I opened the leather console abutting my driver’s seat and spied a lime green pouch I’d forgotten. I knew what was in there. I zipped it open and somberly withdrew three keys, each haphazardly labeled with the door it opened. One for Centered—closed, another for Epic—-closed, a third for Clara—?. Sigh. Evidence again. Everyday there is change. The new normal is that there is no normal.
Studios in Sacramento where I used to teach have forever closed their doors. Each key in my hand represented an incredible bucket of love and energy and soul. Centered and Epic closed in the same week, their owners so beloved by me, dismantling everything they had painstakingly built. Goodbye also to Yoga Solution where I taught every single Monday morning for six years. Goodbye to Yoga Seed where I helped usher in countless new teachers through their training program. The third key is to Clara, hoping against hope it can survive, yearning to grace that floor again. Really feeling grief today around all this pervasive and overwhelming local loss.
In that puddle of loss, hoping to be lifted by Wide Open Walls, the local annual mural project, I meandered through downtown Sacramento. Instead of a boost, I walked weeping on J Street surrounded by boarded up windows, litter and ash, the burgeoning homeless population. More grief about how much we have lost in our hometown, utter sense of what I have taken for granted for nearly fifty years.
In the midst of this very personal, myopic erosion, I feel us on the national scale, ailing with deep and pervasive wounds, gaping in the light of this pandemic. From here, it takes only a moment to go global—7.8 billion of us, each with our own painful response to the massive changes happening on our planet. I sat up in my studio with these changes, these symbolic keys that no longer open doors resting in my warm palm. I tweaked the “fear of change and courage” altar from last week by carefully laying those keys with the rocks—pictured above. I pulled out that Osho card deck again and asked, “What does it mean that all the spaces we moved in have vanished?”
I was stunned but not surprised to pull the Completion card:
“…In the finishing, we can either be in despair because we don’t want the situation to come to an end, or we can be grateful and accepting of the fact that life is full of endings and new beginnings…Use this interval to celebrate both—the end of the old and the coming of the new.”
Deftly shuffled in to all this change is completion, ending, conclusion. Along with much that will begin, be initiated, arise. And then there is this interval, time for us to be aware of both, feel the undercurrent of celebration even as we grieve. Me? I need dedicated moments to let all this in. Otherwise the seductive distraction that can fill my days creates a barrier of numbness to this truth.
A fellow 5Rhythms teacher reminded me of a forgotten moment. Gabrielle had us gathered thirteen years ago in training, the field quiet, enraptured as it became at times. She took a long pause and looked out seemingly at each and every one of us in that uncanny way she had. “You’ll each have your moment when you realize that teaching is your salvation.” I have felt that in different times. This is definitely one of them.
On the mat, I’m leaning us into the yamas and niyamas, yoga’s ethical guidelines: last week non-violence, this week truth-telling—courage boosters bringing us together in practice. Let’s dedicate some mat moments this week Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Some of those moments available Wednesday night—flesh out the heart: closed, open, half, whole, clear, doubtful, weak, strong. Sweat some prayers Sunday morning. I don’t know. Maybe some of these dedicated moments will feel like your salvation as well.