By Tracy Bleier
One year ago, I unearthed myself from my roots and moved to a city I barely knew. People warned me, “Moving is the most stressful thing in a person’s life.” I smiled politely and brushed off this bit of truth as if it didn’t apply to me. I had yoga. I had tools. I would be fine. I was excited to step into the wide open space of not knowing how my role in this new place would make itself known to me.
The truth is that moving here kicked my ass. I thought I was equipped to handle the challenge of starting my life anew, but it rattled every cell in me. For twenty-plus years, I had been supported and lifted by a circle of stellar people whom I came to refer to as my yoga family, my kula.
I was now the new girl who carried with her the awkwardness and estrangement I hadn’t felt since grade school. Finding community was paramount to me finding my way around the block. It would be the antidote to my pity party. I craved the conversation, the cushion, the circle of people with whom I had spent the past two decades sharing a daily life.
I missed the camaraderie, the energy, the way these beings knew me, and the effortlessness comfort of belonging.
My yoga practice has taught me that I should have all I need within. I can close my eyes, take a breath and find inside what I’m looking for to make hard things easier. I have my body, my heart, my breath, my awareness, and these things combined form their own kind of perfect community. Our body cheers us on, tells us truth, holds our innermost secrets and moves us along in our lives. But something magical happens when we take this body, this heart, this aliveness and place it among other bodies.
It reminds me of what Chris McCandless, the tragic hero of Jon Krakauer’s book, “Into the Wild,” discovered at the end of his pilgrimage. His dream was to walk into the wilderness and away from family and community, resolute that he needed nothing to be whole and happy. He learned his truth too late, but he etched the words into a tree beside the bus in which he starved to death: “Happiness only real when shared.”
Being among others illuminates. The greatest realities we seek – contentment, peace and love – these blessings of life amplify in numbers. As Rumi said: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” When we share our individuality, our uniqueness, we gain universality, connection – yoga.
The truth of the matter is that we humans are pack animals. To participate in community is to recognize our inevitable oneness. Togetherness is our destiny. As the Buddha himself acknowledged and taught, “May we seek refuge in the saṃgha.”