As 2020 commenced I was excited and had many commitments for the foreseeable future. I had opportunities to share, and an unexpected, but welcome opportunity to grow. Around March 12, 2020 the coronavirus pandemic took 2020 in its stronghold and turned my 2020 agenda on its head.
I like many, was at first resistant, depressed and facing the challenge of uncertainty, with no grace. 2020 was challenging me to practice yoga in an unexpected way, I couldn’t have guessed it would have lasted this long. I was and still am, being forced to let go of my fears and attachment to outcome. I did not understand what contentment was until now. I practice this principle on and off of my mat, but 2020 has been the ultimate lesson in letting go. Yoga has been my medicine, my remedy to stress, worry, anxiety, and fear.
I have been training with Tina Porter since early September 2019. I had no idea the gifts and expertise I would receive from my participation in the Transcend program, but was sure of my commitment to myself and my growth as an individual and as a guide. Tina Porter Yoga School has been monumental and inspired me to do self work I did not know I needed to do. When Transcend went online as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic I was reluctant, resistant and frustrated to be forced into a new way of learning and practicing. About three weeks into the pandemic I would learn the teacher training I was so deeply committed to would be online and that long days once spent deep in asana, pranayama, dhyana, and dharana; smiling, sharing, praying, laughing, and dancing would be experienced from my living room, headphones in and bound to my home office which is also my living room. I was sad and frustrated and soon recognized just like my teacher there was no end in sight and that we would have to make a new way, and let go of expectation.
In the midst of my frustration I was birthing many new things, I had received a special sort of reset. All of a sudden I had time to be more deeply committed to my personal yoga practice. Practicing yoga daily, sometimes more than once, re established the importance of being a student and practitioner first. I was forced to be with myself, in quiet, joining my favorite teachers online from the small in-home studio space I created. This unique experience brought me closer to my practice, helping me to dive into teachings from yoga gurus. I started to journal, lean into Transcend, start a new format of classes for my own students, work to better establish my brand and begin to draft a deployment plan for my very own online membership.
Fast forward, in the midst of an international pandemic, yet another black life was lost to a senseless act of violence. Police brutality has been running rampant in this country since the police force was established with the intention to police free black slaves after slavery was "abolished." On May 25, 2020 a police officer was filmed resting his knee on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In those 8 minutes and 46 seconds, George Floyd cried, “I can’t breath,” he lost his bladder, his nose bled and about 7 minutes in he became limp and no longer responsive. Witnesses and kind citizens yelled as they watched this man die at the hands of an abusive and evil officer and his counterparts. Most Americans were outraged, the reasonable ones at least; and so a revolution began.
Protests erupted around the United States calling for revolution, defunding the police, unity, equality, CHANGE. I live just two blocks from the capital in Denver, Colorado and day 1-4 of protests completely changed the energy of my neighborhood. Our streets were flooded with the energy and efforts of people calling and fighting for change. There was tear gas, flash bang, choppers, rubber bullets, pepper spray, tears, outrage, prayers, damage, people taking a stance. There were police, and even the national guard. All of this right outside of my home. I wondered what I could do. I felt so incredibly small, and so helpless.
I was not sleeping well, I was sad, I was torn apart by what was happening before my eyes. Why can’t we just look across the table and see a brother or sister? Why can’t we agree to disagree with compassion? On day 3 of protests, my boyfriend and I crossed the street to enter my home and were met by the National Guard. I walked across the street with my hands up looking at guns drawn as my eyes burned and my throat tickled with tear gas, I just wanted to go home. I was shaken. I sat in training the morning after emotionally exhausted and disturbed with no way to navigate my emotions. We chanted and practiced for peace, listened to each other’s sentiments, stories, and experiences. I was unsettled and it was challenging day to practice, but I did. By no means was the world around me healed but I was immediately called to peace so that I could be of service to others, I watched yoga change my disposition.
Yoga is union, to yolk, to come together. As a student and teacher I have been asked to consider how I can be of service. On day 5 of protests, Monday, June 1, 2020 I decided to protest. I have participated in protests before, I went to hear and create new opinions and to see what community leaders were doing to invoke change. This time was different.
Spiritual hygiene is not something I have always taken into consideration. I have been spiritual for many years, but had not quite found what served me best until recently. Transcend has helped me understand and uncover my personal power but I have come to realize, without taking care of my spiritual hygiene I am not able to be of service. I AM A STUDENT FIRST.
On day 5 I was called to be in service to others. I saged my home, I saged myself, I cleansed and cleared to prepare to hold space and to gather with my community. I carried and burnt sage. As I listened to black voices share their stories, share their art, and call to the community for change, I prayed. I prayed for protection, I prayed for compassion. I prayed that the space we occupied and spaces near and far would be cleared of negative energy, I prayed we could see each other’s hearts and and find understanding, I prayed for the threads around the hearts of those near and far to be softened, I prayed for the smoke covering me and those around me to lift our prayers, for all of us to be seen and heard. There were moments I felt weak and small, and in those moments I was healed by the affirmation, I AM ENOUGH.
I share this story as testimony and inspiration. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
You are powerful. Your thoughts create your reality. You must carve out your own space for peace and healing. Inside of that space is where you will find your power and specificity. When you are specific you are emboldened. Do not say you prayers in vain, but instead say them with volition.
Your self-care is self-empowerment. One the days you don’t feel like it, show up and show out, those days can be draining or transformative. Come up with your deployment plan for self-care. You have time, you can find resources, and your life WILL change.