Thank You, Grace!

A few months back I found a name on one of the many listservs I subscribe.  Her name was Grace, and she was teaching something eco-friendly, yoga-spirited at Park+Vine in Over-the-Rhine.  Our schedule didn’t accommodate her time frame at Park+Vine so I asked Grace to coffee to chat.

We met close to her Downtown office and had a wonderful conversation about, well… I can’t recall details, but it was fluid, their was laughter, and we both got to know each other a bit better.  She, a transplant to Cincinnati, had a full-time “day job” and was teaching yoga, art and craftiness to keep her centered.  I asked her if she’d be willing to teach yoga once or twice at Starfire to our new freshmen class.  She said yes hesitantly, not sure how much of a committment she could make, or perhaps not quite sold on the idea of Starfire yet.  (This happens, and I allow people to learn for themselves the power of community, and the beauty of what we here already know.)

Grace has her own blog which you can find here:  It’s a wonderfully written account of one person’s life and experiences.  I’ve included Grace’s most recent post in it’s entirety below.  Thank you, Grace for sharing your light with us, too 


Starfire Love

So I am continually reminded of our one-ness.  You know, the fact that we are all so intertwined and connected and the SAME?  It’s so hard to recognize sometimes.  We speak differently with unique accents, we look differently with various skin tones, we praise differently with our spiritual paths, we move differently with various body sizes and shapes, and we love differently with handshakes or enfolding humongous hugs.  But what I am learning this year is that love is love is love– no matter how it is expressed or by whom.  If we could all just tap into that true, pure love, we’d feel the oneness, and experience it in our very core. 

2010 has been a year of awakening for me.  I watched “Autism: The Musical” and followed these lovely autistic kids on a brave and sometimes difficult journey to be creative and let their light shine in a public theatrical performance.  I started reading Kelle Hampton’s inspiring online journal called Enjoying the Small Things about raising her beautiful girls, one who is gifted with Down Syndrome.  All important reminders that we are all one. 

And more recently I have been painfully reminded of the fear and separation that resides in the hearts of so many people from the  teenage suicides caused by bullying.  But I can’t help but be encouraged by the incredibly honest and open responses to these tragedies with all the supportive ”it gets better” stories peppering the online community. 

On a personal note, I was given the opportunity a few months ago to teach yoga to an amazing group of students at Starfire U.  Their mission: “To enrich the lives of teens and adults with developmental disabilities through unlimited opportunities that build independence and community inclusion.”  I’ll admit here that I didn’t know how they would respond to yoga, since most of them had never tried it before, and I was unsure what their level of fitness would be or where to even begin.  But it has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and it has taught me so much about ONEness that I want to share my feelings with all of you…

I am bursting to write about my teaching experience at Starfire.  I am absolutely giddy when I leave their facility after teaching- my cup is so FULL, and I can’t stop smiling the whole time I am teaching these precious students.  The students are so sweet, welcoming, honest, and true.  I am overwhelmed by their fearlessness and enthusiasm to try something new.  They are so respectful and such great listeners- keeping quiet and attentive through the whole hour classes (which impresses me because there are definitely distractions since we practice in a “common area” and not a room with a closed door).  They might not have as much muscle control or spacial understanding as some other students I teach, but I approach the class in a playful way and hope that they are inspired to be curious about how their bodies move and know that their breath can help them calm down anytime they are upset.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach them!  Every time they say “Welcome to Starfire!” or shake my hand, I am so moved.  My gratitude is overflowing for the angels at Starfire…

Do you see that the light in me is a reflection of the light in you, and vice versa?

Candice Jones Peelman