Wise view, a Practice of Being

2020-01-19_13-52-11By Kimberlli Joy

When I started reading up on the first insight of the Eightfold Path, I understood it in theory. If we choose to let go of the past, release attachment, we can find ourselves living free from suffering. It seems like an easy formula. Then, I thought of all the places in my life that I was stuck in my story.

I began to think of the heartbreaks, childhood squabbles with a sibling, deaths of my father, and the near-death experience that landed me in a wheelchair (no longer able to call myself a dancer, an athlete or light on my feet). I also reminisce about being called a derogatory name, excluded or denied an opportunity. These are just a few of the moments that I found myself reaching back, grasping, and slam dunking into the present. I used these memories to validate the misery that I was experiencing in the moment. These are the recollections (re-collections) that were used to confirm my attachment to being right and making others wrong. These are the moments I found myself recalling and wishing that each good memory could be relived or regretfully wanting a do-over with the hopes of erasing the wound caused by the ignorance of myself or others.

Good or bad, my inability to let go of my past experiences placated the ego’s hunger for being right about the idea that I am a victim. Being a victim gives me the license to be self-righteous, angered, and miserable about my circumstances. The inflated ego then became the obstacles that I used as my soapbox on which I stood to explain to anyone willing to listen to me vindicate why I am entitled to my misery.

But is it our fault that so many of us are shackled to our past? When I think deeply about this, permanence is what we have been spoon-fed since we were children – “they live happily ever after,” “till the end of time,” “forever and ever amen,” “to infinity and beyond” “Memories of the way we were” -these ideas are celebrated in the songs, fairytales, and fables that shaped our fantasies. Even, as a wise adult, after learning that impermanence is what opens opportunities for evolution and transformation, I sit in boundless grief over a beloved friend moving from Oakland to Fort Bragg – too far away for a 24-hour visit. I sit in shame and regret over the loss of power in my current job, not realizing that there is an opportunity of something of even greater significance, waiting for me to step into.

For this suffering I blame attachment. To this writer, the act of grasping is such an evil villain in the saga of suffering that I will not give it too much more space. I will just say when we free ourselves from attachment and stand mindfully grounded in the now moment – the only truth – is when we become free. Surrender brings clarity, flexibility, and allows us to flow seamlessly into a wise view.

Wise view allows me to be a contributing participant in the celebration of each moment in life. Being stuck in my story was being blinded to the truth of what is. Wise view is the recognition of the impermanence of life. The willingness to stop mourning over my inability to walk and accepting paralysis as my reality opened my eyes to the transformation of my power. With wise view I discovered that my heart has now inherited the power that was once demonstrated through my body – resilience, courage, perseverance and Grace are the qualities by which I define myself.

Yes, I Am Wise View
Kimberlli Joy, January 19, 2020

Yes,
I am the first living insight.
I am naked and alive,
I bring the peaceful vibration of impermanence and altruism
like the Chinese Zen garden,
I bring clarity
I balance the elements,
I focus purpose,
And serve the greater good.
I elevate the spirit body,
And I ground the soul
I am the radical center
balancing the axil of each moment.
I am the freedom
Inherited by truth.

The Healing Journey

Bearing witness to the manifestation of an unfolding dream is as mesmerizing as watching a flower bloom.  The widening pedals spread in revolution—creating its own sweet temple. It is fresh and delightfully fragrant, as the blossom settles into the perfect position.  Its stem postures itself erect, to behold the sun.  It is free; knowing that its source is above and below and surrounding and within.   It sways flexible with the breeze the dance of humility. Giving from its overflow, it feeds the humming birds, expresses pollen and blesses that which blesses it. Sweet green buds push through the earth and tightly wound bulbs take form and grow to open. It begins again.

 

 

To see a flower bloom is as miraculous as being in a dream made manifest.  The unfolding of each blessing slowly comes into view. I unlock my heart and my heart receives.  My evolution progresses as rapidly as the sun travels the earth.  My posture is becoming more erect as I behold my source of strength. Living in a dream made manifest I sit still, inhale grace and surrender with every exhale. that which is above me and below me and surrounding me and within me.  The unfolding of a divine manifestation evokes an enthusiasm within. This miracle is held in the expression of gratitude.  Sweet dreams will always push away the stifling darkness.  The tightly wound unwind and unfurl and they prepare their wings also take flight.

Trusting the Yoga

SB FJC DD WITH BABY 2

When teaching a yoga class, I learned, it is beneficial to remember the five principles: trust, enthusiasm, awareness, focus and wisdom. These principles are especially necessary when guiding a room full of new yogis. I compare this experience to guiding a group of blindfolded strangers down a mystifying path. There must be trust in this leader. What is most important is that the leader trusts her own inner wisdom. I have assessed that the absence of an  one of the four  principles (enthusiasm, awareness, focus and wisdom) one could fake an okay class.  However, with trust in the yoga itself, the entire can become dangerously disjointed – potentially tainting a new yogi’s perception of yoga.

I became a yoga teacher when I taught the inaugural class of a six-week Inner Healing, beginner yoga series at the Family Justice Center (JFC) in Richmond. It had only been three months since completing my 200 hour yoga teacher’s training.  This was the first time that I stepped out of my own way to stand in confidence as a yoga teacher and to allow my internal wisdom to take the lead.

Twenty-five women, four children, and one infant joined us to experience their first yoga class. The participants were FJC staff and clients–all women of varying in size, ethnicity, economic class, age, and physical ability. Not only were the majority of the women and children novices, but many in the room experienced varying levels of  trauma. Many of FJC clients survived sex trafficking, domestic violence, physical, and sexual abuse from the people they loved. Their trust had been well workout, trampled and left dormant. I knew that Karma Yoga Tribe had that opportunity to guide these women on an inward journey toward healing or if nothing else offering a relaxing and nourishing experience. I also knew that if not done with proper grounding I could lose their trust in me and more importantly the yoga.

For a brief moment, I lost my nerve. I wanted to resort to old practices. Having spent over 25 years as a group exercise instructor my instinct was to throw on my favorite hip hop music and count them down to a vigorous sixteen-step choreographed dance routine. I questioned myself. As I watched the women enthusiastically search for the perfect space in the room. “Who am I to be their introduction to yoga? What happens if taking the inward journey is like opening Pandora’s Box? How would I get them to trust me when their trust in the world has been demolished?”  I heard my teachers voice, “Trust in the yoga.”  After three slow breaths (intermittently interrupted to welcome the participants). I was reminded of my purpose in the room.

“You are a vessel anointed to gift this community with the practice of yoga.” that is the moment that I knew that my only responsibility was to trust. SB FJC CHILDS POSE 4

I started the class by asking everyone to push back into Child’s pose (Balasana). I cased the room. almost every individual were fidgeting, squirming and readjusting, or looking around the room – unwilling to take my instruction.

“Trust the yoga.”

SB FJC OM 2SB FJC OM 3SB FJC OM 4

Again, I panicked. Again, I inhaled. I exhaled. I surrendered. I began, again.

I encouraged them to fill their bodies with Prana and slowly exhale. At the end of the first collective exhale the energy in the room shifted and each body settled deeper into the posture. Together we relaxed into the practice of trusting.

I observed stillness in two women in the front row suffering from PTSD that was demonstrated in an inability to be still or quiet.  I watched a young mother move in unison with the class as she tended to her cooing infant.  The four children (aged 4, 7, 10, 14)   maintained the same level of focus and intent as the adults.

SB FJC hydrant

Through the guidance of deep and mindful breathing and simple asanas, I took the opportunity to witness the majestic benefits of the practice. We moved through the hour, using the breath as our vehicles.   At the end of the class, in Savasana every woman and child surrendered in silent stillness. There in the truest reflection of trust we began again.

SB FJC SIVASANA

 

I give thanks to the women for showing up, for their courage and belief in themselves. I give thanks for internal wisdom. Most importantly, I give thanks to the yoga.

Namaste

Kimberlli Walker
RYT 200 Hours

Empowered Breath Yoga

Six series starting July 27th
        Six series starting July 27th

We are  so excited to offer yoga at the Family Justice Center in Richmond.  Monday July 27th marks the first day of Karma Yoga Tribe’s community giving program.

Our six week series will consist of introducing the meaning of Karma (Karma yoga is often understood as a yoga of altruistic service.) introduction to the blessing of the the sound OM and 8 part infant series-starting with taking your first mindful breath.

We are excited to partner with Family Justice Center (www.familyjusticecenter.org) in Richmond on our first initiative.

We appreciate any support, guidance and/services in helping up bring our mission to fruition.

Namaste