I am blessed to have joined a splendid bouquet of wildflowers. And unexpectedly so. The journey for learning a craft I adore became an emotional journey of learning far beyond the mat. As such, wildflowers of all wonders, whimsy and open hearts embraced a me that is evolving and blossoming in its own right.
you, my sweet sukha sangha, are…..
- wildflowers who are now my sisters.
- wildflowers who accepted (and without judgment) my “stuff”, and in return shared your own pieces of broken
- wildflowers who are now trusted ‘heart and souls’ – and demonstrated this purity visually while in silence through a human art landscape of supportive touch, love and steady sweetness.
- wildflowers who were and are now shoulders for tears and hugs for moments of success
- wildflowers who experienced very real altered states of being at my side; thus, strengthening our individual paths and containers of being… to be stronger friends, parents, children, lovers, students and teachers
You are my newfound pasture of splendid wildflowers. And I thank you for gifting me your kindness and inspiration.
Four weeks living in like-minded community is a lot like kid camp. Sneaking downstairs in our PJs (without shoes, yes, breaking more rules) to get milk for cookies before bed. Sharing walks in the deep snow on breaks or the dark labyrinth of the evening cold. Selfies anywhere and everywhere, even as we quizzed flashcards of Sanskrit in a hip Hartford bar just before entering the bubble and world of no alcohol, clean eating and little-to-no caffeine. Studying and stressing (or not) in pairs, teams and 1:1 very late and very early to graduate without “the note”. Laughing, laughing and laughing- during practice, during breath-work, during meditation (snoring does occur), and of course, during silent meals. Breaking more rules with the massage tables / secret Reiki sessions. And of course….talk about boys and boys and boys. That’s camp at its best, except there wasn’t a cool kid group or the ‘mean girls’ to shut anyone out. Every wildflower is accepted.
We opened our heart to new experiences (tongue scrapers and neti pots for nasal irrigation) and new foods (squasharoni, the kitchari cleanse, lima bean soup, chai, chai and more chai….and again with the kale). We learned over four weeks of long days that stillness is a gift but not ideal when we are told NOT to talk. We did laundry as New England took the Superbowl. We cried, cleansed, Om’d and rocked some serious postures to depths that screamed, “I want more” or “I hate this”. (Next time, I choose a side plank series over a 20-minute bridge. That, I can rock!)
Years ago, a spiritual and wonderful friend told me, “nothing happens by accident, Melissa.” He was right.*
- One lovely wildflower said, “you don’t have to be good. You just have to love what you love”.
- The lovely Marina whose first language isn’t English and now “loves Americans” because of the sangha
- James the Bold. Enough said.
- Audrey, a beautiful South American flower, who gushes love, language and hugs, and told us “grandma would shower us with roses” (and personally, the only wonderfully sentimental doll, who could use the word “climax” in a practice teach and make it sing!)
- Dietlind, I thank you for sharing that you too now see you hadn’t been taking full, healthy breaths for far too long before this experience. We both walk away knowing stillness can be ours again.
- The youthful (not just in age), energetic group of women who ran at lunch, played in the snow, planned a polar bear plunge, played fire starter, sung Dixie Chics without a trial run, showed their bad ass dance selves and engaged in friendship and love regardless of age or background. Cheers to being so brave and opening, as your paths begin and dharma unveils.
- Justin and Rob, two of the most authentic and loving men I’ve known. Neither afraid to be just who they are and accept and give love to all. Wit, intelligence, love for the Earth and Karmic yoga and substance. I am honored to learn from both of you. We love you “like the sun loves the moon” too.
- To Sohini, the smart, authentic ayurvedic expert who smiled and concurrently screamed Jai on the way home when her car was pulled over, and there we were. You make me want to be healthier, learn the peruvian wind chimes and spray rose water 24/7 to have your youthful skin.
- The woman of wisdom who from ages 35-70 fell into my category of “about our age”….shared chicken dinners and gluten free treats in a private suite after scoldings for talking, kicked some major ass in tough asana, loved on the young teachers as their own children, could read hearts in silence with just a look, and eloquently offered wisdom with love, laughter and tears of their own.
- Heather, Lindsey and Kyle, your growth from beginning to end was powerful and rich to watch. And the bravery it takes to share with the full sangha is enviable to all of us a little broken. And all three of you are bad ass yoga teachers!
- To the love doctor, Tam, who wears a purposeful Wednesday pink for breast health awareness and gave me permission to trash all L. Hay books blaming me for my own cancer, thank you for understanding the high achieving family, and please know I’m thrilled for your husband’s love of your newfound porn-star teacher voice (I do what I can).
- To our sweet Shari, do not ever grow up. Your baby girl will be proud of her strong mama for owning her own path. She trumps all.
- Bridget, the young,strong, feminist, who I instantly adored for her intellect, depth of activism and beautifully clear path of where she can make a difference in this world. Today, she lands in Santiago to begin living Gandi’s words, “Be the change…” when the words she left with us were, “Everything you do may be insignificant, but do it anyway”. I found myself with this motherly instinct and want to mentor this wonderfully, gifted woman with a big future.
- To Doug and Colleen, who offered me strength, a shoulder, kindness, resources for my over-the-top reader addiction and reminders to love myself. And who didn’t showcase their impressive professional lives while in community. You are simply deep, down goodness and heart.
- To the ‘outgoing, introvert’ and former Navy pilot, Sheldon, who stayed true to his room/mat placement, engaged with few but reminded me I can open my heart again, I am much more than what I do professionally, and to not only look back on my “puddle of was” with respect, but to also give myself a break for that which I can’t control.
- To my new sister, Sudha, whom I met in December as a roommate but quickly became my best friend. We appeared polar opposites in every way, and I am so incredibly touched what I learned from you in our days of silliness and rule-breaking. You never stopped laughing and loving me. And boy, could I use some more yoga with you at my side.
The transformation junkie, the energetic and compassionate zumba teacher, the ‘loves to hug’ skier who eaves dropped via sign language skills in the whirlpool, the lovely flower whose parents think she joined Hare Krishna, to more than just one teacher who learned not “to feed the bad wolf”, to all of us who can now LinkedIn we speak a second language of Sanskrit, and to my corporate peer, Adele, the rockin’ cool attorney who co-lectured with me, and somehow found a way to use “conclusively” and “dude” in the same sentence.
A field of wildflowers brings together difference and same in one lovely image. You, my sweet and steady sangha, are a breathtaking image of meditation in motion, bravery and sweetness. Ong Namo. **
Om Shanti and Jai,
* Over 12 years ago, I fell in love with Sukha yoga center and my hero, Sarah, ignited a passion for stillness. June of 2012, I blog posted a Dana Faulds, poem, Sangha. And last week, the “Super Sukha Sangha” class graduated as Kripalu Yoga Teachers. Nothing happens by accident. Jai.
Snatam Kaur/ ‘Ong Namo’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1XCS0g6J4A