It is an annual tradition of summer yoga camp to take the oldest campers out one day for a couple hours to feed the homeless.
This year 2021 we are still in a pandemic from Covid and so the need is even greater as so many people have suffered great losses in the past couple years.
When we came back to Unity of Richmond the older campers laid down for yoga nidra or deep relaxation.
I began a visualization called Homeless Dancing:
You are sitting on a street corner – it is a hot summer day and your belly is dry with the heat of thirst and hunger that feels heavy. Everyone you knew has abandoned you and left you here alone on the street. Survival is your every breath.
You haven’t bathed in weeks. Your clothes unchanged in months. Filth is the garment you wear now and it covers you like a cloak that has made you all but invisible to the rest of the world.
Then in this moment, this very moment something changes.
Deep inside of your aching heart a small voice can be heard.
You get quieter. Your stillness is like the stone statues in the median.
You listen as the cars pass and the people on the street pass you by.
You listen as their eyes look down on you with the burn of judgement, pity, and disgust.
You listen as you hear this tiny voice saying to you, “You are a light of God, a light of the Universe, a light of Spirit.”
You sit up straighter, your sign of plea, a faded bent cardboard sign that says two words, “Help Me” you hold tighter in your hands.
“You are a Light” the voice whispers louder.
“Look around you, everyone is a light, the people passing you by, the dogs on leashes, the trees, the flowers and grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalk all are lights.”
You look around you and something pulls you to stand.
Dizzy with thirst and hunger you begin to spin and soon you are dancing.
The light inside of you glows brighter and brighter until it is all around you and for the first time in so long, a smile like a child’s grows across your face.
You are not alone.
You are a Light connecting you to every living thing.
The music of unity fills you with a beat and a rhythm.
Some people passing by stop and they dance with you.
Some people in cars pull over and join you too.
The sidewalk fills with people dancing, lights dancing, singing breaks out and the light grows and the light grows.
A child moves through the crowd calling out to you, “I will help you.” They hand you a bagged lunch and water.
And the voices echo “we will help you” and you are dancing, and you are dancing right off the street.
No longer a homeless dancer for you listened to the voice of your heart
And that is the voice we must learn to listen to.
Please help feed and care for our homeless for they are a light like you and I. They are our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, they are our children who should never have been left behind.
After Yoga Nidra, the older campers randomly choose an inspiration card for their journaling writing prompt. The one I picked was the one you see here, Dancing. I got chills. I couldn’t believe it. The Universe and I were indeed dancing in that moment and I felt affirmed. As Mary Oliver wrote in her book of essays Upstream, “May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the Universe, tiny but useful”. Jai!