I’ve been putting off writing this and I know why. It’s an uncomfortable subject, perhaps not for you, the reader, but certainly for myself. The subject is homelessness. Not as an abstract idea, nor as a cause for social justice but actual, physical homelessness- specifically my own.
I spent a period of roughly two years homeless, victim to my own addictions and lack of skills necessary for coping in regular society. It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always hard. There were moments I wouldn’t trade for anything and there are memories I’d much rather not revisit. When you’re homeless you’re either anonymous or conspicuous. One turns out to be no better than the other. Engaged in the business of survival, it’s easy to forget that there’s a world beyond basic necessities or that you might have or deserve a place within it. This, then, becomes the crux of the matter; deserving, feeling worthy of . Yesterday when I awoke it had snowed five inches at my house. For a good twenty minutes I struggled with the question of whether to light a fire or not. It would seem a logical thing- the house was cold, I planned on being in it for the majority of the day, so why wouldn’t I? The why not is because I have conditioned myself over years to get by with less, to remain as unobtrusive as possible, to not be in the way or demand too much. Sure, the house is my own, the wood too, harvested and split and stacked by my own hand- but it doesn’t seem to matter. Somewhere within my being is a residual message telling me to deal with it, to not make a fuss.
Enter Yoga. So much of this practice for me is assimilating myself into a culture that I never thought I was allowed to be a part of. A culture that not only allows but encourages, nay, celebrates, self care. I sometimes tell the story of learning to take baths. Baths as opposed to showers. Luxuriation instead of utilitarian. The smallest things are the biggest things. This Yoga, this practice, to me at least, is about introspection. It’s about manifesting the best possible version of yourself so that you can be of service. That you might be available for what the world is asking of you and make no mistake, it is asking. You are necessary in the grand orchestra and divine play unfolding before you.
On Saturday evening, we will gather, as a community of caregivers, of ourselves and others. We’ll share stories, ideas, perhaps some tears. For the moment, I’ll be tending the fire.
In Love, Clint