freedom

Fourth of July, 2017.  The day is a little backwards, as is most of my life...  My kid is in Canada today for God's sake, as per every Fourth, but that's another blog.  I am not phased, just so grateful and quietly reflective.  Other than the noise of my work and kid, my life is quiet...  I began the day celebrating and serving, but now I'm working.  I sit in my "office..." the lobby of this little space, watching the sun go down and listening to the ugly, destinationless traffic and the cicadas and Jai Jagdeesh is belting Hallelujah on repeat.  Some days it's Motley Crue, but today it's heaven.  I just swept the sidewalk...  of the storefront that I created...  America...  

I live in a weird, starved, town where the beauty is mostly hidden and hung over and bears some gnarly scars to the flesh and the soul, and it makes my work confusing and urgent.  And freedom means something here...  It always has.  Way before the yoga.  Way before I learned about about Moksha, or became a helper, or a girl boss, or a parent, or understood personal freedoms, or pulled my head out of my ass, or had ever heard clearly the word privilege ...  The American flag flies year round here, and pride is felt and displayed and fought for even in our sleep.  Honor and loss are palpable and understood without words or decorations.  The "noise" is pardoned, as it is the sound of freedom, and as continuous and as familiar as a summer storm.  I've grown up here.  I've been interestingly  involved in many capacities with the military as a kid, human, bartender, America citizen, train wreck, check cashing joint manager, every endless other odd jobber, fourth grade teacher, parent, collaborator, counselor, head jville yogi...  So many yoga friends have moved in and out of my life, like every thee years or so... and the families, and the kids, and, of course, a lover or two...  I'm strangely proud of where I live.  Oddly grateful for every ounce of darkness here.  It makes the light that much more precious.  Even after my small town heart and mind have been blown open by exposure to other worlds and cultures and ideas with the gifts of travel and friends and strangers and big books who have shown me other ways to live and exist and understand.  I'm honored to work and serve this planet and this camouflaged community with so many who understand patriotism and pain and pride equally and in ways that other places in this world just cannot.  

When yoga came along, and I heard the word moksha, that was it for me.  I needed no other rules or further explanations.   When I found yoga, I was knee deep in the land of the free, but I was stuck.  Hardly able to move.  Words were robbed on that short, dark trip from my heart to my throat... and were never, ever heard.  My head never made it up.  Eyes couldn't see.  Teeth stayed clenched until my neck was frozen...  I know about surviving...  But the poses shook me up and broke me down and the breathing and stillness took me to knowings and scriptures, and when I studied the idea that you could be free in your heart and your mind, despite the bullshit stories that poison the body and thoughts, it brought me right back to my knees.  When I saw that the goal or result of yoga was to be free from suffering, to be free, TO BE FREE...  I bowed my head as my heart cracked open.  I was home.    

Freedom means so much to me.  In this town.  In this country.  I was able to wake up today.  I ate what I wanted.  I woke up healthy because of the freedom I have to seek and find wellness and give the middle finger to a broken system that kept me sick.  I spoke to family.  I hugged beautiful friends.  I returned and ignored emails.  I was free to go work exactly where I wanted, a business I built all by myself, from the dirt up, with my own shaking hands, wearing inappropriate clothes and freely speaking the about universal truths that are not so free to all...  I honored that freedom as I laid careful, humble hands on the people that are here in this yoga studio trying to desperately remember their own freedom and forget their suffering.  Words and prayers and wishes came freely from my lips in the name of service and unity, and I understood freedom in my bones.  I understood why it's fought for.  Why people die for it.  How it can scare the hell out of us.  How it's misconstrued.  How it dangerously divides us and joyously brings us together.   And as I listen to the fireworks while the sun goes down, my ears ring and my heart is full of freedom.  And it feels a lot like gratitude.  And it feels a lot like love.  And honor.  And pride.  And Red White & Blue.  And tattooed arms and titty bars.  And stars and stripes and shit.  And the guns and big trucks.  And far away friends.  And mamas and babies.  And their hair in the neatest, tightest bun I ever saw.  And promotions and homecomings.  And (battle) hymns that move us all.  And parades and memorials.  And long gone lovers.   And home.  I am free...

The banged up, bruised and beloved in me... honors, loves, and salutes the brave, bad ass, and beloved in you.  We are the same.  May all beings everywhere be happy and experience this precious gift of freedom.  May the actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.