March is Women’s History Month and thus, I want to talk about friendship. Through the years, I have shared stories with you about learning lessons about being a woman from that hike up the mountain and the female support I found along the way, hopping in our hammock with my daughter, to attending the Peace Ball last year. This past month I have had the opportunity to live through some pretty challenging experiences and along the way, I was met with friendship in places I never expected to find it. From phone calls, text messages and in person exchanges, I have had women offer me their friendship through walks, talks, lunches, tea time to ‘do you want me to go with you to hold your purse’ support. And before I go on with this month’s blog post, know that each of you have helped make me feel supported and I truly appreciate the friendship I have received.
Friendship, I have learned, starts with being friends with oneself. I learned this lesson last year when I attended the DC Women’s March. I had plans to travel with my daughter and a friend to Washington DC for the march, but both ended up not accompanying me. I was really upset about this and was fearful of going alone. I flew up on my own but met up with a Parkville friend who was up there working and stayed to attend the march. I didn’t know her very well before this trip, but ended up sharing one of the coolest experiences of my life with her, and during this trip I believe we became lifelong friends. One of the reasons this trip was so cool was the lessons I learned about ‘friendship’.
I haven’t really written a lot about this trip in this public forum because I honor everyone’s belief systems and have never viewed this march as me taking a partisan position. If you want to know my political position, I vote for all of us to be kind, compassionate and loving human beings toward everyone-always. I am a yogi and this should not come as a shock to anyone.
The day of the DC Women’s March we had no idea what to expect. Peggy and I left our hotel and found tons of people walking around the city, many wearing pink. The closer we got to the event, the more excitement we could feel in the air. There were people everywhere! Women, men, children, families. I have never been in a crowd that large! And here is where I learned my lesson about friendship. Like most, we had no idea what to expect that day and we inadequately prepared. Assuming there would be food trucks, we packed nothing for lunch nor did we have any bottles of water. No problem, perfect strangers shared protein bars and water with us. I was prepared for the porta potties and had toilet paper, so I shared. People took photos of one another. Talked to one another. Laughed with one another. Hugged one another.
The energy in the crowd was enthusiastic and contagious. We weaved ourselves through crowds with a total absence of personal space. We walked 12 miles that day and 6 hours after we started this historic event, we rounded the corner to the Washington Monument. In that moment, I realized just how big this day had become. People were pouring into the area from every street. Police were closing down the streets to through traffic as the cheers and chants echoed into one spot. There was singing, chanting, laughing, and dancing as we all came together as one.
Yoga Sutra 1:33 talks about the topic of friendship and I like the commentary from The Secret of the Yoga Sutra by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, “There are three levels of cultivating an internal atmosphere of friendship; nurturing a friendly attitude toward those who are successful and happy; transforming the element of animosity into friendship; and practicing the yogic technique of combining concentration, meditation, and Samadhi (samyama) on the principal of friendship.” (We have a copy of this book in the boutique.)
I believe that I got a chance to experience this sutra during the DC Women’s March, where the end of the march highlighted it in such a graceful way. As we left the area and began to ascend the hill to leave the march, people continued to pour in. I literally felt their cheers roll up the hill and support my back. Tears filled my eyes. It was one of a select few moments in my life I felt completely supported. There in a crowd of thousands of strangers no less. In reflection, what I experienced was the crowd highlighting what was already inside of me. A friendship with myself that I was able to share with the world. Non-judgement and complete happiness towards myself and everyone who was there in support of the march and those who were not.
So on this month of celebrating women, kindle a friendship with yourself that will radiate happiness and acceptance out into the world. Your health and wellbeing will thank you, as will your friends. For the month of March, bring a friend to yoga with you who has never been to Om Prana and your friend will get their first class free (unless they would rather do the 30 day special).
In an effort to share my experience with my community, I am very pleased to announce that we have partnered with Park University, who will be hosting Paola Mendoza, a national organizer and the artistic director of the Women’s March
on Washington, D.C., in January 2017, will be the featured speaker in a Women’s History Month event hosted by Park University
. “Together We Rise: An Evening with Women’s March on Washington Artistic Director Paola Mendoza” will be held on Monday, March 26, starting at 7 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested at www.park.edu/togetherwerise