Last night I had the pleasure of performing a couple of songs at a Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at the women’s shelter at the Armory in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I’ve been going to a community meeting there every week for the last two years, so I felt honored to be asked to partake in the festivities this year. The women’s shelter has a special place in my heart.
The atmosphere of the event was warm, with heartfelt performances from adults and children alike, and delicious hot chocolate with marshmallows, yum! It’s good to feel like I’m a part of the community here. It feels essential right now.
The Armory has been a big part of my life in other ways too for the last few years, as I’ve been going to the YMCA, located in the same building, almost on a daily basis. Last week when I was there for my yoga class, something powerful happened. We were doing the tree pose––a basic standing balance pose on one foot, and the teacher asked us to close our eyes. This is quite challenging, and I for one can’t stand on one leg with my eyes closed for very long without falling. To prove a point, the teacher then asked all of us students to do the same pose again, but this time standing in line next to each other, placing our hands on each others’ shoulders. He then asked us to close our eyes once more. This time I could have stayed in that balancing position forever, even though we still had no support but each other. None of us were holding on to any steady object, but we kept each other steady, effortlessly. Despite not even knowing each other, we held on to each other.
That simple exercise taught me a lot about trusting others, and the difference between trying to do something alone versus doing it together. Ever since then, when I do a balancing pose, I imagine myself holding to the shoulders of others close to me. It helps me stay focused and it keeps me from falling, even when I’m having a wobbly day.
In that spirit I performed last night for the women at the shelter, many of whom are fighting hard to get back on their feet. Many of my close friends from my community also showed up in good cheer. I felt like we were all holding on to each other, finding balance in a precarious time. It’s heartening to sense the feeling of togetherness strengthening day by day in this city. Yes, it’s been a rough month for sure, but we’re coming together to stand as a united front.