A couple years ago my partner and I were having brunch, and our friend said that we never know what is going to happen in life. A half hour later our dog ran away, and we spent the next 36 hours searching for him.
This past month I am revisiting the idea that we do not know what is going to happen. Last month our focus was on aparigraha (non-grasping). My work was to let Rainier Beach Yoga close for a period of time, to let go of being the teacher and practice along side you when we reopened, to let go into the abundance of community support I received and to allow myself to slow down and move towards healing. I spent Halloween weekend on Whidbey Island focusing on nurturing myself. The picture is from an early morning walk and a lovely moment with the moon.
As we settle into November we change our focus again. We leave the first limb of yoga (yamas) and start a five month exploration of the second limb (niyamas). The first niyama is saucha (purity or cleanliness). I’m currently thinking about this as my pure intention. I can read a book to enrich my mind or to procrastinate from doing something else. I can eat food to nourish my body or to enjoy pleasure or to distract myself. As I settle into what life looks like now I also am reflecting on what is my pure intention for the next steps for myself and RBY.
Since there has been so much public attention I see people putting labels and intentions onto me. You are a social justice expert (I am not). You are an activist (I am not sure if I am). You are a leader (maybe, but what makes a leader?). You are incompetent (sometimes). In my time in the woods I kept hearing over and over to remember that yoga is my deepest longing. Can yoga and social justice be partners? I absolutely believe this, and I also believe that yoga can be a framework for racial and social justice. Can yoga and activism work together? I think so. Can yoga help me become the leader I want to be? Yes. My foundation is yoga. I want to always move from that place first in whatever direction I go. That is my pure intention. My hope is when I get swept up into chaos, confusion and uncertainty I can stay true to moving from a place of union, compassion and truth (some of the tenets of our practice).
We had a beautiful healing circle where we brainstormed ideas of the steps we want to take as a community going forward. Stay tuned for a workshop on racial and social justice and monthly potlucks around yoga philosophy and social justice starting in January.
What is your pure intention? In this moment? This week? Your lifetime?