Last week in Old Bar, NSW, I attended an interesting event led by singer/songwriter, Toni Childs.
First let me say, I don’t often use that word ‘interesting’. It means very little, and sometimes it is used to obfuscate the speaker’s difficulty in voicing a negative opinion. Nevertheless, ‘interesting’ is a good umbrella word for the variety of exercises I did with Toni’s group: dancing, vocalising, meditating, and listening to Toni talk and sing.
We even did a bit of yoga. One of my students who participated in the evening asked me what style of yoga we had done. I had to say I thought of it as Tony Childs Yoga, knowing full well that I call what I do Eve Yoga. As it happens, most people teaching yoga for more than a few decades end up teaching who they are, even if they are firmly rooted in a yoga tradition.
But Toni’s workshop is not so much about yoga, dancing and singing as it is a vehicle to convey her message, ‘You are beautiful’, and, ‘We are beautiful.’
Interestingly (there’s that word again), out of a group of about 30 of us, there was only one man present. I wonder if Toni’s work is considered too touchy-feely by the blokes. I went into the session with not much of a clue of what might be served up. But those who had been at a previous session told me that they were moved to tears at the end of the event. They were opened up by Toni’s self-expressive exercises, and at the end by her Emmy-winning tune, ‘Because You’re Beautiful’. Toni sings this full-heartedly and in the most affirming way.
I didn’t detect tears in our group, though. (I’m not making that mean anything.)
It’s an important message: we are beautiful inside. It’s an idea for our times, and Toni says she and her husband are travelling to 32 countries to spread it.
I think I know what she’s talking about. When the healing of shame, anger, unhappiness, regrets, and all that hides in the shadows occurs, there it is–Beauty. Healing, in my 71 years on the planet, has been happening gradually over my entire life and still goes on. Sadly, transformation or evolution doesn’t happen in a single workshop, and not even only by the practice of yoga.
What Patanjali has to say
Patanjali, that old sage of ancient India, is known for his pithy sayings about yoga. In the brackets below, I’ve paraphrased a couple of his aphorisms. I hope I haven’t done too much damage to them.
- The purpose of yoga is to still the mind. (That is, so that we can see all the garbage that is running our minds. What may be revealed is what Toni describes as negative thought-forms.)
- Then, the seer can abide in her own very nature. (When the quietening of the mind happens, we can see our own Beauty.)
It’s been indispensable in my healing journey to shine a light onto my shadow side. Uncomfortable as that is, I know that the tender exposure of my negativity is the path to the goodies, Beauty being one of them.
So, good on ‘ya, Toni, for presence-ing Beauty on a global stage that has even included Old Bar, NSW.