Archive for August 27th, 2011

“On March 21, [1965]close to 8,000 people assembled at Brown Chapel to commence the trek to Montgomery.[12] Most of the participants were black, but some were white and some were Asian and Latino. Spiritual leaders of multiple races religions and faith marched abreast with Dr. King, including Fred Shuttlesworth, Rabbis Abraham Joshua Heschel and Maurice Davis, and at least one Nun, all of whom were depicted in a famous photo.”

 “At Least One Nun”…..should be the title of a book written about this woman!

I mean, it was 1965….not a time of liberated thinking for women, in general, and here is this nun on the front line of the larger-than-life- civil rights movement with Martin Luther King…..the third of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom Marches….the first two of which had included injury and death.

And there she is! Not in front of a third grade class room, nor even at the bedside of a hospitalized patient which were the most likely places for nuns at that time to be. But on the front lines for social justice and equality….in 1965! It is amazing to me.

 I’ve been looking up some of that history in the South since I saw and appreciated the movie, “The Help”, this afternoon.  While the movie was pretty harsh on its portrayal of the Southern woman stereotype at that time, it made me think of where and how I was at that time.

 Well, I was a Northerner, I was newly married, just out of college, with a classroom of young ones to teach, myself. Of course in my mind,  I wasn’t “prejudiced” but I was not aware of the far-reaching cultural effects  on any of us regarding racism, above or below the surface.

But I was most assuredly “removed” from the reality of what had to happen and would happen on the world scene to move toward equality and human rights that is everyone’s birthright, whether born in a democracy or totalitarian state.

Can our adult children now even imagine living life in their twenties in our own country, as we did then, that was so diametrically opposed to equality….to hear even the rhetoric that defended the position of inequality? I don’t think so. But I lived in that kind of world. A world that had to turn….and not in soap opera style.

When I graduated high school, I had considered a religious vocation and becoming a nun. By 1965, I would have taken final vows. 

 I would not have been that nun on the front line then. I would love to know who she is now.

IMAGE SOURCE Guideline: “Use of historic images from press agencies must only be used in a transformative nature, when the image itself is the subject of commentary rather than the event it depicts.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Non-free_historic_image

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Exalted Warrior

I found Abby Lenz on the internet today at http://www.heavyweightyoga.com/2011/03/39-years-of-yoga/ . In talking about her beginning youth experience with yoga over thirty-nine years ago, immediately falling in love with it, and being able to do any pose imaginable, she says she is now….”older, heavier and much wiser.”  She says and teaches what she knows being on the mat is all about in her Austin, Texas classes.

She says it is never about the poses, it is rather about where they lead you. She  does not measures success by how triuphant you look and feel on the mat. Success, she says, is really about just showing up and doing your best for that day.

I, too, am older, heavier and somewhat wiser at the age of sixty-eight. Today, I did not show up on the mat at class. I wasn’t feeling triumphant about anything in particular and I put myself on yoga class vacation for this Friday.

I will start again on Monday, or most likely with some pauses for home poses, balance and breathing over the weekend to remind myself that my true self doesn’t really want or need a vacation from yoga.

I love that I have discovered some of the richness of yoga in my own life. I am in touch with the true energy within my body, how it can be stirred, awakened, unclogged, and make me feel as though I am “streaming” with my own body instead of pulling and pushing it around.

I love how I hear Petra’s voice in my daily life and how the flow of yoga, even off the mat, finds meaning in my day. When I began yoga, late in life (unless I live unusually long), I was concerned mostly about my physical “bigness” and remembered the Beatles’ early 1960s introduction of yoga and swami’s into Western culture. I surely thought it was a no-no for me, a cradle Catholic and Republican, trying to go Democrat.

When I started, I was uncomfortable standing in mountain pose for any length of time and thought surely this would be a short experience. I came to “land yoga” through my water class of fused Poolates-Yoga. I loved feeling the poses, supported by the water, and the instructor encouraged me to try the gentle yoga class at the health center. I am glad she did.

Over time, and with the effort to do the best I could (like the 4th Agreement of Ruiz I have been writing about), I came to feel a genuine part of the class, if a stumbling one at times. Sometimes my motivation to get through the poses and balance and stretches was that I knew Shivasana, the peaceful quiet, awaited me at the end of class. I could hold on.

I remember about breath being the most important thing. Even though I knew that to be true, I suspect that it is being on the yoga mat that brings it home to me when I need it in my daily experience.

Once I had to leave the class for a bathroom break. When I returned through the door in the front of the class, they were all in a Warrior II, opened toward me and gazing forward. I started to return to my place, but was actually stopped by the palatable positive energy flowing  toward me from the group. It was an amazing and respectful feeling and I stood for awhile to soak it in and enjoy it before threading my way back to my mat.

My own self-described Energy Identity I’ve had for some time now is: Sue, Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver. My Life Statement is: “Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.”

I am gentle warrior, learning to forge my path and respect the paths of others. I do not know if there is a gentle warrior yoga pose.

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