Hi. It’s been a while. Everything has happened.

Paul Tillich, Shaking the Foundations

The last time I wrote something on this blog was at the beginning of the Stay At Home order. Some people seemed to know what was coming, but I surely didn’t. I started teaching a few classes on ZOOM without any kind of plan for taking attendance, or how long I was interested in doing this. I have been overwhelmed by the participation and support from people near and far. I have felt such a unique sense of community in this time. My website got hacked into and I had to do that scary thing of making decisions about technology that I don’t understand, and having to pay money for that fun. But I also felt like there was a team of people encouraging me on, to do the work that needed to be done. And wow, did that make a difference.

Since then, everything else has happened.

We have grown so much resilience as individuals, and at the same time started to admit the awful truth of our broken communities. I take any trip to the grocery store more seriously, so that I only go once a week. I haven’t ever liked grocery shopping, yet I used to go about 3 times a week because I was just so careless about what we needed. I thought I knew something about the general stress and anxiety that the Black community lived with on a daily basis. But, now I am exhausted by the grief and anger I have felt in Just In The Last Few Weeks about events that ought to be INcredible, but are relentlessly common in Black community, and have been for CENTURIES.

In about 10 days we will start to “open up” more in Illinois, moving into Phase 4. The suggestion is that we start to ease back into normal life. What on earth does that mean? I love not driving all over or having to rush because I’m almost late. I love the moment when people show up for ZOOM classes…their pictures pop up and everyone says Hi! and asks about their mother or their pet walking in front of the camera. I love doing Wake the Heck Up from the comfort of my home with coffee, having just changed out of pajamas moments before. I am thrilled to practice yoga with friends from all over the country, because technology allows for it. I am grateful that there have been so many new faces willing to try yoga because they could be home, and not with the assumption and fear that everyone is watching them. Returning to in-person classes feels strangely limiting now – like I’m tucking myself in a smaller container than I have grown into. And YET — of course I’ll get back to teaching in person. But, what will that be like? What do I want it to be like?

What kind of metric of community do we use to navigate our way forward, and Not return to the divisive, hate and fear filled normal? How do we shut down and recreate how our institutions, businesses, and schools function in a more radically honest recognition of the virus of racism, that has affected EVERYTHING. I think we are still in Phase 1 of this Pandemic. And we have to learn from the Corona Virus that hoarding and fear mongering begets hoarding and fear mongering. What will be the key strategies of moving forward? Collaboration? Listening? Making small and big choices that advocate and protect the most vulnerable, trusting that this is advocating for everyone, including your own welfare.

That’s where I’m at. I am going to keep practicing and figuring out next steps. I trust you will do the same. The Meditation Mantra of the Month is The Beginner’s Mind, an open and eager attitude, free of preconceptions. This is not an accomplishment or a status. It is a practice and a posture towards life. How do we practice a Beginner’s Mind as we work to recreate and re-imagine our communities in response to the reality of racism right Now? Here’s the quote that was from Beginner’s Mind – week 1 of All Together Now, the daily practice guide.

“To move to greater levels of health and well-being, we have to start from where we actually are today, in this moment, not from where we would like to be. Movement toward greater health is only possible because of now, because of where we are.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Peace on your head, you.

Rachel

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