Quiet inner connection precedes effective public activism.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” ~ Annie Dillard.
I read that and thought of what my friend Ann McGrath said to her sister to convince her to fly from NY to Argentina, “C’mon Clair. What’s life all about? We work, we get stressed out, and then we die. Let’s go on Meghan’s yoga retreat.”
A yoga retreat is a gift to ourselves and whether we know it or not it’s a gift to the people we interact with as well. Before you read further, pause and think of the people in your life who need a retreat and invite them to consider one of our retreats.
It feels like the historical moment we are living is more charged with judgement and fear and anger than other moments, and I would like to support us all in cultivating whatever practices that softens us so we can be more gentle in our responses to each other. I don’t think hardness is working.
In one of my favorite of her talks, Tara Brach describes the 3 traditional Buddhist Refuges (Dharma, Sangha, and Buddha) as Truth, Love and Awareness. In Buddhist vocabulary, a refuge is something from which to take solace in and nourishment. I’d previously understood Dharma as duty and as having to do with vocation or activism. The words Tara uses to describe Dharma are: the truth, the way, the felt and sensed life, the deepening of moment to moment attention to the present. She describes inner and outer ways of taking refuge in dharma/truth/the present moment, and encourages us to seek this refuge “so that busyness doesn’t cover our hearts”.
The outer ways are reading, studying, listening to spiritual teaching, philosophy, scripture, or whatever inspires us; and creating spaces in our lives to get quiet. Yoga and other forms of physical activity can provide these quiet spaces from where we can do the inner work which she describes as attending to what’s here and now.
Since I've understood Dharma to mean duty– and I’m feeling kind of a call to duty at the moment– the notion that my duty would be to become inspired and create quiet spaces in which to encounter the present moment makes me think that retreats are more important than ever. I want to participate in collective activism in the public realm and I think we contribute more to the healing of the world when we first make spaces to touch into the tenderness and preciousness of life and then take action with the sensitivity and appreciation that arise there. In our retreats , we as organizers do the outer work - we create the space and a structure that will allow participants to do the inner work and “rest the mind in aliveness,” as Tara says.
My friend Kimberly and I host yoga retreats together because we have felt the positive effects of taking breaks from the outer world and slowing down enough to feel what in our lives needs care and attention, and what can be enjoyed and appreciated. I believe that this way of tending to ourselves and our present circumstances makes it easier for us to each participate in the healing of the world in our own unique ways.
Life is alive. We are alive. Life exists. If that doesn’t wow you then stretch, sniff the air for aromas, yawn, count the sounds around you, and take 5 deep breaths.
Uncover your hearts from the busyness of your daily lives and join us for a retreat. Contact us to host your own Buena Onda Retreat.