21st Century Gypsy. ~ Lindsey O’Neill

Via elephant journal
on Aug 2, 2012
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Rise up nimbly

And go on your strange journey

to the ocean of meanings. 

The stream knows

It can’t stay on the mountain.

Leave, and don’t look away

from the sun as you go

in whose light

you are sometimes crescent

sometimes full.


There is a trend happening within. It spreads like wildfire, linking the nomadic independents in us with the healers and the creative self-expressionists.

We love to travel, we love our innate subconscious resistance against the traditional 9-5 cubicle workday, we love wearing animal print coupled with plaid patterns, vestments existing like provocative moods.

We love how day morphs into creative working night, how Fridays at 5 p.m. no longer feel like a release from complacent salaried fisticuffs.  We love how spiritual and sacred experiences have nothing to do with religion.

We are the present day yoga teachers, writers, artists, musicians, healers, dreamers, and collectors of life experience. Handing our heirlooms down like vagabond way-faring warriors, holding memories like white doilied doves with outstretched wings, carrying them through deserts, oceans, rainstorms, and grassy greens. Wearing these memories like colorful bohemian patchwork skirts. Matching, in their un-matchingness.

We live lives where controlled anarchy becomes hobo chic.

We see our interactions with others existing within energetic vestibules, spaces we enter into that reflect meaning back to us within a day, a year, a decade worth of living.

We know what a tribe is, a community, a Kula. And our ancestral and spiritual roots are re-awakened when we intersect with fellow nomads on our strange journeys. The ones who become visceral embodied memory, forever hovering somewhere in the timeless reaches of our souls. We absorb the experience of having known these people like the way shoe soles absorb wet pavement. Leaving a forever-flowing footprint.

And in knowing them, we continue to adorn our fabric. Making it more beautiful for each and every step we take along our path.

Daily, we get to know the deepness of ourselves through what we teach in a yoga class, what we script onto a page, and what we continue to work out internally in the midst of all the outside markers of “achievement.”

For us yoga teachers invested in more than just our students’ physical practice, our goal is to create the space for others to more deeply know themselves in the midst of enjoying the physical freedom of their asana practice. Poses exist like poignant personalities, physical expressions of postures that herd emotion, like shepherds herding beloved sheep.

Both as teachers and students, we are the beings giving birth slowly to a world where our voracious appetites for life have the capability to self-satiate our very own carnal desires. 

We are empowered when we read quotes that say:

“We are so much more than disease, diagnostics, and treatment. We are ancient, earth-based herbal medicine. We are the rainbow light medicine of DNA stretching backwards and forwards eternally through time. We are yogis waiting to happen.” (“Musings” By Carol Bedrosian Spirit of Change Summer 2012.)

We ride bikes along dusk-laden rivers with black yoga mats strapped around our shoulders. We wear bright colored paisley headscarves. We pawn our clothes at thrift shops for extra cash. We are laissez-faire liberalists and yet, we realize that integrity isn’t just about proper spinal alignment. We wear tattoos like colored keepsakes. They are the trinkets that we carry on our backs, the maps and stories that show where we have been.

We barter and trade, we teach yoga to ballerinas in exchange for group dance classes. And we marvel at how knowing ourselves in the context of a herd helps us better be with our own spirits when we are alone around our evening campfires.

We are sacrum-sealers, heart-healers, green blanket dealers, and self-truth feelers.

We are daughters, sisters, children, sons, fathers, brothers, and mothers.

Purveyors of translucent liquid thought and space.

We are the 21st century gypsies.

How the Romas for years had to deny their origins for fear of what gypsy used to mean.

“I am a Gypsy woman” lay somewhere between the lines of  “I am a pan-handler, rootless, distrustful in my nomadic ways” and “I am free, fearless, liberated, bold, adventurous, rare, exotic and interesting.”

These are sacred and passionate pieces of self to remember. And there is no shame in a multifaceted existence. For in embracing this existence, we know what it means to truly live rather than just survive.

In a modern-day 21st century society where headlines pin-ball between yoga teachers fired by mega-mogul multimedia companies for asking students to silence cell-phones, and the American political power system’s wayward elitist climb continues, while public personas cling to one-dimensional defined states in desperately pleading efforts to maintain the complacency of networked oligarchies, we as yoga teachers, yogis, free masons, scribes, textilists, travelers, musicians, healers and gypsies are given the opportunity to check in with ourselves, often, as of late, about how all of this sits within our own personal steeple, in the midst of all of these people.

So we teach yoga classes on Sundays and call it Church.

We respect Warrior II for its strength; revere Reverse Warrior for its throat-vulnerable poetic surrender. And we hold sacred our spirit for knowing what it means to occupy the space of both.

We seek part-time jobs to feed ourselves so we can also feed our creative muse. We dance with her at dusk, while the concerns of the day fall away. Unveiling the space where we can sink more deeply into our gypsy roots, and our creative self-expressionistic selves.

We listen to Tibetan Meditation music as we write.

While turquoise candles illuminate the inside walls of an evening.

And we continue on. “[We] refuse absurd conventions. [We] open doors by telling stories, and [we] let [authentic] charm and creativity be part of [our lives.] [We do ballet], but [we] will join a Gypsy dance anytime. [Our] hair is long and sometimes [we] wear bright colors; they look good with [our] dark skin.” “The Gypsy in Me” by Cristiana Grigore June 21, 2012 The New York Times



Lindsey is a yoga teacher, a recovering disembodied writer, and a 21st century gypsy. She loves to travel, swim, ride her bike, sing, dance, laugh and write. More of her written work can be found on her website: thelindseyoneill.com



Editor: Hayley Samuelson.


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9 Responses to “21st Century Gypsy. ~ Lindsey O’Neill”

  1. Aaron says:

    I’m not.
    (none of that really though I am a yogi of 15 year and a 8 year yoga teacher in my mis thirties who also has a good 9-5 a house and 3 weeks a year to where I want. Sometimes its Tibet. Sometimes Times Square..)
    I have a good life have my shit together and avoid ‘controlled chaos’. One reason my students trust me more than most as I am told.
    Sorry but I am resistant to these stereo types.

  2. thelindseyoneill says:

    Aaron, I respect your path. That's whats cool about us gypsies, we are happy to all peaceably co-exist with everyone all at once. And we respect each others individual journeys. The bit about controlled anarchy becoming "boho chic" is slightly tongue in cheek. We gypsies can laugh at ourselves. And we love all of our many parts all at the same time.


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  4. I’m not sure if you’ve written anything about PPA, but ten weeks of bed rest and a bad latch landed me there. I wrote about it today and thought it is an important thing to share and talk about. I’m looking forward to your preventing preterm post!

  5. jim fry says:

    Beautiful. :: cheers ::

    I'm an apprentice gypsy, of the nomadic traveling sort, for around seven years now, escaping corporate engagements and never looking back. It was a shattering & transformative shock to my total life, including perceptions, evaluations and sense of self. We R a most curious cultural phenomenon, as we nudge this ossified paradigm into the next chapters. Feels like a blend of both labor & sliding down the birth canal, at times!

    As for controlled chaos, I perceive no negativity, imbalance, embellishment, or even, paradox, in the phrase; the entropy of life is omnipresent in the constant of change, as the multiverses express themselves through us, and we through them.

  6. thelindseyoneill says:

    Hello Austin Midwife,

    Thanks so much for the note, and apologies for my delay in response! I've been up to my elbowz in virtual ink and gypsy living. I haven't written anything about PPA as of yet, but an interesting topic, no doubt. I'd love to read your thoughts on it—is it posted on your blog or website?

  7. thelindseyoneill says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for stopping by, and for offering your own insightful thoughts. I suppose in some way we are all of the "apprentice gypsy" variety, continuously being birthed and re-birthed. Thank God for mindful awareness around the fact that there IS in fact a larger universal flow holding us all in its hands as we travel down the often times long, strange birth canal. Long live Divine Chaos; as a yoga teacher friend of mine once said "it is a gift to feel" and to use our mind, body and spirits to guide us through the seemingly awkward, messy, and uncharted moments.

    Love and Light.