The End of a New Beginning

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“Hindsight is 20/20.” “Trust the process.” “Synchronicity is being in the state of flow.” There are a million catchphrases that try to summarize the successful momentum of life and most only make sense when you look back at the results.

Yesterday’s graduation from the Soul of Yoga 200 Hr Teacher Training was a final gathering of 8 new yogis, 6 mentors and the family members that supported us along the way. We sealed 4 months of self-discovery through asanas, the yamas and niyamas, pranayama, meditation and discussion by ending where we began: silently staring into each other’s eyes as we moved around the circle. Tears were optional, but inevitable.

All of us were drawn to the program for different reasons, but one common thread that we all found through a debriefing before the graduation ceremony was that we were brought here by the need to live more authentically for ourselves. A silent force had pulled us toward the Soul and whispered unforeseen promises into our ears: “you will heal;” “you will find direction;” “you will learn meaning.” Will power took us the rest of the way.

“At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning. (225)” ― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

All 8 of us were the Breakfast Club of yoga trainees, or more like Hogwarts’ graduating class of 2017: the witch, the sorceress, the queen, the goddess, the love chef, the warrior, the hero and the child. Each one of our skills was unique and complimentary to the rest. Together we could run the United States better than the newly elected cabinet; we could shift climate change like the Power Rangers; we could make Gandhi appear out of thin air with our imagination alone.

There is power in connecting deeply with a small group on a similar mission. I have seen the transformation take place many times in retreat centers, college dormitories, sororities, travel groups, military units, work teams and book clubs. The most healing time in people’s lives is when they feel integral to a collective: the experience leaves an imprint of belonging on the subconscious mind and brings strength to our sense of purpose in this world.

That imprint has a longterm impact that for some lasts an entire lifetime. Do you remember your childhood sports teams growing up? Or the first year at college and the fast friends you made? Or the hobby group you joined in your 30’s to strike up an old passion? Or the mother’s group you leaned on to help you survive the first years of parenthood? How could anyone have successfully maneuvered or even transcended those experiences without having the support structure of likeminded individuals to lean on? I bet that most of you still have strong connections with those people and they are your benchmark friendships.

I will leave this training with a whole new family, my soul family. When my first yoga class is empty, they will come at the last minute to fill the space; when I have neglected to push forward and feel stuck in procrastination, they will pull me off the chair to go for a walk on the beach; when I am reaching out for a potential job opportunity, they will forward their contacts and make introductions; when I am hunching over and cowering in the face of life’s challenges, they will remind me of the humble warrior within. This I know to be true forever, because we have formed a bond that only a small group of likeminded people can and changed the course of our own lives together.

Thank you for bringing that rare sense of belonging back into my life. For now, I may not know where the future will take me, but I know it feels right on course.

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