Less than two weeks ago, came the long-awaited news that NYC would reopen indoor fitness at 33% and studios where I taught prior to the pandemic, would be reopening as soon as 3/22. Teacher friends of mine, in a yoga pose with a mask, littered my Instagram feed. Stories of how good it felt to teach in-person swam into my ears and I couldn’t help but be filled with a mix of dueling emotions. On one hand, I was so happy that these spaces “made it” through the storm and would be reopening; returning life to a sliver of normalcy. On the other hand, I felt sad and scared of what comes next, because there is no going back to “normal,” there is only moving forward into something new and unknown.
Yesterday, I sat struggling to carve Move With Love into some cardboard to make a stencil, when I looked down below and saw my Mom seated with a glass of wine, staring into the abyss. I went down to join her and we sat and listened to a playlist I had made last July after Joseph passed away. Out from the speakers, on this beautiful 72-degree day, blared “16 going on 17” from The Sound of Music, Mama Cass, Yaz, George Michael, Judy Garland and the score to “Cabaret.” With tears in her eyes, my mom told me how she sits and listens to the songs that Joseph loved, even the songs that she herself hates (The Sound of Music), to feel close to him. I wonder if some part of me will mourn and yearn for this pandemic era, even all that I’ve hated about it, because the sadness will keep me close to what I’ve lost and keep me safe from moving on.
In the words of the great Brene Brown, “The key to whole-hearted living is vulnerability. You measure courage by how vulnerable you are […] by putting your feet on the floor and saying, “today I choose courage over comfort.” We choose courage every time we come to the mat and commit to sitting with ourselves, our strengths and limitations, for a full practice. In yoga, we commit to courage and to having compassion with ourselves. So many of you have been so utterly courageous over the past year and I have found myself in awe of you. Each day you’ve gotten up and courageously kept going – with loss, with uncertainty, and unmeasurable change – no matter what life threw at you. Thank you. My friend, Eden, just shared this portion of a poem written by Amelia Earhart with me:
Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace,
The soul that knows it not, knows no release
From little things;
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings.
WHAT IS BRAVERY?
To be brave is to face your challenges, threats, or difficulties. It involves valuing a goal or conviction and acting upon it, whether popular or not. A central element involves facing – rather than avoiding – fears.
There are three types of bravery (an individual may possess one of these or a combination):
- Physical bravery (e.g., firefighters, police officers, soldiers)
- Psychological bravery (e.g., facing painful aspects of oneself)
- Moral bravery (e.g., speaking up for what’s right, even if it’s an unfavorable opinion to a group)
from VIA institute on Character
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