Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

This morning, I learned of the plight of 4500 endangered sea turtles off the southern coast of Texas in an area known as South Padre Island. Not only are residents of the Lone Star State suffering from no heat, no electricity, broken pipes and no water, because of extreme weather conditions, but so too is wildlife. And in this case, it’s the coldblooded sea turtles. They are particularly vulnerable because they are unable to regulate their own body temperature. As the frigid water temperatures dropped below 50 degrees, the sea turtles remained awake, but lost the ability to move, a condition called cold stun that often leads to death by injury, stranding or drowning.

I can relate to this condition, because when I moved to Miami, I put my daughter’s pet turtle outside every day so it could enjoy the sun. And one evening, when it was incredibly cold outside, I forgot to bring him in. The next morning, before school, I discovered him and took him for dead. I hated to break the news to my daughter, but I had no choice. We dug him a grave and as I was putting him into it, Alex, for that was his name, moved, or so my daughter thought. I doubted it, but then he moved again, and I realized that the cold had numbed him, and as the sun began to rise and the air temperature with it, he miraculously warmed up and lived.

I suppose it’s for this reason that I was so taken by the peril of these endangered sea turtles, but what struck me the most was the community effort of rescuers from all over coming together to save them. One woman, who was interviewed by the press and asked what it felt like to be part of this effort, summed it up best: It’s amazing to see the power of community coming together.

It would be an exaggeration to say that meditation and yoga taught me the power of community, because everywhere I look it is around me. It’s my neighbors helping shovel snow. It’s my church bringing meals to us when Howard had quadruple bypass surgery. It’s my dad taking my daughter trick or treating so that I could hand out candy following my divorce. The power of community is intricate to our daily lives. But it’s Swamiji (Avula Parthasarathy) a guru whose Vedanta teachings I’ve studied, who taught me the three C’s of success. Concentration. Consistency. Cooperation. For me, this last one, working in cooperation with others, being part of a community, is what fills my soul. And his teachings have reminded me of its importance.

Too often, I see yoga students struggling in class to hold a pose, or just to have the confidence to attempt it. It was another yoga teacher, Donnie, who taught me the importance of community when he pulled us off our mats and encouraged us to join in a circle. We held each other’s wrists in a community of support and put our trust in the group. Suddenly, students could take flight in airplane pose (standing on one leg, arms out like wings, one leg extended out behind) or a one-legged yoga squat (ankle crossed over the other bent knee). Were the poses important? Of course not, but gaining the confidence to do them was. And once again, we learned by leaning on one another.

Having a community of yogis to practice with this summer was a lifeline for me, and so many others during this summer of the pandemic. When the weather got nice, we practiced outside overlooking Lake St. Clair. It was so wonderful to safely practice yoga together in the fresh air, six feet apart. For many of us, it became the highlight of our week. And we were blessed with so many miracles. One day, a double rainbow filled the sky. Another time, a bald eagle flew over our heads just as we looked up, and I’ll never forget seeing a flock of swans majestically soar past us as we opened our arms to the universe. Towards the end of the summer, we even witnessed stars in the sky, and the lights of freighters illuminating the darkened waters.

As Hillary Clinton so ably expressed it: It Takes a Village. Where would we be without the cooperation, the support of community?

When I was a single mom, newly divorced, I lost my footing with my daughter. She was a child who felt (and still does) everything very strongly. She had gone on vacation with her father and had her hair done in cornrows. I knew nothing about unbraiding them, yet she insisted I do it. I tried, and tried, but I couldn’t stop hurting her. And as she cried and flayed at me, I lost my patience. I left the house. I needed a break. I took off in my car and unbeknownst to me, she tried to follow on foot. That’s when a neighbor stepped in. Without judgment, or criticism, she took my daughter into her house and unbraided the tangles and mess of her hair. She also called me and let me know where Dalice was and what they were doing. I don’t know where I would be without her kindness. It certainly wasn’t my finest hour, but it certainly was one of hers.

It’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we all work together. We are each a beautiful flower, a wonder of God’s creation, but when we join forces, whether in a circle, or part of a cause, we bloom into a colorful field of possibilities.

I’m grateful for the community of others. My daughter saved me from burying a turtle alive, my neighbor taught me grace, yogis have taught me the power of joining forces and working effectively together. And I hope to share these teachings going forward. 

Recommended Articles

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *