we embrace our importance, we are living our connection with others and the
world around us. In this state, we can change the world. Just a kind
gesture or a generous word can change another’s day. Stopping to pay
attention to what another person may need right now in her life and helping
when appropriate can change that person’s life. Connection is that process
of knowing our importance to the Whole, as well as comprehending that others
share this importance with us. When we do so, we are less likely to hate
or fear. We can rest, secure in the knowledge that we are all eternal
threads in the grand design.” Judith Lasater, Living Your Yoga.
For the past few years I’ve started the new year with a word as a through-line for the year (the actor in me will never die :-) ). Last year it was self-care, and this year it is COMMUNITY. As I lie awake in bed the other day, somewhere between sleep and meditation, I was reminded of how much I love being in community with people – especially my yoga and Reiki communities here in Northampton, NYC, and beyond. Back in 2008, I dedicated my summer newsletter, this is bliss, to the topic of community. When I came across this quote (see above) again, the importance of connecting with others and the realization of just how easy it is to disconnect and be in our own bubbles resonated deeply with me.
I know for me, it’s so much easier to stay in the safety of my own little bubble. In fact, my initial instinct in most situations is to hide and be quiet – to observe from the edges - to stay where it is safe. In the end however, my desire to be in community and my knowledge of the importance of being an active participant in life outweigh my need to stay safe, and so I work to break that bubble and begin to make connections and become a part of community.
It was this concept of community that brought me back to yoga in the mid-90s; I wanted so much to find a movement-based practice that was not about performing or proving myself, but rather about being with a non-judgmental, non-competitive, accepting community of people. And it was this feeling of community that led me to create Yoga Bliss in Harlem back in 2004. And now I find myself, once again, filled with a need to create a deeper connection and community in Northampton. While I’m not sure exactly what shape it will take, I do know that in my classes at the various places I teach, we’ve begun to create that community. We come together morning and night to breathe, move, chant, and meditate; to bring our attention back to what is important – to what is now – and refine our awareness so we can live and act with more mindfulness, grace, and authenticity; to shift our energies and bring ourselves back to a place where we feel like we can safely open our hearts and let each other in. As I’ve said many times, I’m so grateful to each of you who shows up to classes and workshops, who reads these blogs and offers your thoughts, feedback and questions…without you it would just be me with these ideas in my head and no one to explore them with. So thank you, to all of you, for being so willing to create our yoga and Reiki communities with me.
Here’s a simple practice we’ve been exploring in my classes this past week – maybe you’d like to try it too!
The next time you are in a class, introduce yourself or simply say hi to the person on the mat next to you.
If you don’t go to yoga class, or participate in other types of classes, simply smile or say “Good morning” to someone you pass on the street!
With this simple act – and I know it can be scary – you start to pop little holes in the bubbles that keep us disconnected, and you allow yourself and those around you to see and feel the truth – that we are all linked as a community of living beings inhabiting this earth, trying to create happy, fulfilling, truthful, compassionate lives.
Peace, Love, and Bliss,
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