Today my heart is so full with love and I have a profound sense of community.
I started this very cold Saturday (high of 15 degrees and low of 3 degrees) early at 7:30am. I’m no fan of an early wake-up call, but my husband needed the car and I wanted to make it to my regular saturday morning yoga class. To make it all work, he dropped be off at JeanieBird Baking Company an hour and 15 minutes before my yoga class and headed to his destination.
At JeanieBird’s, the sense of community is so thick you could cut it with a knife! It’s not just that they are a green business. Or that the owner of the business will have lengthy conversations with you (we talked about my purple JOCO cup today) but it’s the people that frequent the bakery who help to give to the atmosphere. There is an overwhelming sense of love, community and goodwill here. The customers and employees have nothing but good vibes to give…. for days. This is my kind of place, this is my tribe! In this bakery, you get real dishes to eat off and NOT A SINGLE PERSON WAS ON THEIR iWHATEVERs! NOT ONE!! Not in the whole bakery for the hour that I was there. I honestly felt awkward having my phone out and charging. I wouldn’t have done that in this sacred space, but I left the house with a dying battery (I never plug the thing in at home- I don’t usually know where it is) and I had to be able to communicate with Greg to meet me. Of course, we made arrangements the way we did pre-smart phone…naming a time and a place. But I charged it anyway….
I LITERARILY can’t remember the last time I was in a room with 40+ people and not a single one of them had their phone out. Everyone was talking to each other and I didn’t over hear a single negative conversation. ZERO gossip. Free coffee refills too! This place is the definition of Community.
Then, I walked one block in the fridgid wind to my yoga studio. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my favorite teachers was filling in. It was a true treat. I think so highly of this teacher and have learned a lot. His classes not only teach me all about proper alignment, which has undoubtedly strengthened my practice, but he also teaches about the energetic and spiritual parts of the practice. Joe teaches what’s important off the mat and what it means to be mindful. He too has amazing, positive energy and its contagious.
Being that it’s January, there were a lot of new faces at the studio; new members with resolutions. One women got called into work just as the class was getting started, she tried to jump up and hurry out, cleaning up all her props. In the hurried chaos her phone fell to the hard floor and popped out of its case. Another woman and I jumped off of our mats to help her, instantly. I reached out for the props so I could put them away and the other woman helped with the phone. This new woman was taken aback by our kindness.
I also got out one too many blocks and as soon as someone came in and put down their mat, I laid the extra block on their mat. I didn’t realize they had gotten up to get their own block. This happened a couple of times….it became a silly moment at the start of the class, with comments about how I couldn’t get rid of the dang block! I’ve been told before that I’m too helpful sometimes. It’s true, but I take it as a compliment. I’ll never change that about myself and I’m not going to apologize for it.
During a full yoga class, you sometimes bump into someone- but all yogis immediately apologize, regardless of who’s at fault and you move to allow for more space. This time however, I clashed hands with a fellow yogi, we both immediately apologized and we both moved….but exactly at the same time and to the same EXACT place on our mats…not fixing the issue at all. Then, we looked at each and erupted into giggles. Yoga studios aren’t just places to get fit…they are communities; People practicing together to create positivity, mindfulness and change in their environments as well as their lives. We empower each other and this loving kindness spills out into our larger community.
Greg picked me up after the class and we went to target. As we were parking a car was backing up in from of us. on the side and behind. Greg said, “I’m stuck in this nexus of cars!” I let out a huge belly laugh. My how the universe is funny (I always laugh at the simplest of things because I see the irony and interconnectedness of all things). It reminded me of the yoga class hand hitting snafu and the way used the word nexus was very funny, to me. On my day of overwhelming feelings of interconnectedness and community, he uses the word Nexus.
Nexus: A means of connection; tie; link. A connected series of group.
I had a family get together for dinner, a late Christmas gathering. After my cell phone experience at the bakery, I decided to leave my phone in the car. What on earth would I need it for when I have so many amazing people to talk to?! It’s weird, I was a voting adult when the iPhone came out and in the decade since that time, I find myself sometimes lost in the digital world. I didn’t grow up with iWhatevers and I know what life is like without them. The only problem is, a lot of us go into the digital word and never come out again.
I was incredibly happy to see everyone at dinner and I got to meet my newest niece for the very first time- she looks exactly like me! She is my mini me. I had a great time playing with her older sister, who is now three years old and her personality is exactly like mine. She decided to become a cat- I must confess, I “mew” quite a bit at home when talking with my own fur babies. If you know me personally, you know that I refer to my students as “friends” and I’m always using the word “friends”. My niece likes to introduce people as her friend, even when they are family. She sat next to me at the dinner table leaning on me and says, “you are are my best friend, we are good friends.” She will introduce people like this; ” This is my friend, Auntie Glenda. This is my friend, Grandpa.” She is the most kind, empathetic and uplifting person I know. I see a lot of me in her. I’m amazed by the similarity.
After dinner some gifts were given out. Apparently, my baby sister’s cactus had, babies. So she potted them and was handing them out as gifts… there must have been thirty mini cacti in the box! As soon as she handed me the cactus I started laughing hysterically. You see, when she was a toddler she fell into the prickly pair patch we had and it took ages to get out all the spines (I’m convinced that she developed her phobia of koosh balls and sea urchins from that dramatic event). Dad dug the whole thing up the next day. Everyone had forgotten that event, and of course I explained the irony of my baby sister handing out a cactus for Christmas. Oh, how life comes full circle.
It’s truly amazing, the interconnectedness the universe… even throughout the space of time. The past is interweaved with the present and all of our current actions shape our futures. In my personal experience, it feels as if my past; present; and future are all connected by a single thread. It feels like this thread falls in a straight timeline when I’m alone but as I’m with others it begins to feel more like a spiral. This thread also connects me to other people and still further to my local community and the entire world. This thread isn’t linear, it doesn’t know the bounds of time and space. It’s in this interweaving of life thread that I feel the vast expanse of the universe. In some traditions they might equate this feeling with “knowing God”.
In someways, I feel like we have fallen into the digital rabbit hole. Some people are helplessly stuck there. We have all kinds of issues going on in the world right now; so many that it’s overwhelming to choose a place to start! You hear a lot of people throw grand ideas around and shoot down the suggestions of others. Here is my suggestion…
I don’t think we can even start with big solutions. I think the solution might be on a smaller, personal scale. I think what we really need is to help pull each other out of the digital rabbit hole and learn to listen to each other again.
Our communities need to become interconnected again and without a screen. Don’t get me wrong, the technology has it’s own merit and usefulness. However, I feel like we are living in a time unconnected as human beings. I see how kind and caring everyone one is, individually. I mean you can’t share a video of a terminally ill ape reconnecting with a long time human friend and then cry buckets over it if you were an evil, cold person. But what I do know is that our individual loving kindness is getting stuck and stopping at the screen. I don’t honestly think we can feel someones heart energy through a screen. Look it up, its real- we actually pick up on the electromagnetic field of each others hearts. The heart’s energy field is also stronger than the brain. We can’t connect souls on Facebook and it’s literally destroying our planet. If we can’t see how we are part of a whole earth eco-system we will never change. We have to understand how we relate to each other and to our environment to feel the need to make a change.
It’s time to re-weave the interconnectedness of our communities. All we need to do is spend a little more time in our communities and less time with our iWhatevers. We need to give each other some undivided attention if we want to be united. We can find common ground, it’s there, I know it is! Unfortunately, to really hear a person, you have to listen with your heart and that connection can’t happen digitally.
This is the first step to solving our global issues is connecting the people in our communities. We can do it! It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!
Well, I guess this is a great way to introduce my next 31 day challenge….. I’m 31 days meat free tomorrow. Start on January 8th I’m going to be Facebook free until February 7th. Let’s see how I do!
Lots of Love. Shanti Om,
AFTER THOUGHT- If we don’t love each other and feel connected and we can’t see how our lives are strung together; then there will never be any power in our fight. We will never have any lasting change without a purpose and energy to our fight. People fight for what they love, and we need to fight for each other. I know, I know, many of us find ourselves short tempered with people who don’t get it- and bingo that’s it! We have to remember that people who are fighting for progress are already there, they see the web of connection. If you can’t see the connections, there is no need for change. You can’t force someone to see how they fit into the worlds eco system, but you can connect with them and help them learn to connect with others. And these new relationships will hopefully, spider out into the community.