A Lesson in Mindfulness

The Blog I Didn’t Write By Mary Kathryn Jablonski

Like so many in our beautiful small town, I knew Mana Behan for over 20 years. She made me feel special. She made me feel chosen, and at the same time empowered. But this is not my story; this is the story of hundreds who knew her. This was her gift to all who knew her. These were the words that echoed across Saratoga: compassionate, maternal, authentic, and real. After Mana died, the Universe began testing me, and I found myself asking, What would Mana do? over and over. What I wanted to say after Mana Behan died, I held in, which she would never have done. So here I am rewriting the blog about Mana’s passing on her Birthday.

Mana BehanI met Mana at the Wellness Alliance in the Arcade Building on Broadway and followed her from yoga studio to yoga studio for her Yoga of the Aware Heart. She focused, through yoga, on opening the heart. No small task. Recently, here in the office at One Roof where I work, she’d greet me with a loving touch. She would give me torn scraps of papers that she’d probably used as bookmarks, with quotes on them, some Buddhist, some not. She gave me tea. She gave me suggestions, always in the form of questions: What would it look like if…  

The last time I saw her here in our offices, I was struggling with our website. A glitch would not allow me to upload a new practitioner’s photo. On my third try, refreshing the page, I was becoming more than frustrated. In came elfin Mana. She said, “Maybe this means you should step away from it for awhile,” in language not unlike Yodda’s.

“No!” I fumed, “I’ve got to figure this out!” I shot lasers of hate at the computer screen in hopes of completing the upload. Of course this did not help, and Mana floated out of the room, as I picked up the phone to call our web hosting company.

Fifteen minutes later Mana stood across from me at my desk, bent over deeply, and pounded her palm against the wood like a judge with a gavel. She shouted, “Look at me!” I jumped, and looked up to find myself nose to nose with her, staring at her blue eyes, which suddenly softened into a gentle smile. “Kiss me!” she demanded, and before I knew it she planted one on me and disappeared. I was weak with love. That was the last time I saw her.

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