Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.Yet for attacking the solid and strong; nothing is better;It has no equal.
~ Lao Tzu, “Tao Te Ching”, Chapter 78
As a yoga teacher I extol virtues to my students: gratitude, love, acceptance, compassion and patience, to name a few.
I may be a teacher, but I am also a student, practicing just like the people who come to my classes.
The last several days have been a true test in patience and compassion for me and a virtual army of yogis across the world as we watch a natural disaster intersect with our best intentions.
Just days from now, I am scheduled to fly from Seattle to Denver, then hop aboard a shuttle to Estes Park, Colorado, where I will meet up with my Baptiste Yoga family for several days of connection, growth, empowerment, inspiration and, oh yeah, yoga.
The Power Flow Immersion is followed in the same location by the epitome of yoga gatherings: the Yoga Journal Conference. Hundreds of mat wielding, ujjayi breathing yogis from around the globe will gather to flow with the world’s leading yoga teachers and luminaries.
And last week as we busily arranged our shuttles, washed our luon and got our classes subbed out, a flood descended upon Boulder County. Many homes were destroyed, even more were severely damaged and at last count eight lives were lost.
Tiny Estes Park was hit particularly hard by the deluge. The main road leading to town was completely washed away. I’m not talking about just one small section, a 200-foot stretch of the road turned into a raging river, the water tearing up and tossing around pavement like pebbles in a stream.
Power, phone lines and water were cut off.
Days later, the rain was still coming down and town leaders implored visitors to stay away as residents began the daunting task of cleaning up.
Yoga Journal had no choice but to pull out of Estes Park.
With less than a week before the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion and Yoga Journal Conference are set to begin, they are homeless. They are currently looking for another location to hold the conferences. Tickets booked, bags packed, childcare arranged and I am in a holding pattern.
The amazing people at Yoga Journal are working around (and against) the clock to find another location to host hundreds of yogis with one week’s notice. What a daunting task. They ask for my patience.
I sit patiently with the “not knowing” of whether to cancel shuttles and flights, rearrange childcare and try to get classes back.
Because that “not knowing” pales in comparison to the not knowing if I will have a home to return to, the not knowing if I will be able to salvage my family’s belongings and the not knowing if my loved ones will come home.
Sitting here in the not knowing, I find comfort in this patience. I feel it pull me into the flow of life. I see it as a chance to trust that the universe has a divine plan for me, even if I can’t see all the pieces or the end result. I turn small challenges into opportunities to be flexible.
But most of all, I tap into compassion.
I hope the victims of the flooding can see the same holds true for them. As difficult as it may seem in the moment, I believe the universe has a divine plan, even in the face of disaster.
The lessons they are learning are monumental compared with the ones us yogis are facing—they must dig deep to trust in the process.
We are being asked to have patience—I am sitting with mine.
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Assistant Ed: Kristina Peterson/Ed: Bryonie Wise