During one of the first online classes I taught in Encourage’s Zoom studio, I shared some of Bonnie Myotai Treace’s poem “One Small Practice:”
 
 
“We are the right sangha, the right community 
for this challenge.
Every day find a way, big or small, to show care for another.
At least one. Every day.”

In many ways, ‘One Small Practice’ was the inspiration behind Project LOVE – $5/online yoga classes that become FREE to anyone who needs them with the use of the promo code LOVE during the checkout process. Offering accessibly-priced, classes was my first stab at trying to answer the imperative to “find a way, big or small, to show care for another.”Of course, we’re still mid-launch on that effort; your patience with the pace of classes being added to the online schedule and your enthusiasm for what is being offered is a way that you’re extending care to me. I thank you for that!Then yesterday, I was drawn to another section of Myotai’s poem. My wife, Paula, forwarded me an article from Harvard Business Review, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.”  It’s one of the HBR’s most shared articles right now.

The topic reminded me of the third of three practices (Memorial Heart) which Myotai offers: 

“Grief is coming, is here, will be here.
Make space and time for it.
Love, appreciation, reflection, sorrow:
You will need to sit quietly and let these happen.
We need to be real, are capable of being real,
Are called on to be real. 
So, for at least five minutes
Let grief in. Let it have its way.”

* * *
So far, we’re not really stocking our online schedule with a lot of rock ’em, sock ’em classes. I guess that’s never really been our thing at Encourage anyhow. But in this (always subject to change) moment, there seems to be a collective desire to slow things down as a way of meeting what is happening within and around us: we’re recognizing that “[w]e need to be real, are capable of being real, /Are called upon to be real.”

True, that can happen in the midst of physically challenging practices. (Of course it can.) It’s just that, right now, for many of us, there seems to be the desire and/or the need for making space and time…

David Kessler, the interviewee in that article on grief notes that, “it’s a good time to stock up on compassion.” He relates the story of a coworker who got snippy with him and how he thought, “That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety.” Patience.

Of course, finding ways to care for another, the practice of making space and time for grief and the practices of patience and compassion – they sound like distinct practices, but they’re not really separate; they’re interconnected. 

Just like us. We’re not really separate; yes, we’re socially distant. But no, we’re not separate.

We are the right community for this challenge. Let’s continue to make space and time for it. All of it. All of us. 

_/\_,

Al