It was the longest, strangest and most drawn-out goodbye I’ve ever had. It was also the most beautiful. If you missed it, picture this: beloved friends with masked faces- some community members we’d not seen in years- standing in line along the sidewalk at blue to go in one last time and light a candle, pause in the space, touch bare feet to her floor, send a prayer to the heavens and drop a message into the fire. The hawk, the wild wind, the sudden storm. Beautiful souls, getting soaked in the pouring rain, singing. Where does this happen? Who does this? We do. That’s right. This is who we are.

On the evening of the open house, and in letters and emails I’ve received before and since, I’ve heard stories of how so many people first came to blue lotus. I’ve gotten to hear how they were drawn, why they stayed, and the chapters of life lived through and supported by those four walls and the many souls who shared the space. What a gift. There’s so much that I witnessed first hand and had the gift of sharing along the way, but so, so much more happened that unfurled silently in the hearts and lives of community members that is only now coming to light.

If you attended the last class I taught from the studio, I shared one particular story from a brilliant woman I’ve known since before there was even an idea of blue. She followed me to to the studio all those years ago, and journeyed in from out of town to say her last goodbye. Her story, in short, was this:

When I starting coming to the studio in the beginning, there was all this talk about community. I didn’t get it. I mean, this is just where you come and take a yoga class. I didn’t even know what community was. But now I do. And I learned it here.

I’ve thought about that conversation quite a lot because I didn’t know what community was when I started all of this, either. I just knew it was a big part of the whisper from the universe of HERE and NOW all those years ago. It was an intention I held, but I didn’t really understand what it meant or have the first idea about what community could really be. I couldn’t picture it or describe it because we had not yet brought it into being. But it was there all along, ready to form itself.

From my vantage point now, it is so clear. We needed a place. A space where friends were made. The kind of friends who know your soul, but maybe not your job. We needed four walls to come together and remember connectivity, service, laughter, love. Whether we were practicing asana, building fences, sorting potatoes, studying philosophy, raising voices, awareness, needed funds— everyone always showed up. To help. To share. To heal. We learned that we are in this together and how we show up counts. I think we needed all of that time together to build a skill set and create this beautiful net in order to get through the NOW.

And so, what is next? Now that we have found each other, created friendships, histories, bonds, memories? Now that we have reconciled the truth that we are not a building? Now, in this unprecedented moment in history, after which nothing will ever go back to how it was before, what are we? What do we want to do? To create? To be in the world?

These are the questions that are being asked of each of us as individuals. What do you stand for? What do you want your life to look like? Our society, our planet, our global community— what matters to you? Because it seems like the choices we make now may just save us or sink us.

And so I urge you to stay connected. To your practice and to each other. I’m asking you to help us reach our net wider and draw in those who need a place of refuge that cannot currently be found in four walls. I encourage you to deepen your understanding of the threads of injustice woven through the history of our country- that we can and must pull apart and reweave. And I implore you to recognize that as we write what is next for us as individuals, embracing the collective’s wellbeing in those decisions is essential: voices louder, minds more clear and open, hearts more full of love. 

I’ve said it before and here is is again: I don’t know what is next. But I believe that what we built is as important as ever, and we have the opportunity to be an example of how to be together; how to support and care about others; how to dive deeper, be more honest, and make this world a place in which we want to live. I have felt your support through this transition and I am grateful. Onward, my friends. One step at a time. Together.