Moving On

13 Jan

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I have started the year with a group of students from Columbia College Chicago. At the Headlands Center for the Arts, they are exploring the earth, their connection to it, the maps we create and the ones that are written in and on our bodies. As their yoga guide, I am encouraging them to uncover their deep valley and river bottoms, to unearth the parts of themselves that they are ready to get rid of and to put down the burdens that make their travel too heavy.

As my own new years unfolds, I am examining similar themes. I am finding that it is sometimes much easier to carry the burden with you, even if it’s heavy as hell, cumbersome or something that you’ve outgrown. It sometimes seems easier to continue to carry it all rather than figure out how to leave it and let go. I share the tears of my students as I am leaving behind the parts of me that I have identified with for so long. For me its those parts that give me weight with others-the titles and the organizations. The things that tell the outside world, I am worthy in it. My 20 years on my  students doesn’t make leaving the past behind any easier. In some ways, I think it may be harder…20 additional years of habit, 20 additional years of brain grooves reinforcing my survival as intimately linked to all the things that no longer serve me.

So then, what do I identify with in the mean time? What am I suggesting that my students pick up as they lay down the things that are not supporting their growth? I am suggesting space, trial and error, and creativity. As a society we are up against some major shifts in our social fabric, we are examining  race inequity, transphobia and misogyny in a different way, holding one another accountable and demanding action. What we need as a society has shifted so intensely that sometimes I have trouble seeing a day or two in front of me, let alone projecting one or two years into the future. The one thing I know today is the same thing that I have know since I was a child, yet the depth of it often eludes me; Love is the one thing worth identifying with, and that you can find love by following excitement in your spirit.

If you are buoyed by chanting in the streets, you are showing love. If you find solace in caring for your family, friends or students, you are showing love. If you sit at the feet of your deity and open your heart to the cosmos, you are showing love. You are demonstrating love each and every time you remember and act upon what is just. You are showing love with every heavy burden you put down and every smile that you gift to someone.  I have embarked on a list of 100 things to do in 2016. Those things are as mundane as getting my house painted and as exciting as solo-international camping. Each one of those things gives me space to grow, is done out of love, and excites my spirit.

What excites your spirit?

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