The holidays can evoke so many things for so many of us. They can be dreaded, nurturing, devastating or just plain old complicated. For some of us these couple of months can seem like a time to reconnect, rest and get back in touch with our families and friends while many of us are doing our best to stay grounded until the storm passes.
I felt immensely grateful to spend this recent Thanksgiving in a way that felt truly honoring of where I’m at and what I believe in my heart to be consistent with the spirit of the season.
I had the good fortune of connecting with a wonderful yoga community (Deep Dog Yoga, Yorba Linda) this past year and was asked to lead a gratitude practice at the studio on Thanksgiving morning. Skye was all set to accompany with acoustic guitar, voice and ukulele and at the last moment we re-connected with Jamie Jones of Mahoroba USA who brought their healing drum knowledge to our practice! The room was filled with old students, new students, friends and families. Yogis of all different experience levels– including those, I’m sure, that didn’t identify as yogis at all. We took deep breaths together and contemplated “Gratitude” or Kritajna in Sanskrit which translates to “Cultivated Consciousness.” Poses were modified, options were taken as desired and, maybe most importantly, physical practice was de-prioritized beneath need and self-care.
We gave lots of hugs and headed off to our different spaces. I chose to cook and gather with chosen family around compassionate vegan fare. We ate and rested.
It was the first time the holiday space had been completely consistent with where my heart (which in all honesty was feeling a little bit worn down) wanted to be. I offered what I could. I prepped and rested. I didn’t put myself in spaces where I needed to educate others or defend myself. I kept my space free of anyone and anything that might inhibit safety or cue my already hyper consciousness into the reality of trauma and violence in the world. This included not compromising (or apologizing for) my personal practice of ahimsa (non-harm) in order to gather which is often a conflicted place for me. Any other expectations that popped up unrequited I breathed thankfulness for the present moment into and washed them away so I could see clearly all that I had in front of me. I cultivated consciousness around the power of honoring and acknowledging my own agency in creating a healing journey that was holding for myself.
Anyone who experiences “otherness” on any level knows that we’re often told that our experiences aren’t “real.” We are expected to engage in interactions and traditions that have different meanings for us than the world around us. I invite you to tap into the healing nature of connectedness this holiday season. Have gratitude for this.
Cultivate consciousness that brings you closer to your individual path of healing.
In Cultivated Consciousness,
Traci is a queer vegan femme-inist yoga teacher and therapist striving to circle the metaphorical wagons of diverse queer community into digital and physical healing gatherings. She’s utilizing a lot of mashed potato and doggy snuggle medicine this holiday season.