One of the things I love most about MKY is our community -- no, make that family. We are blessed to have so many wonderful members. And we make a point of fortifying our connection by allowing time and space for sharing. We do this so that each of us can remember and feel that none of us is alone.
On Monday nights in my free online Meditation classes, students are invited to share with each other about their experience after each meditation. We get to hear about the aha moments and how the mind sometimes won't settle down. Whether it's a deep beautiful moment or an imperfect attempt, we share with each other about the journey of meditation.
On Thursday nights in Cate's Release the Stress of the Day online classes, we share what's weighing on us. We listen to each other and unburden ourselves.
At our Full Moon Events (most often led by Savitri and Cate), we share what we are ready to let go of. It always warms my heart to hear what our members share. Open and honest with no judgment. We hold space. We do not criticize or offer advice. You realize that whatever you are going through, you are not alone.
Years ago, I was in group therapy for 6 months (more on that in a future blog) and the most powerful thing I took away from that was that again, I was not alone. As bad a time that I was going through, other people had struggles too. I was not alone.
Sharing in all these experiences, I believe is such a powerful tool to help people heal.
In closing, I strongly encourage you to join our family and to be brave and share what you need to share, feel the support of a compassionate community and know that you are not alone.
Geoffrey Orozco (Geo), or Neo, as he came to be known, came to Montclair Kundalini Yoga when we first began our business. My connection with him went deep from that first moment when I knew I wanted to support his personal and spiritual development in any way that I could. Geo and I shared many passions. We both loved to dance, to heal, to teach.
Saturdays were my time with Geo, when he would come to my yoga class, and afterwards, we would talk, sometimes for hours, often going to the park. Sometimes he would come with his Mother or his sister and her children or dear friends. We would talk about spirituality and our plans to spread the light through our teaching, or we would practice Tai Chi and Chi Gung, or just walk. He taught me how to dance with his thunderbolt rods, as I liked to called them, slowly twirling two long rods in a graceful, synchronous, spiral motion. Geo believed in me. He believed in both Cate and myself as his spiritual mentors, and the funny thing is, we realize now that he was actually our teacher.
When I began to teach Chi Gung in the park, Geo was sometimes the only person who would come, but he would bring many friends and eventually brought his boom box so we could move gracefully to music, which became a staple element in our practice. More than two years passed and Geo was consistent in every way with his participation and support in whatever MKY offered and our friendship deepened.
Cate and I went to Geo’s “office”, which is what he called the Paterson Falls. The sound of the waterfall served as a musical backdrop to our meetings. Geoffrey talked to us about life, about spirituality and about our yoga business, with many good ideas for expansion which we utilized with success.
I’d once arrived at The Falls distracted and tense, neglecting to give Geo my customary hug. “Where’s the personal touch?” he admonished me, and I smiled and gave him my big warm hug. Hugs were just about the most important thing to Geo, something I will always remember and practice throughout my life. He lived his life for love, love for absolutely everyone. No one was beneath his love and support. Love was what was most important to Geo.
Geo had many, many friends that he brought to our yoga studio, which was such a joy. But no matter how many other friends he had, or I had, we knew our friendship was special. When we were together talking about spiritual matters, no distractions ever intruded into that vast space of awareness and we would both always feel renewed and reborn from this deep discourse.
On Labor Day, Geo left this world, so young, at his beloved Falls. Apparently, he left this world trying to help a woman in great need, both mentally and psychologically. But exactly how he slipped and how it happened, no one quite knows. We do know that he left this world at his favorite place doing what he most loved, helping a soul in need.
After that momentous night, amazing gatherings took place to honor Geoffrey in pure love and tribute; a memorial service that had dozens and dozens of people telling beautiful stories of their relationship with Geo. His Buddhist group chanted, Native American's danced and sang their sacred songs and burned sage. Shamans and yoga groups, performers and performance groups, Christian and Islamic groups, tee shirts printed with Geo's inspirational sayings were worn by many.... And tears... an ocean of tears! So many, many lives he changed for the better! Cate and I were so honored to be there and honored to share stories of our own about the love, appreciation and gratitude that Geo lived his life by as we listened to all the stories of what a rare soul of pure love Geoffrey was.
The next morning after his memorial service, I went up to the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts and spoke to Sri Mooji Baba, a spiritual teacher whom Geo was very devoted to. Mooji showered Geo with blessings and prayers, saying resolutely, “Geo’s beautiful spiritual progression continues uninterrupted!”
Later a beautiful, candlelight ceremony was held at his beloved Falls. At our yoga studio, many candles and chants are still being offered for his soul. We chant Akal, again and again, which means undying. We know he will be with us as we move forward – he is always one with us.
There was also a beautiful, well-attended Zen service for Geo at the Heart Circle Sangha in Ridgewood, NJ, presided over by Roshi Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts. Geoffrey told me he had visited the Heart Circle Sangha at one point, and I am a long time member. So we were able to hold a wonderful ceremony there, thanks to Joan.
On the Saturday before Geo had to leave us, he came to my yoga class at the very top of his potential, just blossoming with excitement about his spiritual mission. Cate and I were delighted to hear that he had just led a workshop for thirty people. Geo talked that last day about the many people who had benefited from his workshops and private teachings. We poured in our love and support and again suggested that he give workshops for our yoga community. We laughed so joyfully as we made plans to meet in Geoffrey’s “office”, which is how he referred to his beloved Paterson Falls. He walked out of the studio on cloud nine as I followed him into the parking lot, asking what I could do to support his mission. I go over and over those last moments in my mind. Each time I teach, I still look for him to walk through the door. He is with us and will always be with us as we move forward into the future.
Geoffrey arrived fully to his purpose and mission and was devoted to both his own spiritual growth and the growth of others. The full extent of his reach and the many, many lives he touched and transformed for the better, become more and more abundantly clear as we continue to listen to his many friends and read testimonies from many more online from far and wide. What a beautiful, beautiful soul of pure love whose influence and many blessings to our world live on and on.
This poem is for Geoffrey...
Dances with Thunderbolts
Geoffrey, we are with you
Through and through the Silence
We are with you
As Freedom rides
The Eternal Winds
On Wings, we are with you dear friend
As kaleidoscopic colors
We are with you dear teacher
As with Infinite care
From swimming cobalt
You emerge to dance with thunderbolts
We are with you dearest son
As you spin and twirl, we watch in awe
Pure love soul from God
Unprotected beacon, lighthouse to all
No one beneath your compassion
All encompassed by your love
Gratitude, Appreciation, deep spiritual insight
Precious treasure lamp
Heart of God
We are with you
To protect and care
To love beyond all words
We go with you
Into the new-green light
We go with you
To consecrate an altar
Deep in the virile
Wilderness of the Soul
Savitri's path of right living centers around the spiritual upliftment of each person she encounters. As a Yoga teacher, Savitri brings the potency of over thirty years of spiritual study and practice, including meditation, in-depth study of Tai Chi, Chi Gung and other martial arts, as well as her certified expertise in Kundalini Yoga & Shakti Dance™. She transmits her passion, joy and commitment to truth through these Raj (royal) yogas, which enliven and empower all who attend her classes, workshops and retreats. Join Savitri on Wednesday and Friday nights for Kundalini Yoga with Sound Healing and on Saturday mornings for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation.