When my sisters and I were little, my mother’s brother was the coolest uncle in all the land. Though it was years before I was born, when I think of him, I can still hear my eldest sister’s voice from a home video from the late 70s repeating “Uncle Freddie! Uncle Freddie!” nonstop. And to me, that’s how we all felt about him. We always wanted his attention, and he oftentimes gave it without a second thought.

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He passed away in 1995, when I was 8 years old. It was a devastating loss for the entire family.

Prior to his death, beyond just being the uncle who would give us piggy-back rides and play with us in the backyard, he was really into yoga. I didn’t appreciate this when I was young and he was alive.

I remember one day– though there were probably  many– when he was practicing, and didn’t mind me being there. I sat quietly enjoying the weather on a swing about 20 feet away from my uncle Freddie, who was deep in thought, standing on his head. Years after, I was shown a picture of that day, and that headstand was perfect.

During my second yoga class, I was asked to attempt a headstand. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. Mostly because I didn’t have faith in myself to lift my trunk in the air. That thought encouraged me to channel the strength and tranquility of my uncle and put it into use in my practice.

After many attempts against a wall, I was eventually able to move to the front of the couch, just incase I fell. Today, I am extremely proud to say that I believe that I have a headstand that would make my dear uncle Freddie proud.

Don’t ever give up because you’re afraid to fall.

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