April 23, 2012

Are You Ready to Re-write Your Story?

Within every soul lives a writer waiting to be born.

I was recently blessed to bear witness to the re-birth of 21 awe-inspiring beings in Nairobi, Kenya; the majority of whom were men. I remain intrigued by this anomaly, given that in my homeland Jamaica, it is primarily the women who are embarking upon this yogic journey. As observer and participant in both places, this posits a series of questions:

  • * Are Jamaican women more curious about union of mind, body and spirit than our Kenyan sisters?
  • * Are Kenyan men more sensitive to their emotions and/or do they feel less threatened by the various illusions that those unfamiliar with yoga often face?
  • * Will Kenyan men be the trail-blazers for our Jamaican men, some of the fastest in the world, to follow suit?

Spending time with the Africa Yoga Project community is always an uplifting and inspiring experience for me. Their expressed level of commitment to their practice and themselves is deeply humbling for me, both as a teacher and a student.

On this particular day, I am their mirror, to reflect back to them what is already alive within each and every one of them. My lesson is to understand from a place of immense respect and love, rather than to seek to be understood.

After all, who am I to dare to think that I can show a nation steeped in story-telling how to write?

The potent power of story-telling lives in its ability to unite and to heal.

Story-telling has always been an intrinsic part of African culture especially.

 Recipes, rituals and rites of passage are all essential life ingredients and form the thread that binds one generation to the next.

Our stories are encrypted in our DNA and each human being’s story is unique. Yet, our stories needn’t define nor limit us. With each breath and in every moment that life presents us, we get a chance to re-write and fine tune our script.

As we open ourselves up to share with others, we learn that as humans we are more similar than we are different, and that we’re never alone.

For three hours we remain gathered in a sacred circle, stirring a cauldron of color and deeply felt emotions. Any fear that may have arisen at the outset is quickly washed away with compassion and love for each other.

In the theater of our life, we discover that we have the power to re-write our script as we transcend from one act to another.

Victor, a dancer of arresting stature, shared with us, a tiny bit of his story.  Here’s what he had to say:

Spoken word, my story, my worry,

I engulf every air that comes around me just to feed it with my all attention, mind body and spirit,

When the birds chirp in the air, i dance with my heart as the words come out.

Spoken word, my story, my worry,

Who said that what i feel in it is not truthful and honest to my emotions?

I speak my mind here, share my feelings here, i turn the unturned soul in me just here,

So tell me how deep should i go to prove a fact that does not fluctuate?

Spoken word, my story my worry,

Like you, you might, dislike you; you might not, how i tell it is how i perceive it,

You complain but to me, this is where i am rated, placed upon the plain,

Who listens to it is not my worry, who understands the words get my story,

And those are my spoken words……..spoken word, my story , my worry ” ~Victor Iloo

What’s your story these days?

Are you ready to re-write it?


Editor: Lynn Hasselberger


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