The Power of Community

The power of community

On a damp, miserable day in Birmingham I was walking back from the critical care ward at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in despair. Everything had turned inside out. My Dad was in a coma and I was terrified for him, for us, for everyone. I was feeling completely sorry for myself; sorry that I couldn’t save him, sorry that I’d left everything back home, sorry that this terrible accident had happened. 

One moment my Dad was cycling home, down the same quiet country roads he’d cycled for over 30 years when suddenly everything changed forever. We don’t know how he fell. Someone just found him on the side of the road, unconscious and with severe head injuries. 

In my self- absorbed pity I’d forgotten (again) that I am held in loving kindness and no matter what, we will be ok. The amount of privilege and opportunity I have in my life is simply ridiculous. I knew deep down that if I was going to be of any service to my Dad, my Mum, my brother, ANYONE I needed to sort my shit out. I needed to remember but I couldn’t do it on my own.

I found Barefoot yoga, a short walk from both the hospital. Barefoot yoga became my sanctuary and I remembered why yoga studios are so damn important (and it’s not about physical practice). 

For an hour and a half I could be present, get out of my own sorry stories and practice pure devotion. Sure I could have done this on my own but the thing was, I felt so hopeless I could hardly find motivation to dress myself. I needed someone to tell me what to do. 

I sweated and struggled my way through the Ashtanga primary series (it had been a while) and the fog lifted. I’d come home. I gave thanks for all of the incredible people in my life, all the love and support and kindness I’m offered every moment, my family, my own health, this incredible physical vessel, my body, that is somehow contorting itself into Marichyasana D. 

As the class ended the woman behind me commented on my practice and a heartwarming connection began, right there on that sweaty floor. Amy had also lived in Sydney for many years before her Dad became ill and she moved back. We talked about the challenges of splitting your life over oceans. About family, purpose, love, responsibility and the guilt of leaving. As I walked back to the hotel the world seemed brighter. Nothing had changed externally but I was aware enough to notice the crocuses pushing through the damp soil. The way the light streamed down in ‘god rays’ onto the skeleton trees.

So that’s it really. When everything falls apart, a yoga studio is somewhere you can find True Refuge. A place of love and acceptance, filled with people who will listen, support and bear witness to YOU just as you are without judgement.  Barefoot Yoga was there for me, and I hope Soul Tribe can be there for you. Through the blissful and the painful times. Through sadness and joy. Through this exquisite dance of life. Remember, you are loved, you belong. You’ve found your tribe.

Clare Lovelace