Harmony is dependent upon a recognition of difference and a willingness to hold one’s own truth intact in its presence – oneness.

Chris celebrated his 52nd birthday last week in the yoga room inspiring all of us to aim for possibility in spite of what seems impossible. He is on virtually no medication at this point with minimal doses of chemo and is now discussing the surgery needed to replace his bone flap making his recovery even more remarkable. His MRI’s continue to show no signs of an active tumor. It’s tempting to want to ignore the fact that he has a tumor when you see Chris in this bionic comeback. But, it does loom.

My brother for years has shown signs of a mental disorder but he is good looking, funny, hip, social and intelligent with creative talents that have gotten him pretty far in mainstream life and even some celebrity recognition. Up until this last week, it was challenging for anyone to believe that he needed help including himself. While I feel emotional about my brother and sad about his condition, I also feel, like Chris, a possibility that he too can make a full comeback and be the happy brother I once knew.

Andre’s classes on Saturday mornings are always packed! It’s not only a popular time to do yoga but we gravitate to Andre as he has a way of crafting humor, precision, and insight in the 90 minutes. This last weekend he shared a story about babysitting his grandson for 10 hours a day for three consecutive days. Andre, well versed on how to care for kids, found himself rattled as on the first day, the baby cried for 3 hours straight of those 10 hours! What to do? Won’t he stop? What’s wrong? Do I call the mom? Does he have gas? Is something hurting him? Can’t the baby tell me? God, tell me? But what Andre shared was in this panic state, he was reminded of Savasana and the importance of keeping your peace CLOSE! Andre’s point to the class was to not miss Savasana knowing the peace it was instilling in times of chaos.

Our first ever BYSJ fundraiser was so successful. For just a one day affair, we collected over $7000 due all to your efforts members to donate products and services and attend a spirited talent show put on by members of the BYSJ community showcasing beauty and art with performances of dancing and singing. BYSJ is one of the largest and more established studios in the world and so vibrant with thousands of people that participate in the well-being of themselves in this home that it is hard to imagine that any discord exists. Our studio is thriving yet we have some big bills to take care of. Community, what you have shown me in this showering of love is the hidden truth that exists below. We are not the turbulent forces that can seem so unexpected and out of nowhere but instead we are the infinite peace that is CLOSE and always there.

I think a part of me is writing ALL of this because I am noticing an energy in our studio and really everywhere of under the radar type of scattered-ness. Maybe that isn’t the correct word as it is hard to pinpoint but let’s go global: there is the devastation of ISIS and an inability to comprehend the brutality. Let’s go pop culture: Joan Rivers had a simple routine surgery for her throat and dies? Let’s go local: my delicious apple might be genetically modified? Let’s go to my house: my smart young brother is in a mental facility? Let’s go in the yoga room? There are car-break-ins around the studio and I have to think about where to put my valuables when I am attending a yoga class? None of these make any rational sense. So, maybe the energy I am sensing is in the family of feeling “shock,” a disturbing simmering type of gentle shock that shows up in our everyday space in weird scattered not so not so obvious ways – but it’s there.

Honestly, I don’t think “shocking news” will go away big or small. But like the quote says above, harmony or our peace will stay intact as long as we willingly hold our own truth in the face of it. I could go on and on with this quote but one thing to highlight huge is how we DON’T hold on to our own truth in the face of pain. Look for it in your daily lives and you will see what I mean. We grab the phone, we buy the support, we walk out of the room, whatever it is we do, we disconnect to ourselves. Yet, this could be our shining moment: be willing to embrace it all as “all of it IS” but then choose what you want to sample.

I love Westgate Church. The services there touch my mind and soul and I feel a resonance to the approach taken on scripture as it relates to life. This past weekend was on Holiness. The art and work of being holy is hard! And comes at a time when we are in the discord. It avails itself to be practiced when we are in conflict. As the church defined, being holy sets us apart, totally other, uncommon and the work of being holy means to roll up your sleeves put your mind in gear and be totally ready. Ready to: own the emotion, feel the pain, breathe through it, discern what is best, ready to move into deeper insight, be blameless and pure, and as Andre stated, center in my peace that I keep so CLOSE!

Folks I’m a yogi and you know that I can sell this practice til kingdom come and this yoga practice moves out of the room and into your state of affairs so easily when you come often. You hold poses all day long not just physically but mentally and what you choose to sample in those mental moments can be the difference between how you live your life and how you want to live your life.

Like the famous Buddha that cries for all the sorrow in the world, we too can mourn and experience the suffering that is out there. It’s part of being whole. Not losing oneself IN it is the game. Our life’s journey is our participation in holding truth and love in the presence of conflict. That habitual exercise will reinforce a peace that sits underneath it all like the calm waters below a raging storm.

Members, we are so lucky to be hosting the USA 2014 Yoga California Regional Championships on November 1. The platform is set for 50 or so students and teachers to perform seven postures in three minutes. And conflict is quite evident in the minds of these individuals as they strive to hold peace CLOSE on stage holding poses in front of hundreds in the face of a cramping thigh, doubtful mind or an uneasy emotion. Life is like yoga. In fact, life is yoga. The opportunities are there to surpass the pull of the “pose” that can bring us down or push us up.

We will see you November 1 at Archbishop Mitty High School Thomas Kinkade Performing Arts Center between 11:30 am and 3:00 pm. Tickets on sale now. Inspire your practice. Inspire your life. Beauty and art on stage illustrating control through a peace that is CLOSE!