Belated wishes to all for a Happy Year of the Wood Sheep! It’s been nearly a month since we entered this female or yin energy year, which makes it a good time to focus on family, friends, home and intimacy.
One of the most inspiring invitations I have read for stepping into this new year is “bloom where you are planted.” And that is just what I am doing right now by opening a new yoga studio! Yoga Goodness Studio will bloom in the Riverviews Art Space, a beautifully renovated warehouse in the historic downtown district of Lynchburg, VA.
Honestly, after closing OM yoga Center and leaving NYC in 2012, I never thought I would ever open a yoga studio again. I have missed that community deeply but I didn’t really miss running such a big small business in such a big big city. But now that I have lived in Virginia for nearly two years, it feels good and right to plant some yoga roots and help them bloom right here.
Yet there is a deeper layer to this invitation to bloom where we are planted. Actually, we can ONLY bloom where we are planted. This is obvious, but we often we forget it. Instead, we think about how we will bloom in the future when “this” finally happens. You know “this.” It’s when I get enough money, the right job, get in shape, find my true love, live in a different city, get noticed for who I really am…you can fill in the blank for yourself.
When we live this way, we abandon ourselves. We give up on ourselves. It’s not wrong to have a goal but to accomplish that goal you have to see where and how you are right now. Instead of the old saying, “you can’t get there from here,” Buddhism teaches us that we can ONLY get there from here. Who we are, as we are, is the raw material given to us. We can resent it and wish it was different or we can pull up our socks and take responsibility for our own life. This is called spiritual maturity and it is tremendously liberating and empowering. This is how we can live into a sense of our goodness and share that with others.
So if we know who we are as we are, and we know our goal is to feel free and good, how do we connect these two dots? You know the answer! Practice! Practice is the path that transforms our anxiety, confusion, stuckness, self-centeredness, fear and anger into confidence, compassion, clarity, strength, stability, joy and contentment. This inner planting and blooming is the ground (pun intended!) for planting and blooming in the world.
So in addition to opening a new studio in Lynchburg, I am entering into a two-year Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at Upaya Zen Center under the auspices of Roshi Joan Halifax. I’m writing you from Santa Fe where I’ll be studying with RJ, Sensei Alan Senauke and others, in Socially Engaged Buddhism; Complexity, Spirituality and Compassionate Action; Social Resiliency; Conflict Transformation, and Wise Leadership. These are all integrated with the Six Paramitas and Precepts of Buddhism.
Starting from the inside and radiating out. Isn’t that what we practice with our asanas? Many of you have heard me give this instruction: “Let your awareness spread throughout your entire body, as a tea bag dropped in a cup turns the water into tea.” And then, sometimes, I even say, “extend that awareness to the other people in this room, and outside this room and not just people, but all beings and all things everywhere.” To do this, while remaining steady in an asana is a powerful practice, indeed. That is how we can bloom where we are planted.
Looking forward to seeing all of you soon, on the mat, cushion or on the trail.
Much love and gratitude,