Roland always says we’re the luckiest people he knows. Liz is more sceptical, more prone to worrying about the future, about money, about whether or not things will work out. Roland is sure things always work out.
On December 1st we took over ownership of a small yoga studio in Kingston, Ontario, 20 minutes from our country home. While the studio has been haven to a vibrant community for the last 9 years, it’s in need of some fresh ideas and major financial reform. We throw ourselves into planning and paperwork and mopping the floors. Liz comes home feeling stressed about all the things we could be doing that we haven’t gotten around to yet. Roland tallies up the things that have been wonderful so far. We hold each other in balance.
On December 15th, Liz is driving along the 401 in her parent’s car. It’s snowing hard and the roads are rutted with slush. On the short stretch of the highway we use to get from downtown Kingston to our country back roads, the car catches in the thick snow and fishtails into the path of an oncoming transport truck. The wheels of the truck smash into the front of the car, and then the back. The silver Nissan Leaf crumples like tinsel on both ends, leaving a miracle of space around the driver’s seat. The car rolls to a halt in the snow bank at the edge of the ditch. Liz steps out into the darkness and announces to the empty road, “I’m ok. We’re ok,” although she doesn’t quite believe it yet.
At the hospital we listen to the quick, even rhythm of our baby’s heart for hours, the monitor spitting out page after page of steady proof of life, before they tell us that it’s safe to go. A neighbour drives us home. A neighbour takes us to pick up a rental car. A neighbour brings us freshly baked scones. The others call or write to let us know we should just say the word if we need anything, anything at all.
Three days later the insurance company seems to be expertly manoeuvring itself out of having to pay a cent and we’re at the local car dealership looking at used cars worth a fraction of the Nissan that nobody can afford to replace. Liz worries about money, abut the future, about whether or not everything will work out. Roland fills the kitchen with the smell of his freshly baked Challah rolls, lights a fire in the woodstove, snuggles up on the couch in the safe cocoon of our living room, says everything is already working out just fine.
Just before Christmas, we pass a billboard in Kingston announcing: “After you die, you will meet God.” How often have we been sold this story? You will be rewarded for puritan behaviour in the afterlife. Or the secular version: work hard and keep your head down and you’ll be rewarded with a cushy retirement. We don’t know what happens when we die, or if we’ll make it to retirement. We do know that god is available here and now. God is alive in the crackle of the woodstove and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree; in the community of yoga students who come to share their practice with us, and in the community of neighbours who hold us in their firm embrace. God is alive in the moment an 18-wheeler hurtles into your field of vision, and the moment you emerge from the wreckage unscathed, with a 6-month old baby well and kicking in your belly. God is everywhere really, if you know how to look.
Liz and Roland's rich teaching is rooted in their own intensive practices—profoundly spiritual, and at the same time playful. They skillfully guide students in discovering and understanding the physical body, creating a potential for mental and energetic transformation. Their teaching is infused with fierce love, joy, and laughter.
©Liz Huntly 2015