Answering the Call: Thank You for Your Generosity!

Last year I attended a retreat by writer and dream-worker, Toko-pa Turner. It was my gift to myself before our second baby was to join our family, and it was exactly what I needed. Much of her retreat shared snippets of wisdom from her book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home. (There are so many pearls of insight infused in this read! I highly recommend).

Now, as I venture out more fully into the world with this wellness studio, deepening my work in community stewardship, I continue to find solace in her words. Growing up as an adoptee in a town with little diversity by way of ethnicity, a big part of my life's work has been around answering questions like, "Where do I belong?" "How do I belong?" "Who is my community?"

Throughout my teens and early twenties I spent a lot of time in what Toko-pa calls communities of "false belonging"--places where I gave up parts of myself in exchange for membership of the group. And sometimes STILL to this day I find myself drawn to those places, people and programs, that dangle shiny promises of belonging. I find myself drawn to a program of study, not just for the learning but for the "family" that comes along with it. There is something of comfort for me there. Student life whether formally or informally is a place where I am comfortable--being guided by a teacher, immersed in study surrounded by other lifelong learners and enthusiasts. 

As I read Toko-pa's book, I am reminded of the delicate process of what it means to build community. She mentions, "It may seem obvious, but two things are absolutely necessary to creating community over the long term: someone willing to take the lead and invite others to gather, and someone willing to answer that call."

She goes on to say, "answering the call is also a kind of generosity. Beyond receiving what the other is offering, it is also a way of giving  relevance to their [the leader's] efforts. It says that no matter how busy or tired I might be, community with you is important to me..." and "with enough calls made, and enough answers to those calls, the fabric of community is eventually woven."

Thank you for answering that call. Thank you for showing up when you are busy and tired, even at those times your teacher couldn't make it to the studio ;) We are so lucky to have you.

I am so grateful for the people who have stepped forward to make this studio a possibility, generously offering your gifts and presence to help lift us up. Thank YOU. I also want to thank our building owner Dave, whose vision for this space is less wrapped into money and more heart-centered and community driven. We could not do this work without your support and trust in our process. While I'm here, I also want to thank our teachers, both regular teachers and visiting teachers, for taking the time out of your lives to answer the call to share what teachings are alive in you with others. And of course, I want to thank our students (who are also our teachers, friends and family). We are now into our third month open and it has been great to meet you and spend time with you in this way.

A glimpse at our most recent workshop with guest teacher, Angie Fern. Catch our next Foam Roller & Tennis Balls Workshop in March:  Register Here .

A glimpse at our most recent workshop with guest teacher, Angie Fern. Catch our next Foam Roller & Tennis Balls Workshop in March: Register Here.

A new student found our 30 for $39 deal online and on a whim decided to sign up. She mentioned to another student, "I feel like I belong here." This feeling of belonging she shared is not something that I could create alone. It comes directly from our community. We are all in this together and this is what will sustain our model. There is still plenty of work ahead of us to keep this good thing going, but on dreary days it seems more manageable when I know I am not going at it alone.

The people who are showing up, answering the call with their generosity and with their hearts remind me of why I do the work I do, which leaves me with another quote from Toko-pa, "Leadership is essential to community, but in the reciprocal model, this role can rotate between members depending on the needs of the group. Unlike the way we normally think of leadership, as one person telling others what to do, reciprocal leadership is about engaging everyone to find the way forward. It is spherical in nature rather than hierarchical. In this way of seeing things, a great leader is an expression of their collective, not the star...Reciprocal leadership ultimately recognizes the circle itself as the teacher."

Thank you, for being on this journey with me and our Moon River community. Thank you for being part of the circle! 

With gratitude,

Kali

What's happening at the Center?

Hello everyone! Welcome to our first blog! 

First off, thank you for all your support and words of encouragement as we expand. In just a few days of creating our Facebook invitation for our New Studio Open House over 2,100 people were reached without boosting (paying Facebook to advertise) or notifying anyone (inviting people). Your response so far has warmed my heart, and I am grateful for you. The last few weeks have been something else--lots of coordination and meetings, and yet there is a sort of effortlessness that has risen from the process as well. 

I discovered through different jobs and in life--and you may relate, too--that hard work is required for anything you are passionate about, but when things are really in alignment, there is a level of ease that comes into play--some people call it being in "flow." It has been such a joy in the past month to find flow as we ride the waves of uncertainty and see what shows up, holding steady to a vision and a mission. We are committed to co-create a place where people can deepen their inner knowing, spirituality and community relationships with the support of ongoing classes, programs, retreats and workshops focused in cultivating mindfulness and mind-body-spirit connection. In a society where people are glued to electronics, there is a call for more opportunities for genuine connection to both ourselves and to others--and we hope this studio will facilitate more opportunities for people to call in deeper relationships and meaning into their lives. 

It seems that people are on board with this mission as, in just a couple weeks I interviewed 7 yoga and meditation teachers and 5 of them are on board to start in November with me, and the other two may possibly join us for the Winter Schedule. I also started a conversation by chance with local tai chi practitioner and long-time meditation circle leader from our community about how they may be involved with bringing this place to life and look forward to whatever collaboration may form there. It truly takes a village.

As far as progress goes with the physical space--this past weekend we removed the current flooring to give ourselves a fresh start. The floor was well-loved, but we felt compelled to "break ground" in order to re-center and provide a strong base for our intentions and practice. The new floors are ordered, and we will pick them up later this week and install them over the weekend if all goes according to plan. Our family also put a trip on the books to go to Madison, Wisconsin to pick up a special altar and shelf that are being custom made with re-purposed wood by the talented hands and heart of a new friend I made at the Sisters Seekers Gathering. It takes a village.

The teachers bios and class descriptions are slowly being uploaded online so be sure to keep checking back. Also, as of last Friday, we have a working schedule you can take a look at as you plan out your weeks ahead! Of course our least favorite--or mine anyway--is the whole money deal--can this all just be FREE? (Maybe someday?) But for now, I'm getting all those details set up and organized and will hope to have some more information as to what to budget for as we open our doors for classes and how to pay for a class, etc. Patience, patience, patience--a constant practice in my life.

For those wanting to offer some extra support during this time--do yourSELF a favor and sign up for our lovely guest, Anna Wien's Ayurvedic Self Care Rituals workshop, happening Tuesday, October 17. Your mind, body and spirit WILL thank you. Plus, feel good about attending because you are supporting an individual/business/organization that is devoted to ethical practices and care for the land and the greater community.  Did you know Anna only moved to Minnesota a year and a half ago? It was then she met local herbalists in the Twin Cities who explained to her there was no established place for them to get organic herbs--they were harvesting from land laden with toxic chemicals and industrial waste. Compelled to fill a need, she quit her job that December to begin planning a new herb farm. She started planting early last April without really a clue how it would all go--and since then it's history--her work has been so well received by the community this past year she has already sold out of all her bulk supplies. Anna truly embodies the essence of the mindful entrepreneur but most important of a compassionate human being.  Simply being around her grounded energy and presence when I first met her was enough to make me want to encourage her to drive to Stillwater and bring her magic to share with our community. Since she loves offering her work with new people, it wasn't too hard to convince her to come. So, let's give her a warm welcome by attending her workshop. ALSO: an added bonus is you will get to come into the new studio early~a little sneak preview before our open house! Can't wait to see you there :)

Over and out ~

Kali