June 11, 2019

The River of Practice

Each drop of water makes the river what it is.

I often think of my life as a river. In that river, each practice on and off my mat—each asana, each seated meditation, each recitation of a mantra, each conscious encounter with another—is a drop. This metaphor connects me of the greater purpose whenever it feels utterly silly or tremendously uninteresting to wake up early, or to pause in the midst of a very hectic day, and “do” the practice. After all, a river with one less drop in it, what difference would it make? Well, it’s ultimately a less potent body of water.

But here’s the thing: Every being who comes across my path in this practice also becomes a drop in my life-river. Every practice you show up for feeds the stream. Every class, every immersion, every festival, every workshop I offer in any and all of the countries is a drop. So this river is continually growing as we collectively create a fierce flow together, as we wend our way through this wild life supporting each other in living in kindness, growing in the practice and helping others navigate the ebb and flow of it all.

My home river is a place I’ve returned to for eighteen years now. Every bend and every rock has become familiar, even as I’ve watched the drops multiply and the river rise. I’m not unaware of what an honor it is to show up and cultivate those branching waterways of practicing communities elsewhere. And yet I’m always so humbled and grateful to return home and feel the force and strength of this river we’ve made strong together.

I’m out on the road so much this summer; and yet at any opportunity I have to come home to bathe in our home river—to flow with you all in new love, broken hearts, wounds healing, life being born, life leaving a body, and all the living in between—is an extraordinary gift. These rivers near and far all eventually meet, in the great ocean of compassion.

Until then, thank you.  I’m humbled. I hope to see you in practice this summer.


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