The power of being connected and having connections is magical.
Since July 2015 when I (and many others) completed Level 2 of Baptiste Yoga training, the awareness of being connected, of having strong, meaningful connections with human beings has been poignant and unforgettable. Choosing to follow through that awareness, understanding, and ability to connect with human beings, on a deeper level, is where meaning and love is. It’s an important part of the existence of my life, our lives.
Shortly after moving to South Africa, I was given the opportunity to visit the Africa Yoga Project for a weekend to assist a program called the Art of Assisting and to stay with one of my mentor’s, Paige, who trained me (along with others) at Level 2. It was an opportunity to put words into action by striving to connect the love and learning of yoga with human beings in Nairobi and it was a fascinating weekend.
Since that time, from July and November 2015, I have been given the opportunity again and again to meet, connect with, and create intimate, meaningful connections with all sorts of human beings and I’ve continually been blown away and grateful for this adventure.
(photo credit: Andrea T)
On Saturday, May 13 2017, my amazing husband Brian surprised me and many of our dearest friends at a Ten Year Anniversary Party (yay for us!!!) with an opportunity to unexpectedly (to me) renew our marriage vows in front of these friends who have become like family. Not only was it meaningful to me and a sweet and awe-inspiring reminder of our deep love and devotion to one another but it reaffirmed my connection with my husband. Additionally, it was also an opportunity for greater, deeper connections with those present to witness our renewal of vows to one another. Why is that important? Not only has it has struck me since that ceremony that my husband loves me more deeply and is more connected to me than perhaps ever before; but that those who were present to witness the renewal of our love are also people, humans, that I am deeply connected to and love. Does that make sense? By sharing my love with my husband, we also shared our love among our friends in an intimate and meaningful way.
What I learned in July 2015 at Menla in Phoenicia, New York was how important it is to get rid of the masks and filters that we oftentimes hide behind to allow for a more authentic human experience to connect and serve our fellow humans. To this day, I feel very good about helping to assist the human species by trying my damnedest to create connections, to exude love and possibility, and to say yes as much as possible (even if that means enjoying too much amazing South African wine too often, but it’s just so damn good). Ha ha.
As Team Bonanno prepares to leave South Africa and return to upstate New York to friends and family there, I make a promise to myself, to my husband and children, and to my friends and family everywhere. I want you to know that: I love you, I’m glad I’ve connected with you, and I can’t wait to see you all again. I feel nostalgic for the time we’ve spent here, the friends we’ve made who have become like family, and I’m even eager to get back to our hometown to reconnect and embody that love to my “old” friends and family in the U.S. too. Not only has my husband vowed to love me more, longer, and with such deep devotion and conviction, but I return that vow of love out into the world. You could say my husband has inspired me to want to be even better, to do greater, more meaningful things in our life together, and to spread the love around, everywhere we go. They say to pay it forward and I believe in living and loving out loud.
So, to my, rather our, dearest and greatest friends in South Africa: Team Bonanno loves you, won’t ever forget you, and let’s meet up again (like in Taiwan, Joy; New Zealand, Kate or Lisbon, Joana, or Chicago, Kate and Ottawa, Amy et cetera). To our friends and family back at home in NY and around the U.S.: we can’t wait to reconnect with you, have fun with you, and spread the joy and love around the earth with you again!
We’ve thoroughly loved where we’ve been and can’t wait for whatever adventure we create next.
Life is truly amazing when we’re connected with each other, sharing and surrounding ourselves and our loved ones with love and joy.
With love always,