I found it endearing and humorous how Suzie handled the normal problems of life. She was frugal but as professionals neither she nor her husband had time (or skill) to manage car repair, yard work and other tasks. Sometimes, I drove her and Sara to the Volvo mechanics in National City to do the most rudimentary work, such as an oil change, air filter replacement, threading a special buckle through the safety belt for the baby seat. The mechanics saw her coming- a rich, short Jewish white lady, and it seemed to me that their hourly rate would increase with every minor request, "Could you tighten the screw on the door handle and fill the tires to the correct amount of air pressure?"
When they were finished, Suzie would look at the man and discuss the bill in the most level headed manner. She did not lose her temper when the bill reflected that she had just paid the full labor rate for those minor tasks. She would go over all of the charges and see if there was any way the bill could be adjusted. I would try to keep my face blank so as to not reveal my surprise when they charged her for those simple tasks; innocently, I asked why her husband didn't do that work himself and I mentioned that I knew how to do some of those tasks-I could help her. But she explained that safety was important and it was better to be sure that the work was done by a specialist. She said her husband was busy with his patients and she was responsible for the household management, which included the car maintenance. Suzie had a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies but she embraced her role as a mother. She ask me,"Is there a greater honor than to be a mother?" I loved Suzie but I was sure that we didn't swim in the same stream. Appreciatively, I would learn everything I could from her and some things I just had to let slide off me.
As a wedding gift, she gave me The Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in which he explains how the subtle levels influence the body, mind and community and which lays out how meditation influences this layer of energetic manifestation. I routinely practiced the technique while incorporating hatha yoga, walking and running to my weekly routine. By being in close proximity with a regular meditator, I learned to let go of my judgment of others and accept difference in perspective. I saw how Suzie's husband maintained his Jewish faith, meditated and worked long hours. He doggedly struggled with Mexican patients who would not follow his directions (particularly with antibiotic prescriptions) and they would return again and again with further complications. I noticed the families frugal daily lifestyle that focused on quality, longevity, and health by their little decisions such as buying pure un-embellished cotton clothing for baby Sara. Suzie, too, dressed comfortably and simply. Unconcerned with impression making, they covered their couches with mismatched but frequently changed sheets. Through an arrangement with the Coronado Hospital they were able to live rent free. They would accommodate Suzie's typical Jewish mother who often came to visit for a month at a time. She provided occasional and unwelcome but expected commentary on their lifestyle, though she, too, was a practicing meditator. I would hear Suzie tell her Mom, "Go outside, rest on a chair and meditate until you feel better." Her mother would look at me and say, "Do you think this TM works?" I appreciate Suzie for her insight, quirkiness and introduction to a more peaceful lifestyle. Thank you for setting me on the yogic path and introducing me to meditation.