Going with the Flow (for Betty)

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about transitions, both in yoga and in life, and how sometimes they feel amazing and go really smoothly, and other times they feel like hell. I’ve been thinking even more about transitions over the last week because I’ve had two family members and now a friend and colleague make the transition to the after-life.


My friend was Betty Kalister, a fellow yoga teacher here in Knoxville. Betty was probably the most vibrant woman I have ever met. She had a passion for life and just got excited about EVERYTHING.

She was oozing with love, and everyone who met her felt it.

I got together last night with a group of Betty’s yoga friends for a spiritual gathering to help her soul transition. We talked about how we thought she would have been very calm and at peace knowing what was happening, as her plane was about to crash. We knew that she would have been praying for those on the ground below her to remain safe. That was her way, always thinking of others.

But for those of us left here, how do we make the transition to a life without her? I would definitely file this under one of those transitions that feels like hell. But as hard as it is, death is part of the flow of life, and we are all just along for the ride, however short or long that ride may be.

In our physical yoga practice, we even use corpse pose as a way to symbolically “die” to the old and then awaken to the new. But when a person is no longer with us physically, loved ones have a harder time accepting that it is just another transition: an awakening to something new.


I ran across this poem by Henry Scott-Holland that so beautifully and meaningfully expresses death as a transition. While I can’t read it yet without crying, it does give me comfort. I know that my sweet friend Betty is still with us, and will always be.

“Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”