It’s 2007. Bare feet plot a course across plywood floors, laid with my own hands, to the the front of the Hell’s Kitchen yoga studio. A massive picture window overlooks the avenue, glowing with late-day sun that pours into the room, warming my back as I ease onto the teacher’s mat.
Forty bodies, from all walks of humanity, follow suit. A 60-something breast-cancer survivor with a shock of silver hair who’s shared this space hundreds of times. A young dancer, vying for a shot at Broadway. Next to her, a surprisingly stretchy bond trader finds his seat, criss-cross-apple-sauce.
“Eyes closed,” I offer to the room.
Lids slide shut. We sit together in silence as all comers ease into their breath, preparing the space for many to become one. The room begins to rise and fall, a growing haze of collective exhales coats the massive slab of glass that protects us from the elements. Winter’s chill upon the outer pane gathers sweat into tears that weep jaggedly down the great divide.
A soft hush of applause makes its way into the silence, growing louder. The voices of hundreds of thousands, far in the distance. Effervescent as the unmistakable words of Martin Luther King, Jr. float into the crowd and find their way through speakers in this room of practice and connection and reflection.
It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. day. And as I’ve done each prior MLK day since 2001, I turn the opening meditation over to King.
We begin at the famed “I have a dream.” sequence, which I’ve since learned was largely improvised.
These words. Chills. I’m near tears every time I hear them.
But it’s not Dr. King’s dream that moves me, it’s the action it inspired. The raw power and possibility. The impact of moving beyond the dream and making manifest your vision in the world.
This place, where we sit, I realize is just that.
It exists not because I had a dream, but because I did something about it. That doesn’t make me in any way special. But I’ve come to realize it does make me different.
Everyone “has a dream.”
Dream’s are worthless without action. Even worse.
Dreams denied cause more suffering than good.
Nobody gives a damn about your dream.
People want to see what you’ll DO in the name of it.
How do we honor Dr. King on this day?
Don’t just have a dream. Live it.
Rise up to claim it. Breathe life into it.
Turn aspiration into perspiration and realization.
So, you have a dream. Who cares?
What will do you do with that dream?
And when will you begin?
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