This was the case last April 15, Boston marathon day. On the morning of April 15, I signed a lease for my new studio in Barnstable. After the meeting, I went to have tea with a fellow teacher with whom there had been a misunderstanding when I announced that my place of business would be geographically close to hers. We talked about the concept of "enough", and I sought to reassure her that mine was not a competitive or a menacing presence. I thought ahead to the bottle of champagne I longed to share with my husband as we celebrated this new beginning. As we talked, the waitress came over with news of the marathon bombings. All thoughts and energy turned to those affected. My desire to celebrate turned to a desire to comfort my children and those around me. Instead of popping that cork, we went to our church and lit candles and sought to give and receive comfort in the face of something so heinous and confusing.
In the weeks following, there was work to be done. The endless everyday tasks combined with the work of building a new business seemed overwhelming at times. The promise of what was to be lit the way. Hope and anticipation filled every cell of my being. Yet, strangely, I never made time for a celebration. Our "grand opening" was delayed by construction, and when I finally could open the doors, I needed to generate and build business, not spend money on an open house.
When I look more closely, there have been celebrations. They just look different. Fancy parties and tacky decorations have been replaced by the growth of students. Being witness to the transformation of a student who cried each time she entered the building to a person who is lit from the inside with joy is greater than any grand opening. Bearing witness to the joys and sorrows of those who live their yoga is inspiring. Holding space in which people can meet and explore their vulnerability and strength is an honor. Having and lending healing hands to those who ask is a gift from God that a monetary value can't be placed upon.
On Saturday, we held what will be the last large gathering at this location. A young student used our space to show a preview of her documentary about Nepal. There was food and festivity. There was the inspiration of this woman's work. At one point in the movie, the narrator spoke of how the Nepali people live. They are poor by our standards, yet their spiritual wealth is abundant. They give more than they take from this world. Visitors are met with flowers picked from the mountains and woven into necklaces by women and children. A guest to any home will be fed, even if it means that the home's inhabitants don't eat. Occasions are met with festivity and ceremonies. Each new school built is begun with a cornerstone ceremony. The act of having a ceremony solidifies the committment to the project at hand.
On April 30th, just a little over a year from that exciting and excrutiatingly sad day that I signed my lease, I am leaving this space. I don't yet have a concrete plan, other than the fact that Abundance of Peace will live on in another space, or perhaps in many spaces. I will update the website as the plan becomes more clear. Like that marathon day, I am filled with emotion as I write this. There is sorrow at leaving a place my family and I strived to make so beautiful. Sometimes, like right now, it is almost too painful to sit here. And then, gratitude takes over. I'm grateful for the experience, for the lessons, for the beauty, for the incredibly beautiful people I've met. I'm grateful for the kind words and compassion of my family and friends who understand the time and energy I have put into building a dream. I am grateful for the email newsletter I opened from my friend Brad this morning. In it, he asks readers two questions. #1. Looking back as of right now, what is the story you'd tell about the life you've lived? #2. If you had a week left to live, how would you change the way you've been living for your last week? To number 1, I would answer that I've walked, run, danced, skated and stumbled through life. Sometimes I act in passion without thinking things out fully. Usually I wouldn't change my actions. Like the Nepalese people, I'd like to think that I give more than I take, and that I offer to share what I have with others. If I've ever loved you in marriage, relationship, friendship or as a teacher to student, you've felt my love. The words "I love you" are not rationed or conditional. If you have ever told me a secret, you know that I will take it to my grave. If you've ever watched me teach or offer healing, you have known "An Abundance of Peace", and you understand that it is not a place, but a way of being. It is my calling in this life to share it with as many as possible. To number 2, I would answer that I would change nothing. There is nothing I can do, aquire or be that will ever fill my heart and soul like the love of my family and friends.
My faith whispers "hold on". I trust that Spirit has a plan for me to continue to spread an abundance of peace. It will be revealed as the dust settles. In the meantime, I am allowing myself to grieve this space, this piece of the dream. I am marveling that I am being gifted with time just when one of my children is having medical issues that require my time and focus. I am opening myself to the wonder and possibility of new beginnings. When this particular door closes, I will honor the next phase with a cornerstone ceremony. For the time being, we will likely be dealing with a figurative cornerstone rather than a physical space. Maybe that is right anyway. The cornerstones of faith, love, peace, truth and family are ones that can't be pulled out from under us. When we build on them our structures are secure. They are well insulated and the pipes don't freeze.
So be watching. Soon there will be a celebration. Know that you're invited. And don't be surprised if you notice an increase in festivity and appreciation of little holidays, happy occasions, and tacky decortions. Life is short. Life is hard. Life is sweet. Let's celebrate.