I am in Washington D.C. after a week in St. Louis, Missouri. I had such a great time, and my heart is filled with so much joy.
I was in Missouri for a dear friend’s wedding, and it was such a delight and honor to be included in her special day. She and I have known one another since I was about 14 years old, and we were roommates for a couple of years from around age 18 to 20. She is one of the very few people whom I keep in contact with from those days in my life, and she is the only person from that time that I keep in regular contact with.
She and I went through some very intense years together. For me, knowing what I did and what I went through during that time of my life, it is a miracle that I came out alive. Many of our friends did not. A couple nights before the wedding, we were flipping through photo albums, “That person is dead, that person is dead,” became a sad mantra as we looked at the photos from our high school and college days.
Being with my friend and her partner leading up to the wedding was such a gift. They are great together, and I saw how wonderfully they balance one another. After having seen my friend go through some really bad relationships, it makes my heart sing with joy to see her with someone who is so caring, supportive, and kind.
The wedding ceremony was wonderful and so much fun. They did their ceremony like a talk show, game show format with questions and answers, which were hilarious. It was such a fun way to see who they are together and created a sense of play and lightheartedness in the ceremony, which is the first time I ever experienced that in the actual ceremony.
I also got to see two friends from back in my Jonesboro, Arkansas days whom I had not seen in a very long time. And I got to see my friend’s parents whom I have known over all these years as well because her mom was my art teacher for many years and her dad has actually been involved and helping on the campaign to Save South Central Farm (www.southcentralfarmers.org). It was interesting to feel the time warp of on one hand, feeling like no time at all had passed, and yet on the other, feeling like I am totally different person.
Leading up to the wedding, I did media and an event for a wonderful organization, Operation Food Search (www.ofsearch.org). Operation Food Search (OFS) provides food for over 120,000 people a month, nearly half of which are children, who would otherwise go hungry and malnourished. OFS reclaims food that is still nutritious and would otherwise be thrown away and reclaims home items that would end up as waste and refurbishes them and sells them to raise money for more food. They recognize that there is no such thing as waste, no throw away food, no throw away resources, and no throw away people.
The benefit that I did was catered by two local, fabulous businesses. It is incredibly exciting to see such conscious businesses in places like St. Louis. The lunch was sandwiches catered by Local Harvest, a store and café that sources as much local food as they can. They work with local farmers and local food artisans, for things like bread, cheese, and jams and canned foods. Although they are not vegetarian or vegan, they are highlighting local farms, farmers, and food artisans, and they made a very delicious vegan and vegetarian lunch for all who came to the benefit—many of whom told me it was the first time they had heard about veganism—and that they loved the lunch, thought it was delicious, and were rethinking their food choices and how that impacts our world. For dessert, we had the most incredibly delicious vegan carrot cupcakes from a wonderful café and art gallery called, Sweet Art. Can, I say, “YUM! WOW! Freakin’ AMAZING!” Oh, MY!!!! Truly, the most delicious, moist, and light cupcakes I have ever had in my life—vegan or non-vegan. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Can you tell?
It was a wonderful week, following on the heels of a fabulous weekend at the Midwest Yoga Conference. I had a great time there offering a talk, co-leading a workshop with the funny and great Yoga teacher and co-founder of the Midwest Yoga Conference, Jonny Kest, and being on a panel and taking a class with the absolutely fabulous and remarkable Seane Corn, Yoga teacher extraordinaire and founder of Off The Mat (www.offthematintotheworld.org).
I am feeling so filled up from my time over the last week and a half, and am really happy to be here in D.C. with 6 young leaders/facilitators and 20 young people committed to stepping up their effectiveness and leadership.
Even in the midst of the challenges and struggles I experience, I am never very far away from the gratitude I feel for being so incredibly blessed that this is my life.
Here is to my dear friends and, “Wuv! Twu Wuuuv!” (A Princess Bride reference for those of you who might have seen this classic, one of my all-time favorites.) Here is to Yoga and Service and those who recognize how vitally they work together, and here is to recognizing that there is no such thing as “waste.” And really, at the end of the day, if you synthesize all of this down, it is all about Wuv, twu wuuuuv in Action!