There's only one thing I can think of to write about this week: Japan.
Wondering what the tragedy in Japan has to do with yoga and food?
For me, food is about nothing if not connection--between us, the earth, those who grow our food, and those we share it with. And yoga, too, is about union--of light and dark; of mind, body and soul; of the individual and the universal--yoga is connection.
In times of great suffering, what gets us through it is a sense of connection. I experienced this firsthand last year when I organized a Bakesale for Haiti
in response to the horrible earthquake there that expanded beyond my wildest dreams, ultimately raising close to $23,000 for relief efforts. My initial goal with the project was to raise $5,000, but even more than the incredible fundraising success of the endeavor, I was struck by the community's reaction to the project. Everywhere I turned, people thanked me. I didn't really understand why, though, until a few weeks had passed and I'd had a chance to think about it.
Knowing that others are suffering can throw anyone off course, and watching the scenes of destruction from thousands of miles away had left people feeling helpless, confused, and disconnected. Sending a text message or check to a faceless organization, though important, is anything but empowering. It can feel robotic, and doesn't do much to let people relate to one another on the most basic human levels.
Though it might seem frivolous to some, organizing a bakesale seemed like the natural thing for me to do, since all of the work I do stems from a desire to create community around food. Bakesales are warm, unintimidating, and they give people something to do, by baking, by coming out and buying a cookie and a cup of coffee, and by spending time with others instead of at our computer screens.
People were thanking me because I had unwittingly empowered them to create positive change. One of my favorite quotes is by Howard Zinn, who said "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." Can baking a pan of brownies stop a nuclear meltdown across the ocean? No. But after seeing what's possible with last year's bakesale, I have no doubt that if we all come together and create a bit of beauty, community, and positivity, even in the smallest way, we can definitely catalyze magnificent change and transform the world.
In light of the success of last year's fundraiser, I have put together a Bakesale for Japan
, which started with several locations across the Bay Area, but has spread across the country. I'd like to invite you to come take part and connect with your community in an effort to enact positive change.