Tag Archives: families

How Can I Help?


Last week in Baltimore City
the rains came swift and hard
unrelenting drops of water
combined into rivulets, then rivers
and an embankment on 26th street and St. Paul
slid away, washed away, just like that,
taking ten cars, but luckily no lives

yes, no lives were taken,
and praises to all that is holy for that!
however, since then,
(and it has been a week and one day)
the residents of 26th street
have been without their homes

can you imagine what that would be like?
to be told you can’t live in your home anymore,
because it isn’t safe?

can you imagine what it would be like
to suddenly have to pack up a few belongings
–enough to get by–
and to have to make an appointment with an expert,
just to go back home to feed your fish?

imagine being told
“you won’t be able to go back home for 40 days”
can you imagine that?

how can I help?
my heart goes out to them,
38 people, living in 18 households…
32 adults, 2 teenage boys, 4 children…
asked to evacuate their homes,
handed some money from the mayor’s office
–money for food–
but now the money is running out
and still no home

where did they go?
and where are they now?
and how can I help?

this Saturday, the yoga studio where I work
is giving them a space in which to meet
so that they can discuss their next steps
as they wait for their homes to be habitable
they asked for a gentle yoga class geared toward
relaxation and stress relief

I volunteered to teach the class.
I want to help.
I was granted the honor of teaching the class

And now, with just two days
between me and facing these people
who are on a path fraught with uncertainty
I ask myself,
What can I say to them?
How can I help?

The only thing that will make it better
is being safe inside their homes again
to grab some food from their refrigerator
to cook at their stove
to sit at a family meal together
eating with their own dishes and utensils
to sit on their couch and read or watch TV
to take a shower and wash away the cares of the day
to sleep in their own bed
to…be home again…

But I can’t give that to them
How can I help?

How will I face them
and feel true compassion
having just come from my comfortable home?
What postures will help them find relief
from the grief and pain and anxiety?
what words will help them heal from the trauma?

Am I up to this challenge?
I want to help.
I pray to be a channel of healing wisdom,
for angels to be present as I teach,
so that I may step out of my ego identification
and allow the good medicine to come through

on my own I am not so much,
but perhaps with some divine intervention,
I may be of some help.

God, how can I help?
How can I help?

Dear Yoga Students


Dear Yoga Students,

Thank you. Thank you for coming to class for all the reasons that bring you. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to breathe with you, to listen to the sounds of life around us, to explore movement, to find stillness,  to be mindful.

In this crazy world of activity, of to do lists, families, careers, commutes, obligations, dreams, hopes, regrets, fears, and courage, I’m so grateful that we have this practice of yoga to bring us home to ourselves, and a place to practice together, to come home together, in community.

I’m grateful to the highway that took me into DC  this morning, the highway that was free-flowing for part of the way, but then which became extremely congested, right at the last leg of the journey. I was worried I wouldn’t make it to you–my yoga students–on time, as I crawled along route 50 at fifteen miles per hour. I managed to make it to L street just as class was scheduled to begin. I remembered to breathe before I tried to teach you how to remember to breathe.

It was a busy day. A class in the morning, two classes in the evening. I taught forty-two students today; forty-three if I count myself. I’m so grateful to have this job where I see you transform right before my eyes. You come in a bit frantic, sometimes looking haunted, bewildered, distant, distracted. And then we breathe and move together. We sit together, stand together, and at the end, we lie down together. We’re each on our own mat, in our own space, but we’re all inextricably connected, absorbed in the field of being.

When you emerge from this place of being, you look positively radiant. Your faces are beautiful beyond description. You’ve come home to yourselves, for one moment you’ve remembered who you really are. When I see you like this, I feel fulfilled. Your happiness gives precious meaning to this one life of mine.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear yoga students. I’m so grateful for you. I love my job.