It often happens that source inspires my intentions for my classes. It also often happens that the intentions that source inspires coincide with the situations of my life. This past week was no different. Thank Spirit! (Those are my feet in the mirror in that picture above. A last picture of closing up physical space at Mind Body Soul Yoga studio.)
I never would have imagined creating this email.
I never could have imagined losing all of the physical spaces that I teach in due to a virus. The last two literally closed there doors yesterday.
I never could have imagined that one day I would be sitting at home and contemplating “where will I teach yoga in person next”?
I never could have imagined that one day I would be saying to myself that my retreats are the only places in which I’ll be teaching yoga in person anytime soon. *Sign up for October Retreat HERE!*
I never could have imagined practicing my Thai massage and needing to wear masks. But, it’s possible and not so bad. It’s actually, still wonderful as ever, and the healing power of touch is necessary!
And yet, these are the things that have shaken my world. These are the things that have shaken our world as a collective; places closing, people physical distancing, wearing masks and more.
Sometimes it’s nature that shakes us; that shakes things up for us to challenge us so we may grow, be our best Self, see the possibilities, transform, transmute, all these incredible things.
I’m slowly starting to make, feel, and embody this conscious shift of how I am perceiving this moment in my life. How are you doing, dear reader?
Sometimes it feels as if my heart is in a struggle to get my head on board to see the Light in all of this. Sometimes it’s radically successful, and I get overwhelmed with all the excitement of possibility! And, at other times, there’s a discourse between my heart and my head that reminds me of a proverb I will paraphrase, “worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but you’re never going to get anywhere”.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost my physical home of Birchwood Center for Yoga and Massage in Nyack, New York. Then came the Inwood, NY, location of Bread and Yoga, where I taught weekly since the opening of its doors over 11 years ago. And, most recently, just this past week, the physical space of Mind Body Soul Yoga closed its doors in Washington Heights, NYC.
My biggest fear is that I will never see my friends and students again in person. I know this fear has no real ground, but I honor this fear and in recognizing it, it inspires me to act in other ways to make connections. Of course, I will continue to live stream classes for bread and yoga and mind body soul yoga, as well as offer workshops thru other studios. And, who knows what will happen down the line. I’m already doing workshops and running other Healing Circle and Satsang online programs that I could never have imagined had it not been for the pandemic! *Stay tuned for all those details!!
But, for now, I am inspired by the Autumn equinox. I don’t feel that at any other time in my life I’ve experienced this season of nature so consciously.
The Autumn equinox brings with it a twofold way of being. It inspires a shedding, and a letting go of what is not working in our lives. And simultaneously, it inspires us to gather in gratitude the seeing of all of who we are and what we have; the harvest, if you will.
It is a time that is often represented in many cultures by the ‘Dark Mother’. In my classes this past week, we embodied and invoked the energy in essence of Kali. With the Kali mudra and the Kali mantra , “Om Krim Kalikayei Namaha”, to inspire us to sever ties with what needs to leave from our lives, while embracing what I began to call the “gratitude harvest”.
Kali is depicted with a blood red tongue and sharp teeth, a necklace made of severed heads and a belt made of human arms. And even though she looks fierce and ferocious, even deadly and evil, what she possesses, we all possess…which is the ability for destruction AND deep love. She is mother to us all; she represents what we all already have within us, those qualities of nurturing and deeply loving ways. And this is how the gentleness that this season and these actions of letting go can be viewed. Just like the gradual falling of leaves from the trees, this season invites us to be gentle in the letting goes. Instead of being harsh and severing ties suddenly, or cutting and thrashing things out, we can be gentle with ourselves, and to be gentle in offering space and time.
Kala is a root Sanskrit term that is a root word for Kali’s name. Kala means time. Kali, as well as the cycles of nature, and as well as the cycles of our lives, reminds us that change is unending and continuous.
“May I embrace change with grace, gentleness, and courage.”
Sometimes change happens and it shakes us, and then there are other times when we create the change. As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see”. So, sometimes we can wield our own daggers and cut the ties with things that are holding us back. Be it a relationship, a job, an old belief, an old way of thinking, or even clearing our physical space and donating physical items. And, when change wields it’s sword at our lives, things naturally will be taken away. But trust that as the clearing happens, space is being made.
There, in that space, is freedom.
In that space, we can rest. This season of fall invites us not to rush to fill the spaces and to fill our lives with more, but to rather allow for more rest. And to invite us to practice that “gratitude harvest”; to remember all that we have and all of who we are, and to settle in so that we can listen deeply to what might be emerging with us.
Fall is the time of preparation and conservation of energy. When we become still and quiet, we create even more space. And in that space the deep listening can take place. What is really going on within your heart? What have you really been feeling lately? What do you really want to be doing?
Is there something you know you need to take out? Something you need to get rid of? Something you know you must end? What’s the fear?
Is there something you’re excited about? Looking forward to? Something you are ready to take an actionable step towards? If so, what’s stopping you from doing it now? I love how this season invites us for more rest, and in that space we still have the choice. We can just enjoy the spaciousness, or if we do see something in which we can take action towards, that we can still move forward. And as this season reminds us, this is not a finality of an ending, it’s just some time of transition that will lead to the next cycle of life.
And so, with that, I am transitioning. I will be continuing online streaming classes and offering all that I have to offer. Some things will look different and feel different, but the constant of what I offer is grounded in my mission and my Light of my service. I’m totally grateful and humbled by what this pandemic has brought me personally. All of the people that it’s brought into my life, the opportunities, the offerings that I’ve been able to make throughout this time of “separation” and being able to stay very much connected.
And to all of you, dear readers, friends, family, students, co-conspirators for the Light, magic makers, healers, mothers, fathers, parents, children, sisters and brothers, and fellow human beings, THANK YOU!
UBUNTU!: “I am because you are” / “I am a person because of you”.
And Thank you, Betsy and Charlene of Birchwood, Marcela of Bread and Yoga, and Alyssa of Mind Body Soul Yoga. You courageous and loving leaders shaped my life drastically in immensely positive ways, and you all continue to do so. I am indebted to each of you.
And to all of the fellow teachers at all of these centers, I am indebted to you. You continue to be important parts of my ‘village’.
And to everyone who keeps showing up to my classes time and time again, whether on the weekly basis, or the “whenever you can days”, I am indebted! Without you there would be no me(ubuntu). I’m so deeply honored that you choose to practice with me.
My intention in the immediate future is to keep showing up for you.
We will practice in person again! Believe that!
Breathe and Believe.