On September 30, the 177th anniversary of Lahiri Mahasaya’s birthday, Fran (Ananda Yoga Teacher Training graduate, January 1999) bid a peaceful farewell to this physical plane after a heroic battle against acute myeloid leukemia.
In her life as well as in her passing, she was an inspiration to many people. Her physicians called her “the strongest person we have ever seen.” This great soul helped many, many people.
All of us at Ananda Village miss her very much, as do all who know her. The Expanding Light has already received numerous glowing testimonials from her students. Last summer, as she pondered the possibility of making her transition, Fran wrote the following letter, asking that it be shared with other yoga teachers if she passed. It reflects the purpose she found in her life as well as one of her dearly held dreams.
I named myself yoga teacher and yoga studio owner. I lived in a very nice apartment that I had just redecorated last October. I was mom to two very sweet kitties. I called myself daughter, friend, student, customer and spiritual seeker. I never called myself patient, dependent, unemployed, or homeless.
And yet, here I am. My current address is Harbor UCLA Medical Center, Room 5E, bed B. My studio has been transferred to the very capable hands of my friend and fellow Ananda Yoga teacher, Kari Burgos. My friends packed up all my belongings and put them in storage.
My beautifully decorated apartment has now been repainted white, and someone else will enjoy that peaceful space. My kitties are living with Jayne, and they are making friends with Max the dog.
So what is left? What do I name myself now? What is true and lasting?
The answers can be condensed into a few words: essence, God-stuff, consciousness, heart… Then, as so many have done, we can expand this feeling, this knowing, into volumes to try to understand and help others understand.
I sincerely hope to be blessed with enough time to write my journey, to inspire others through lecturing and teaching. But since you are reading this letter, God has already decided that my time on the planet is over, and He has called me home.
So I reflect on my life. I sift through all the love and heartbreak, the failures and successes, the labels and roles. What of me still remains? The spiritual seeker of course is still present. But the role or label that still rings true is the part of me that I call teacher. That flame burns very strongly inside of me.
If I am attached to anything, I will admit that I am attached to sharing the inspiration that comes to me from my teachers, and their teachers, and their teachers, all the way back to God. I cannot think of anything more fulfilling than to have something uplifting to offer someone in need. For me that translates into being an Ananda Yoga Teacher.
I can never sufficiently express my gratitude to my teachers for inspiring me, training me, sharing with me their passion for truth and God. And in my turn, I have shared that with my students. The flame was ignited in several of them, and they are now teaching, sharing, and growing in the Ananda tradition. And they will inspire others to become teachers.
The ray continues to flow and touch and inspire. There is no end.