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Lions Roar : July 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2009 52 has historically stood for—a system of practices that cultivates all levels of a human being.” Sarah and ty PowerS met when she was working at a res- taurant and he came in for breakfast. that led to a few dates, but, she says, “we were in different psychological spheres. i was eighteen and he was twenty-seven. i was about to move to boulder to go to college, whereas he was an executive at cbS and a classical guitarist who collected wine.” Powers went to boulder as planned. after that, she would occa- sionally clean out her wallet and find the crumpled paper she had with his number on it. but instead of throwing it away, she’d just shove it deeper down into the folds of her wallet. he was interest- ing, she thought. Maybe someday she’d want to phone him again. and that is exactly what she did a year and a half later when she moved back to los angeles so she could transfer to Ucla. little did Powers know that at the exact moment she called, he was on the couch breaking up with the woman he’d been seeing since Powers had left for college. when he picked up the phone and said, “yes, Sarah, i remember you,” his girlfriend jumped up and ran out of the house. later that day, the girlfriend told him she’d had a dream he would end up with a Sarah. “he was rude to me on the phone in deference to her,” Pow- ers says. “he said, ‘oK, what’s your number?’ and, as i rattled it off, i thought, he doesn’t have a pen. he’ll never call back. i was embarrassed for calling.” yet, three weeks later, he did phone. he had memorized the number. they met for lunch, and they’ve been together ever since. “i had a number of years to go in college,” Powers said, “and he was patient with me while i had to say no to social events because i was studying. ty is enthusiastic without needing a reason, just the poignancy of being alive. he’s someone who is very inquisitive. “ty introduced me to opening the curtain and looking past what seems obvious. he had read a lot of metaphysical material. i’d say, how do you know that stuff is true? and he’d say, i don’t but i’m willing to question and discover for myself what’s true. then he’d say, you might want to read this or that, and i’d start to explore. we had such juicy dialogues about the meaning of life.” the couple wed when Powers was twenty-three and her mother was expecting the child of a younger man. “My mom,” quips Pow- ers, “was the forty-seven-year-old, pregnant, unmarried mother-of- the-bride.” as for her father, he didn’t attend the wedding because he didn’t approve of her marrying a black man. about five years after the wedding, father and daughter reconciled their differences, and now have a loving respect for each other from afar. but Powers and her husband don’t see her father or his second wife. in contrast, they frequently spend time with Powers’ mother and her daughter lindsey, who’s in college and just six years old- er than Powers’ own daughter. For a number of years, Powers’ mother was a buddhist. then she found a spiritual teacher from the hindu tradition and has been studying with him for the past twelve years. “She spends most of her time with that practice,” Powers says. “She’s an ascetic older woman now.” after the wedding, Powers began her masters in transpersonal psy- chology. “the program was the synthesis of spiritual development with psychological healing and growth,” she says. “we were exposed to writers from all different traditions, including many who had in- tegrated psychology with eastern practices. i read Jack Kornfield’s and Frances vaughn’s work, and i felt they were so articulate about their own psychology—both the beautiful, insightful sides and the broken aspects. the psychological training they’d had in university gave them language and helped them help other people, but the practices forged the pathways.” on an intellectual level, this is when Powers became cu- rious about buddhist meditation and how it might help her to heal her own psychological wounds. the masters program also exposed Powers to the mind-body connection. required to learn a physical discipline with spiritual roots, she chose yoga because she’d practiced it a few times, using a book her brother had given her. She assumed that, being young and athletic, yoga would come easily. wrong—it was rigorous, both mentally and physi- cally. “i was brought down to my blood, sweat, and tears nature,” Powers says, “and halfway through i decided yoga wasn’t for me.” but shavasana, the motionless “corpse pose” that concludes most yoga sessions, changed her mind. She says that during this “nap time” she experienced an unusual peace, which she pinpointed as an absence of longing. it Powers with her daughter, imani Jade, and husband, Ty.