Monday, August 25, 2014

What Is Inspiration?

Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues,
nor in cathedrals:
not in masses,
nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
― Kabir
I've always loved this poem by Kabir. Inspire means both to breathe in, but also to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Inspire: the breath inside the breath.

We all have our motivations, our inspirations. As part of the media coverage for my upcoming yoga festival and fundraiser, I've been asked several times what inspired me to create this event, or to begin to work with people who have a cancer diagnosis in the first place.

Over 20 years ago I lost someone very important to me. My grandmother was a big influence on me as I grew up. Petite in stature, but larger than life, Katherine ("Kay") Souza taught me many things about life: never back down from a fight for justice, always deadhead vegetables - they do better when pruned, actions speak louder than words (but her words were always pretty loud), and there is always a solution to any problem. These are just some of what she taught me over the years. In my early twenties, she was diagnosed with cancer. She attacked it as she did any problem, but it eventually proved too great for her. We, her family, were not always the best caregivers for her. She was a complicated woman and her children rallied as best they could, but I still saw places where we could have supported her more. I remember thinking, there has to be a better way to go through this. Her death shook me, and it splintered our family.

I know she would have appreciated some of the tools that are available now to people going through cancer: support groups, nutrition guidance, exercise groups, massage, guided imagery and mindfulness, etc. I know that we, her caregivers, could have used some help, too.

I'm so happy to know that now there are tools available. I think of her each time I step into Cancer CAREpoint's resource center to teach my weekly yoga for cancer survivorship classes.

She is my inspiration. She is my breath within my breath.

Everyone has a story about cancer. We have all been touched in some way - some of us filter the experience through our loved ones, some of us have had a diagnosis ourselves. It's good to know that we have resources now that can help all of us.

On Saturday, September 13, I'll be producing the event Pose 4 a Purpose Yoga Festival and Fundraiser. This all-day yoga festival will be held at Vasona, a facility of Santa Clara County Parks, and will raise funds for Cancer CAREpoint.

It would be wonderful to see all of us touched by cancer come out and support each other. If you are a lover of yoga, then buy a ticket and practice with us on the lawn, trail or lake. If you are someone who would rather be in service, then sign up for one of our volunteer spots. (It really does take a village to put a festival on!)

I'd love to hear about what inspires you, what is your "breath within the breath" that motivates you to practice yoga or be in service.