“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
— Albert Schweitzer – French-German theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician.
It’s been a while! I am happy to be back in action with teaching and blogging. Here is my offering to you today…
Imagine a dark night. You are with a community of others, families, friends, and strangers, all making a trek on foot toward a beautiful destination that is full of light, peace, abundance and beauty. You start out with lanterns to light your path. As you move forward, you begin to hear sounds around you that are frightening, as you cannot see where they come from. Sometimes you stumble for the same reason. The flames in your lanterns begin to grow weak. Children begin to cry, as the sounds of the night grow into monsters in their young minds. You know that the dangers of the night are real, and you also known that you cannot let the darkness consume you, or else you will not make it to your destination. You decide to play games with the children, to sing, to dance. Soon others join you. As your inner light begins to shine more brightly, you notice that the flames in the lanterns begin to strengthen, as well.
The darkness is ever present, but the more brightly these lights shine, the more expansive this realm of light becomes. Little by little your community develops into a city of jewels twinkling in the night, and then a bright fire offering warmth, energy, light, strength.
In our lives and world, as chaos and darkness can seemingly take over, sometimes we forget the importance of self-care, rest, fun, and celebration. Sometimes we get caught up in the illusion that we don’t have permission to relax, go spend time with loved ones, or do something we really want to do, until the chaos has calmed and the situation has been resolved. We may even feel guilty, or that we are dishonoring the hardship of a situation by choosing to focus on light– thereby selfishly taking attention away from the dire state of this world. In fact, taking time to celebrate is what will enable us to keep us going! It is what will rekindle our flames. Life is NOW. Every moment is precious.
As your light shines more brightly, you will help others to shine, as well. And when all of our light shines, it will become so radiant, so powerful, that we will be able to make it through the Dark Night, together.
This doesn’t mean that we should deny the Darkness, ignore it, downplay it, or pretend that everything is okay when clearly is not. Rather– this is a time to be present in the darkness, a time to acknowledge it, walk through it, feel it, recognize how it is affecting our world and the worlds of others in our midst. As we are present we can take steps to shine more light, to answer the voices we hear crying out for help, to evaluate what our best access points to the Cause are and consider how we can make the most positive impact.
As we take those extremely vital steps toward healing, justice, freedom, equality, and peace, let’s remember that we are able to offer the most to others when we are healthy. Let’s celebrate all along the way! Let’s give ourselves permission to take child’s pose, to do something we really want, to go out with that friend, to take that mini-vacation, to laugh. Let’s celebrate life every day, in the midst of our daily challenges. Let’s tap into peace, joy and light in the midst of the chaos, hard times and darkness.
In your yoga practice, I invite you to tap into your inner flame, your inner light, and to honor Life with every breath. During the asanas, or physical poses, every moment is an opportunity to celebrate. Notice the ability of the breath to help you find peace right here, right now. The breath offers a foundation: When we breathe fully, we can experience greater joy in every pose. Holding the poses can be challenging. Choose joy! I am happy that I am invigorating and strengthening my body! I am happy that I am able to practice this posture. I am happy that this pose offers me the chance to grow. At other moments, we need to modify the poses. I am happy that I have a space where I am reminded and encouraged to listen to my body and my breath. I am happy that I am connecting with myself today. I am happy that I am practicing being a good listener. As we practice celebrating with breath and movement, we are training ourselves to live this way throughout our daily experiences. May we carry this with us through all of the darkness that we encounter along our journeys.
Throughout the rest of your summer, I invite you to be present with the experiences and circumstances that arise. I invite you to connect with your communities and feel with others who are suffering, to listen to the need and examine how your gifts can best be used to help. Meanwhile, remember how medicinal and nourishing laughter, fun, rest and play can be for the Soul, Body and Mind. As the night reaches its darkest moment, may your light shine the most brightly, for we are Radiant Beings.
Come join me in Harlem at my newest teaching venue, Urban Yoga Foundation and let’s celebrate life together!
Thursdays 12:30 – 1:30 – Hatha Yoga Basics
And to my teacher friends/friends with kids: I am working to complete my Children’s Yoga Certification this summer (also through Urban Yoga Foundation) and would LOVE to come work with your kids at school! Please let me know if you are interested.
As always, I am available for private classes and am looking for additional regular teaching venues. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set something up. 😉
Until we meet, here are some tunes to help keep the party going and also remind us how connected we are:
“Celebration” — Kool and the Gang
“504” — Soul Rebels
“Virgo Clown” — Van Morrison
“We Are Here” — Alicia Keys