We had an amazing group of people in attendance at our Holiday Wine and Chi on December 8th. The pot luck offerings were especially delicious, thanks so much to all who contributed! Click here for the root vegetable minestrone recipe.

As supper wrapped up Kelly Jean shared a quote that sparked a lively and thoughtful discussion:

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful. – Thomas Merton

This quote became a springboard for conversations about how to let go of the momentum of day to day life and learn to make choices that support a happier and healthier existence.  Many of those in attendance shared their experiences battling the demons of expectation, and the dangers of expending so much of our precious energy engaged in mental conflicts about the choices that we make as well as those that others make.  Catie reminded us of the following story:

Two monks were on a pilgrimage. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping, because she was afraid to cross the river without help. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman.

But the older monk picked up the woman without a word and carried her across the river. He put her down on the far side and continued his journey. The younger monk came after him, scolding him and berating him for breaking his vows. He went on this way for a long time.

Finally, at the end of the day the older monk turned to the younger one. “I only carried her across the river. You have been carrying her all day.

Learning to notice when the mind is in conflict, beginning to make choices to support a more peaceful existence is valuable work but it isn’t easy.  We acknowledged the courage required to act from a place of truth even when we know these choices might not be appreciated by those around us, even those who love us.  It’s such a joy and a gift to have the support of a community willing to engage in these conversations and support one another in our growth.  Mission Yoga was founded on the pillars of meditation and movement, as well as creativity, community and inquiry.  We hope that this conversation will carry on and be revisited by those present at Wine and Chi as well as those who couldn’t attend.  Here are a few other links that were mentioned during the discussion:

Op Ed from the New York Times

This awesome kid’s Ted Talk

Logan LaPlante’s Ted Talk above brings up some great points about broadening the scope of traditional education to acknowledge the value of the body, heart and the soul as much as the thinking mind.  Alex, Shelly and Gary spoke to the work they are doing through the yoga program at Mitchell Elementary.  They are hoping to expand the program to other schools, so anyone who is interested in learning more about supporting that process can reach out to Ashley at info@wearemissionyoga.com and she’ll get you in touch with the folks who can help you make great things happen for local kids.  Even if now is not the time for you to volunteer, we can all nurture and guide ourselves to be the change we’d like to see in the world. and through that example give others permission to embrace their own paths.

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. – John Lennon

Big love to all in attendance last night.  It wouldn’t have been the same with out each and every one of you!  Wine and Chi pot lucks take place on the second Sunday of every month, so the next one will be Sunday, January 12, 2014.  Looking forward to sharing food, drink, conversation, energy, light and love with you all again very soon!