The Nonna Vortex, The Heart of Jesus and a Tum

They say you teach what you need to learn. The school in which I found myself last week was just a teeny microcosm of life, yet it spoke volumes. I lead a Thursday morning yoga class during which we meditated on the storms of life and how, if we stay connected with the center of our beings, where a pool of continuous stillness abides, we can navigate those storms from that core of peace. We read the story of the storm at sea from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is snoring peacefully on a cushion in the bow of the boat while the disciples frantically row and bail water over the side, only to be drenched by wave upon wave. The terrified crew awakens Jesus, accusing Him of not caring if they all perish. Imagine Him opening one bleary eye, gleaning the desperation of the disciples and in a very casual but firm response, commanding the wind and waves. “Peace! Be Still!” And the storm ceases. Maybe he indulges in a scratch of His head…maybe he cups some sea water into His hands to splash the sleep from His eyes. He lovingly asks, “Are you still without faith?” The disciples are once again dumbfounded by the ability of Jesus to exercise His authority over nature. In this passage we can see the presence of Jesus as symbolic of that place within that remains steady in the face of trials. After class, still floating in this sea of tranquility, I was longing to see my two- year- old grandson who lives near the studio. Thus was set into motion what I have since fondly referenced as “The Nonna Vortex”. It was a swirling of events that changed the entire course of my day. Nothing harrowing, just the unexpected stuff of life. Here is the Nonna Vortex timeline…

11:00 am…My thought: I want to see my grandson. I will get lunch for my daughter, the baby and myself. (All other thoughts vacate my brain…laser focused)

Texted my daughter…decided on a smoothie. 

Could not find smoothie shop, nor could I reach daughter by phone.

Went to daughter’s house…said hello to grandson in swing, took order and returned to where I had just been but somehow did not see the smoothie shop.

Smoothie shop understaffed…long wait for smoothies and wraps.

Received smoothies…exited shop… extremely excited about ensuing lunch with grandson.


Placed smoothies in cup holder in the car…lid pops off one smoothie, which falls onto the floor and spills…NEON GREEN avocado, kale…ugh.

I grab phone and purse, jump out to retrieve wraps…LOCK KEYS IN CAR.

Daughter packs 2- year -old in her car to fetch me.

Other grandmother calls her and is nearby so she will fetch me.

Other grandmother held up…Confused grandson packed into car second time to come get me. 

Other grandmother is now on the way. Daughter and grandson stay home.

I am rescued. 

In addition…and this is the CLINCHER… the Nonna Vortex had sucked out of my awareness the memory that I had a spiritual direction client scheduled for 1pm. 

Gracious and merciful client calls from my driveway. We agree to reschedule.

1:30 pm… finally eating lunch with my daughter. Grandson is ASLEEP.

The GOOD NEWS…The lovely and grossly overworked crew at the smoothie shop replaced my smoothies, now festering in my 100-degree locked car, for FREE.

2pm… Husband arrives with spare car key.

And where was Jesus? 

As always, He was holding steady, in the center of the Nonna Vortex, with His ever- gentle reminder, “All is well, Nonna. Peace. Be still.”

And, several deep breaths and a Tum later, it was.