Tribe of compassion,
I am a rip the bandaid off kind of person. Give me the 'bad news' first girl. Delayed gratification over immediate lifestyle. So that is why today's newsletter will open with the 'rain' (the hard stuff) and end with the 'rainbow' (good stuff).
There is much fear, conflicting information, and unknown, as we continue to travel though quickly changing times in our modern history. How we respond or react comes from our willingness to stay open, be radically honest and act with ahimsa (nonviolence).
What does that mean?
Take regular breaks as needed but please let us not bury our heads in the sand (or in our navel). to Try to stay current and clear to what is true for us & in our world. Not just what we 'want' or 'prefer' to be true. Because we don't look at something doesn't mean it's gone or okay; whether it be COVID-19, racism, mental & physical health, job/relationship/family/parenting status... We must keep looking, continue to have difficult conversations, take positive action and ground it all in ahimsa.
1. COVID-19. Yes, it is still a thing. It's not fear based; it's a virus. As much as we want it not to be, it is. AND it is currently growing.
Michigan has done a great job and it is my hope the numbers stay low. With travel opening back up and people going about their lives, exposure is much higher. The risk may not be yours but it could be your loved ones. Healthy people are often asymptomatic carriers. That is why being responsible, masking, & physical distancing, is crucial. It is our responsibility to keep others healthy too and not bring harm upon them. Even practicing yoga or going to church, all things good for the soul, can be risky business. That is why FSC isn't open yet and we still are not meeting on Wednesday nights.
Here are two articles for you to read that are eye openers.
North Texas Family- 18 test positive after family birthday party
Bali yoga retreat angers many after lying about mass gathering of chanting foreigners
2. Racism - It's still alive and well too. Horribly, tragically and unbelievably so. It is our responsibility to clean our own doorstep first. If you haven't yet, please take the time to review anti-racism resources that we shared, and consider how you are showing up to fight racism.
Embody's path to activism is: awareness, education, action. Specifically in that order. It's a spectrum. Not all of us have the privilege of just becoming aware of racism. Many have had to live that reality since birth simply because of the color of their skin.
3. Homophobia - While we celebrate Pride month, we need to remember that not everyone feels safe to live in their authentic truth. Basic rights like healthcare are at risk for our trans brothers and sisters.
The bright side to all of this is that we can make a difference. We can make choices that impact these things around us. We can shine a light through the rain and make a rainbow.
We can protect the health of ourselves and others. Your views are yours. Your choices are yours. Yet all your actions have impact. I implore you to dig deep and know what is right for you to live in a way of nonviolence. The famous phrase, "Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins" applies here. Spend time wrestling with that quote as we still live in an active covid world.
We can continue to wake up. Let us continue to wake up, do the work and take the action. And again, keeping ahimsa as a focus though this one is often more grey in nature. (We could spend lots of time here but that is for another day.) For BIPOC reading this - the whole Embody community supports you and embraces you!
We can support others, even when their struggle is not ours. Stay vigilant. It's difficult when we cannot meet in person to practice yoga and mindfulness together using our bodies, minds, and hearts to heal and transform. The onus is on us to make healthy daily choices when it's easier to choose what is convenient and soothing. Keep on your practices. Use your tools. If you forget, reach out to me, to a friend who also shares your values.
We can continue to gather in spirit. Go to our facebook page and practice along with videos. Keep checking in on your physical/mental/emotional health AND keep reaching out. Many of us feel isolated; I know I do. So we must stay connected in all the ways available to us, staying safe and minimizing harm to self & others.
We can look for the light around us. Compassionate, intelligent leadership is being exhibited by many on the SCOTUS which is heartening.The ruling on DACA defends people's rights to stay in the country safely without threat of deportation. Plus a landmark civil rights law passed that protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. These are long-sought strides for equality.
Celebrations: Summer Solstice, Father's Day, International Yoga Day, and International Surf Day this past weekend.
Finally, so much to celebrate. As I reflect over all of these rainbows, I notice they all have one thing in common for me: Love & Patience. Love the rainbow, patience with the rain.
To LOVE long summer days of warmth and sunshine, we must withstand winter.
To LOVE fathers/fathering figures, we must exhibit patience in relationships.
To LOVE yoga, patience is inherent with the totality of our being; body, mind, heart.
To LOVE surfing is to regularly wrestle with waiting; for the right wave, to get up or get thrashed. Surfing demands we patiently practice for the day where we experience the joy of riding the wave! Get the rain repeatedly before you hang 10.
Be a Light Bearer
Be honest with yourself. Take care of YOU. Only then can you do good in your family, community and world. But let us not get too lost in our own 'self-care' for that can become indulgent and a route of escape from reality.
People are our greatest blessing and also our greatest opportunity for growth. Especially the ones closest to us; especially when many of us do not get a break from our day to day environments. Stress can run high and patience low. During these days, it was one of my first teachings in yoga teacher training to not make huge life decisions during highly emotive times. If you need to, give yourself ample time to get grounded, clear and decisive. In the words of Sherif A. El-Mawardy, “Making a decision takes a moment, living a decision takes a life-time.”
Invite grace into your heart as your guide. Grace reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and others. Grace helps us hold the door open for forgiveness and compassion in all our relationships. Grace flows and we can ride her steady, patient current. Grace is the rain and the rainbow.
Love requires patience. No way around it. To experience the rainbows, we gotta withstand life bringing the rain down on us from time to time. Not if the rain will come, but how long the storm will last.
In the end, let us remember to stay open, truthful, and live a life of ahimsa rooted in love and patience, led by grace.
Yours in health, happiness, and community,
Embody Weekly Virtual Practice:
Wednesday, July 1, 3:30PT | 6:30ET on Facebook for a practice with Dana!
What: Grand Rapids Public School Basketball Drive with EmbodyGR and SuperDre Spinning the Tunes!!!
When: July 4, 2020
8:00am- Yoga with EmbodyGR Team Teacher Melissa Vanette
9:00am- Salsa Fitness
10:00am- Interval Training
Where: Monroe North Lot, downtown GR
Why: Our goal is to collect new basketballs for students.
Cost: $25 donation (minimum) or bring a new basketball
Embody LIVE ZOOM Weekly Virtual Practice
with Team Teacher Susanne Werblow
Wednesday, July 29, 2020- Live Watch Party hosted on Embody's Facebook page
3:30PT | 6:30ET
Meeting ID: 852 4579 3203
“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo
“The EmbodyGR community embraces and supports, says ‘yes you can’ when the noisy inner voice says, ‘no you can’t’ – Kari Wilson, Community Member