Before I teach class, I sit, feel the earth, and ask a couple of simple questions…
what is yoga?
how might I serve my community today?
I ask as a way to remember that yoga is everything and everyone. Yoga is about waking up to what is. It is welcoming it all and letting it be. It is realizing our role on this planet and connection to all things. I ask as a way to lean deeper into knowing that part of being human is forgetting our innate connection to this earth and to each other and to our own touch of essence. I ask as a way to open myself to lead from a place of humility and curiosity vs. an all-knowing, dogmatic approach to being and living. I ask because the answers do sometimes vary day to day on what energies could support healing in our communities. And… I ask because I really do believe the presence and conscious practice on our mats is a feeling state of existence that is desperately needed in the world.
Today I was lucky enough to witness a dress rehearsal of Exposed, a performance from Maine Inside Out (Maine Inside Out initiates dialogue, develops leadership, and builds community across boundaries with collaborative original theater, inside and outside correctional facilities. They are committed to dismantling all forms of oppression and building a movement for transformative justice in our communities). The performers stood on stage and shared vulnerability with their truths… their grief, their pain, their suffering. After the performance, they asked for feedback from the audience. I couldn’t help but raise my hand and share with them, as a yoga teacher and studio owner, that what they are offering to the world is yoga. I thanked them for their willingness to be vulnerable, to be seen, to allow their presence on earth to be heard and to reach out for connection. This too is yoga.
I really believe as a culture we have the power to begin to collectively wake up and remember. We are here. All of us. On this earth together. Before witnessing this performance today, I was planning to share with you how I was seated in gratitude and speak of the many seasonal and ceremonial threads offered at this time of the year. I still want to share that, but, now, with a new understanding of what a privilege it is to have the freedom to sit, to reflect, to write. The first line of my intro still rings true… I greet you today seated in so much gratitude… for you, for nature, for the cycles, and for our community. I am so grateful, lucky, and fortunate to have all the things in my life that allow me to be, express, feel, and experience life.
I appreciate the time and space I have to notice the grand gestures offered by mother nature – the trees, vines, roots are feeding us with earthly harvests, the veils between worlds are guiding us to listen closely and reflect on ancient circles of celebration/grieving/gathering, the darkness wrapping her sweet blanket around us to allow for a slow, steady, and calm lean into rest and remembrance. I appreciate the privilege to experience even the simplest of gestures offered this time of year – the smell of chai wafting in the air at Lila East, noticing frost painted on the grass in the front lawn in the early am, and the smell of freshly harvested roots stewing on the stovetop. I am grateful for blankets, sweaters, slow-burning fires, baths, and time in quiet silence.
I am grateful for people sharing vulnerably from their hearts so that we all can see ourselves more clearly. As Micky Jones states in the offering An Invitation to Brave Space, we are all yearning to be heard, seen, and connected. We exist in the real world, we all carry scars and we have all caused wounds. In this space we seek to turn down the volume of the outside world, we amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere, we call each other to more truth and love.
Yoga is everywhere we look and in everything. May we all continue to wake up and see ourselves in each other. Together we are creating Brave Space of living a life of recognition, purpose, and understanding.
So much gratitude for you all being on this journey with me.
An Invitation to Brave Space
by Micky ScottBey Jones
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space” —
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.