Monday, September 15, 2014

Lessons in Seva, Gratitude, Fun, and Love - The MS Challenge Walk

I have been involved with the National MS Society Challenge Walk in Southern California since the same year my yoga practice started: 2004. I raised the minimum donation ($2500) for TEN years, walking in all but one of the events (my son was born during the walk in 2009). This year, year 11, I was unable to commit the fundraising and unable to commit to the training, the time and effort it was going to take to prepare for the walk. With a son entering elementary school, a technology part-time job and a new yoga studio/coop blossoming, there was just no time.

But I couldn't give it up altogether. I squeezed in a few hours here and there to help build a blog for the people who wanted to map out training plans and schedules, and ran a fundraiser for some friends who were doing the walk.

But even that wasn't enough. I still wanted to be part of the event. After 10 years of sharing 72 hours with an amazing group of teachers, moms, lawyers, scientists, fathers, children, cousins, partners brothers, philanthropists, friends, families, and therapists all walking for a a cure, I couldn't NOT spend time with them. I needed to see these people I have grown to adore, support, befriend...the ones with whom I've laughed, cried, blistered, ate, slept (the snoring kind), and for lack of a better word, BONDED.

For a few years prior while also being a walker, I volunteered to do the (very) early morning (humor-based) pre-walk stretch at the starting line and for the 2nd day of walking (by day three, there's more groaning and sense of urgency than there is patience to wait for someone to lead a stretch!). That means I had the unique and humbling opportunity to strut my yoga stuff on a (small) stage in front of (a few hundred) people, make jokes, and basically support them with as much love as one can muster balancing on one foot, reaching high into the air, and singing along to some pop inspirational tune at a very early hour.

So this year, I made sure to make my intention of leading the stretch clear. And thankfully, they took me up on my offer. Allow me to share a few photos that deepen my smile -asana every time I look at them!
YNW and Team Diane colors.

Okay, everyone, hands on your hips...

...lunge to the left...

...lean to the right...

...again to the left...

...wait, I mean to the right...

oh heck, squat in the middle...

...then take flight!

Partner yoga for 170? SURE!

Captain Morgan Arrrrgh-asana!

Thank you to the Pacific South Coast Chapter of the National MS Society for allowing me to continue to be part of this amazing event. Thank you to all the teams that have walked with me, fundraised with me, befriended me each and every year - I cherish you. Thank you family and friends who have donated funds and time, effort and love to create the space for this to happen. Thank you universe for leading me on the path to find this amazing event, these amazing people, and even be able to share yoga with them. Thank you son and spouse who supported me in this time and heart consuming venture. Until there is a cure, this is why we (they) walk.

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