All of us have been touched by the acts of terrorism in the world, the shootings in our city, drug use and violence that reaches into all our neighborhoods. The images and vivid reporting of these events weigh heavily on the minds and emotions of many of us, creating fear, sadness, anger, and often despair.
Both last year and this year, I have designated the donations given by those participating in the Yoga for the Winter Solstice class I teach to go to the Harrisburg Peace Garden Foundation. It seems especially appropriate this year to make this contribution.
If you have walked along Riverfront Park north of Maclay Street, you are familiar with the Harrisburg Peace Garden. You have seen the beauty of its flowers, the inspiring words of world figures carved into the stones resting among the plantings, the poignant sculptures along the beautiful Susquehanna. The garden was created in 1990 by the Harrisburg/Hershey Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the City of Harrisburg. The Peace Garden Fund was established to make sure the garden is preserved and maintained for future generations. The garden truly is a living monument honoring our interconnectedness with nature, with other cultures, with one another, and with generations to come.
Visually it moves us away from the images and soundbites that can draw us toward hopelessness. Instead it garners our attention, moving our focus to its colors, textures, and messages, and renews a sense of faith that we can live in harmony with the earth, other nations, and one another. It assures us that as we have peaceful hearts we bring greater peace into the world.
Yoga teaches that when we are suffering, we need to move our focus away from what causes our discomfort and towards its opposite. The opposite of violence is peace. In the candlelight of our Yoga for the Winter Solstice class we have the opportunity to pause in the midst of the holiday season’s busyness and honor both the quiet aspect of the winter season and the lighter energy it promises will come. As we seek lives of harmony and peace through yoga practice, it also seems right to let the visual reminder of the Peace Garden stand as a metaphor for what we wish to bring into our hearts.
I invite you to join me for Yoga for the Winter Solstice on Wednesday, December 16 at 5:45 pm at TMC wellness through movement, 2134 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg.