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it’s a small world, after all April 6, 2013

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Buddhism, Donate, Faith, Fitness, Health, Hope, Karma, Karma Yoga, Love, Meditation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Music, Pain, Peace, Philosophy, Science, Suffering, Surya Namaskar, Texas, Tragedy, Twin Cities, Volunteer, Writing, Yoga.
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Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small small world

~ lyrics by brothers Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman

In preparation for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Walt Disney  approached his staff songwriters and asked for one song to represent and honor the children of the world. No small task – for a couple of adults to pen words that could easily and succinctly sum up all the joys and sorrows of being a kid, in any country, in any culture, and in any language. But, somehow, the Sherman brothers did it. And, what started off as the theme song for the 1964 UNICEF pavilion sponsored by Pepsi, became one of the most recognizable and most translated songs in the world, as well as the signature and title of a popular boat ride featured in five (5) Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.
And, every once in a while, something happens to remind us that it is a small world, after all.
Take yesterday, for instance: one of my regulars mentioned that the the Gorilla Yogis have an event coming up related to a kid in the Cities who needs a kidney transplant. She couldn’t remember the date (Saturday, April 13th) or the the kid’s name, but I wondered if maybe – just maybe – it was a Certain kid in particular.

it’s a world of laughter, a world or tears
it’s a world of hopes, its a world of fear

To the best of my knowledge, I have never met Ali Certain. We both teach yoga in the Twin Cities, share students and acquaintances, and several years ago I tried to take a class from her (but picked one of the few weekends she was out of town for a yoga intensive). I first heard about Ali because she is a certified Anusara teacher and I was curious about this practice that started in my old stomping ground. Despite the fact that I started my practice in Texas (and am in The Woodlands, Texas once a year), I’ve only ever practiced Anusara in the Twin Cities – and my initial practices were with Anusara-inspired teachers working on their certifications. I appreciated the practice, definitely got a lot out of it, but when I stopped going to Anusara classes at Nokomis Yoga I put the idea of practicing with Ali in the back of mind. When her name came up, I would think, ‘Oh yeah, I need to make time to check her out.’ Then I’d go back to my regular practice.
Fast forward several years, and I notice that one of the Anusara teachers who use to be at Nokomis, and who now resides in New York, had included a link to “A Certain Kind of Kidney” in her gmail chat status.

I clicked. I read a little of a post. Thought about three women from my teacher training – one who received a kidney from a living, non-relative; one who donated; one whose loved one was saved. Looked at pictures of this little boy Jack, who seems too cute and too alive to be so sick. And then…

I stopped reading what was then the most recent post. I went back to the beginning of the blog, the beginning of the story. I realized that even though I’ve never met this kid, we have less than six degrees of separation – we have a connection though his mother, through the yoga community, and through at least 4 states.

That connection made me wonder if I, or someone I know, has that certain kind of kidney.

there’s so much that we share
that it’s time we’re aware
it’s a small world after all

Most people are born with two (2) kidneys; however, most of us can live relatively normal lives with just one. Sure, if you donate a kidney, you’re probably going to have to give up contact sports. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be physically fit and it doesn’t mean you can’t engage in vigorous activity. What it does mean is that you could save a life.

And who knows how that life could impact the world.

Of course, everybody doesn’t have Type O Blood (which is one of the requirements to donate to Jack) and everybody isn’t ready to be a living donor. According to LivingDonorsOnline, being ready means you are intellectually, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually prepared for the all the donation entails.

However, not being ready to be a “living donor” doesn’t mean you have nothing to share.

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.

Every time we step on a yoga mat, practice a sun salutation, let our hearts shine in a half moon, or smile in Balasana or Savasana, we are connected to people we may never meet. We have an opportunity to send a little hope and healing energy to someone who may be feeling puny or in need of a hug. We become part of a community, a village – which (to paraphrase the African proverb) can save a child.

And when you step on the mat at a Gorilla Yogis’ event, you get the chance to harness and magnify the power of that karmic connection by  a making a physical/energetic/spiritual contribution – as well as a financial contribution – to a really great cause. Plus, it’s super fun!


If for some reason you are unable to join the Gorilla Yogis at the Thorp Building and Central Business Center (1620 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis) next Saturday afternoon, April 13th at 1 PM, please consider spending some time on your mat (somewhere, anywhere!) – and making a donation to Jack’s GoFundMe account. If you want more information about live kidney donations, check out The National Kidney Foundation’s website.




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