Monday was the first night of the 5 week Tapas series. We started by each sharing a crazy, far-fetched dream. It seemed like a risky question to me. Once I say it, then it’s out there, people hear you, and in the back of my mind I fear they will think; “Seriously, you? That is definitely far-fetched.” There were some really great dreams; doing art everyday, being your own boss, travel, publishing a book, and lots of other awesome dreams. I also fear that these witnesses, the people who heard me say this dream will by their sheer presence in my life, hold me accountable to stepping towards it.
I said that I would like to complete an Ironman race. Guh. I felt like a total poser saying it (and an even more desperate poser saying it here) because I haven’t ran for even a minute in months. I’m a complete chicken on a road bike with those ridiculously skinny tires. I bought a great road bike a year or so ago with the intention of doing triathlons, but have yet to actually ride it because I am so afraid of falling off of it. The only thing I have been doing is swimming. I have a long history of swimming and I know that I can most definitely swim.
I asked us all to share a far-fetched dream because TAPAS is the willingness and determination to take the first step towards the dream, regardless of how many other steps come after. Tapas is the willingness and determination to show up and be present in the midst of challenge and life in general. That challenge might be a far-fetched dream, like an Ironman, or it might be be far from a dream like; chemotherapy, divorce, quitting a job, getting sober, finding help for depression. Regardless of the challenge, you have to decide every day, some days every moment, to keep showing up in the challenge — that determination and decision is tapas.
The theme this week was SANGHA, which in yoga-speak is community. But, it’s community like a monastic order that “practices” together. Our tapas yoga class will be a sangha. We will practice yoga together, encourage, and hold each other accountable when we are in a difficult pose and we just want to collapse in a puddle. If yoga was so easy to do at home with a video then we wouldn’t need the billions of yoga studios in the world. Practicing yoga in a class – in a community – makes all the difference. We talked about community because it is one of the best ways to strengthen our willingness & determination; tapas.
Weight Watchers works not only because of counting points but also because you are doing it with other people who are also trying to lose weight. I have friends who want to write, so they are part of a writing group that encourages and holds them accountable to writing. The power of community to help people face challenges is obvious when you look at Alcoholics Anonymous.
I’ve been thinking about my far-fetched dream of an Ironman and my need for community all week. I was part of a triathlon club years ago at a YMCA in southern California. I have been using the lack of such a club in my life as an excuse for why I can’t get started. Maybe I need to find it or make it? Guh. Did I just say that out-loud? Shit.
I invite you, whoever you are, to think about what a difference a sangha or community might make for you to keep showing up in the midst of the challenges you face. Who knows what might happen? I might even end up falling off my bike because of it. But, thank God I will have finally gotten my chicken butt on the bike.
peace on your fine head,