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January Meetup Recap: Multidimensional Healing | A Body+Soul Workshop

January’s meetup started 2022 with newly ignited energy thanks to this month’s speaker, Owl Rare. As a way to kick off the New Year at The Mixed Space (TMS), the meetup highlighted the importance of having yoga in your daily practice. Through discussion and a virtual body and soul workshop, we left the meetup with a prioritization for wellness, multidimensional presence, and ownership of our true selves. We discussed what it means to renew ourselves in the New Year by letting go of what no longer serves us and how peaceful forms of activism can decolonize our healing.

This month’s meetup kindly matched donations received for our speaker’s mission of choice, The Trevor Project. They are the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for the LGBTQIA+ community and provide many other services and resources online for those who are questioning. TMS aligns with their mission in wanting to create a sense of connectedness amongst different communities.

TMS founder Lili Stiefel (currently logged in from Ghana!) and our awesome emcee Ariel Bastida warmly welcomed and introduced this month’s speaker to an audience who zoomed-in from across the globe. As always, our hosts established our community guidelines so that everyone knew our best practices for engaging in dialogue that is safe, inclusive and welcoming in the space.
This month’s speaker was Owl Rare (they/them) from San Diego, CA. They are a multidimensional creative artist and health/mindfulness coach. Starting with a desire to heal, they first started teaching yoga at the park as a way to let go of past trauma in their life. In addition to having a strong passion for teaching yoga, Owl’s passions span from decolonizing wellness on Imani Yoga, a QTBIPOC-led virtual studio and YouTube channel, to hosting their podcast, QTPOC Talks, where in each episode they bridge the gap between media and Queer/trans artists.

It was a treat to us all to have a moment to stretch after a long day, as many of us spent it hunched over our desks, staring at screens, and many of us still having to stay at home. Owl started the meetup by leading us through a guided meditation, giving us a moment to focus on our bodies. Owl guided us in ways to cultivate joy, allowing it to radiate through us internally and then finally releasing it to the world. Our meetup began a little more grounded as natural human beings, instead of, as Owl pointed out, our daily “human doings.”

Described as “radical embodiment,” Owl said, “When you sit in the body, you create space in the soul.” Prioritizing the present, they guided us in the release of energy, with the encouragement that although feeling euphoric, we cannot hold on to it. Letting go is important in moving ourselves forward in our practice, daily lives, and self-evolution. After a cathartic stretch, we were all able to open our hearts.

We discussed how much we crave the intensity of a workout, but after our guided meditation we realized the ability to sit still is equally challenging and rewarding. This stillness can be seen as a new challenge: a confrontation of our fears, our guilt, what we’d like to change, and ultimately what we own. It is in this stillness that our inner truth is revealed to us. We see our shame and our inner conflict, but once we see it, we are no longer afraid. We can see ourselves move through life: our relationship, our progress, all in our breath.
Our conversation delved further into embodying peace as a form of activism. Decolonization is usually associated with force and rebellion, however when we decolonize wellness, it happens by way of our inner relationship speaking to our outer body experience, which is a peaceful endeavor. According to Owl, the ability to be multidimensional in our stillness is what breeds compassion. We can unlearn the ways in which we were conditioned by creating an inner foundation of understanding. This gives us the ability to be objective and open to new information without bias, which is the true purpose of TMS.

Owl revealed to us the guilt they experienced throughout their life prior to their transition as gender non-binary. Raised to be a Black “male..conditioned to see white as right,” they found themselves editing the way they spoke, dressed, and moved through spaces within a compulsory white standard. They explained it was through multidimensional yoga and taking that control from within that they truly began to love their Indigenous, Black, and queer self. Keeping that connection true to themselves is what keeps them on their path, continuing the conversation and decolonizing yoga practice with a sense of kindness and self worth. “Awareness,” they said, “lets you see your past.” When you are aware, only you can make the decision to move forward.

One story that resonated with the group came from first-time participant Dianna (also from San Diego). She asked Owl about how yoga could have played a role in the intergenerational trauma of her family. She explained how her family never had access to these practices growing up, as it was something that had been whitewashed and inaccessible. She wondered if her family had access to mindfulness and yoga, would they have been able to cultivate inner peace and pass it onto others? The group found it relatable territory, identifying with the oppression of being denied a practice that is now easily available through many virtual communities. With many Youtube channels and TikToks (like Owl’s) available, this new accessibility creates an even stronger sense of diversity and inclusion where trauma can be released and yoga can be valued for its original purpose.

As we begin the New Year at The Mixed Space, once again we appreciate everyone who came and contributed. Thank you for bringing your full selves to the conversation and for vulnerably sharing your experiences with our community. If there are any additional takeaways you have from this blog or this meetup, we’d love to hear from you.
Goodies from the Chat:

“It felt good to force a slow and intentional pace.”

“Wolves don't mess with Elephants, and Elephants don't eat bunnies. Non-predator and non-prey.”

“​​Wolves are scary because they cross boundaries that humans have set up in their mental constructs, and they offer a level of unknown and change/transition when they enter the landscape, but if you study them, they are incredibly loyal and loving to their family pack members. They are also good teachers, so much, if you take the time to ‘listen and observe’ They can teach us how to handle change.”

“As you’re taking time for yourself, the universe is taking time to create your perfect partner.”

“Keep finding you and loving you.”

“Omg yes unicorn supremacy!”

Links Shared:

February Meetup / The Journey of Mixed Identity
https://themixedspace.com/february-meetup-journey-of-mixed-identity/

Land Acknowledgement that TMS loves
https://cimcc.org/

Monthly Donation Organization: The Trevor Project
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Imani Yoga Studio and YouTube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXaiELIwUmaBdH6cmHypCoA

Links from the Chat:

Book - My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-grandmothers-hands-resmaa-menakem/1126613676

Body Positive Yoga Poses - Ample Movement on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/amplemovement/

The Underbelly - Jessamyn Stanley
https://theunderbelly.com/

Pastor John Gray's talk for one of Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sessions "The Bridge"
https://youtu.be/7Rk5WFj5rEQ

The Grapevine / The Pressure To Be Curvy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-clqslO66Jo

Tong Ren Station offers free healing sessions online for folks with health issues
http://www.tongrenstation.com

Information on white supremacy
https://www.westernstatescenter.org/

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(With downloadble booklet!)