we are. Grandma Sally lived, and her life inspires mine each and every day.
I invite you to join me next Wednesday, June 21 for a sacred, healing, heart-centered Summer Solstice Sound Ceremony. Sign up at oceanblissyoga.net, or by texting or calling Jen (me) at 917-318-1168.