Who are YOU?
Introducing oneself is a deceivingly simple task. For now, you will know me as “Alice”. Perhaps you are familiar with “Wonderland” and the fantastic characters that call it their home. I like to think of it as a place that represents a variety of societies and communities, in order to provide people with a point of comparison when thinking about their own homes and social groups. How wonderful it is, to be able to shift your perspective and consider how your community looks to an outsider, or how you, as an outsider, are viewed by the rest of the new community you hope to join. This process requires a great deal of change to occur, whether it’s viewed by day, by week, by month, by year, by events, or by a lifetime, an individual’s mind and body changes fairly often, which in turn, changes the broader community. In the same way Alice experienced a great deal of change growing taller and smaller while adapting to new situations and circumstances in Wonderland, I have observed similar transformations in myself.
After becoming a part of the Sangha Space community, I have started to view myself differently and understand a deep connection between poor mental health and lack of movement. It is obvious to me now that immobility leads to and reinforces poor mental/emotional health, and mobility directly connects to good mental/emotional health. Throughought my time in college, I had suffered brief, but recurring, periods of deep sadness, doubt, uncertainty, fear, unworthiness, and lonliness. These feelings were reinforced by immobility, fatigue, and laziness. Spending too much time on the computer, in front of the TV, or in my own head was disrupting my mind – body connection and causing a negative spiral of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and powerlessness to plague my days. Luckily, I have come to understand that after 4 weeks of increasing my physical activity, connecting to my body and my breath, learning new skills, and meeting new people, I have gained the tools to cope with my emotions in more constructive and empowering ways. This is a path that I will continue to navigate and reflect upon as I wander on this journey and experiment with a valuable role in a new community and gain new insights about who I am and want to be.
Through practicing yoga and tango, while becoming an engaged member of the movement community, I am willing to explore and find out more about who I am. These physical experiences contain metaphysical elements that are difficult to explain verbally, but allow individuals that time and space to investigate their identity as it relates to physical, mental, and emotional well-being and helps them to connect to the larger community. Stretching the body, strengthening the mind, and socializing with others are necessary experiences to reinforce the mind – body connection that is used as a foundation for experimenting with identity and how you view or treat yourself.
Using the time in yoga and tango to focus on yourself and how you relate to others is valuable in establishing identity and also embracing change. A new sense of empowerment and bravery can be tapped into by anyone willing to undergo the process of reflection, change, careful listening, observation, expression through voice and movement, and connection (mind-body, or with others). I view the willingness to experiment and discover how you view yourself, how others view you, and how you want to be viewed as acts of courageous self-love. In these classes, I have found a safe space for experimentation and investigation of who I am, how I feel in my body, where I want to be, and what I want to feel like, and how I am changing. Seeking balance between my mind and body is an ongoing process, and I embrace the opportunity for this valuable learning experience. I extend an invitation to the reader to explore your own mind-body connection and how it relates to your identity and sense of community.
So now I ask: Who are YOU?