Last night my sister-in-law called from her car. “I am headed to Whole Foods. You need anything?”
And then I heard the sirens blaring. Many of them.
She was passing by shortly after the gunman unloaded his weapon in a Yoga Studio in Tallahassee off Thomasville Road.
I posted later on Facebook the most recent article and stated that this was right across the street from an old employment haunt from decades ago, tagging a couple of friends that worked there with me in the 80’s.
I woke up in the early morning and saw a post from a couple of other Facebook friends- one was at the studio last night and witnessed the horrific event. Another friend was on the lower level in a restaurant having dinner when the shooting took place, and still another, well she usually goes to the studio for the Friday 5:30 class but opted out last night and went home after work.
I deleted my earlier post. Suddenly, this was REALLY in my circle. You don’t want your Facebook friends or “friends of friends” to be connected to anything so heinous, and yet in today’s world, it so easily happens. As I took a look at the studio’s Facebook business page, I saw just how many of my friends had checked in for classes and events. Even though I had never been, and even though I don’t practice yoga myself, I am part of the wellness community and I have many yogi friends in my personal and professional circles so it makes sense there would be a ripple effect.
And then I thought it rather tragic that this sort of violence has become so common place that it doesn’t really truly hit us until it does become part of our inner circle in some way. I felt a little ashamed of myself- my post of last night, claiming to know where the shooting took place, then realizing I actually knew people who were there, in the moment.
I have reached out and offered my presence and my services in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, I can pray, and I can send love and light to the victims and victim’s families and to the larger community. I know there will be many of us who will rally with love and heart and this is one more tragedy we will overcome but right now it feels raw- such a senseless act. No details yet on the motive- and it doesn’t matter. Lives were lost and other lives were assaulted both physically and emotionally.
From the posts and articles emerging, it is not lost on most of us that a yoga studio is a place of solace, balance and healing- a place to escape the world’s fast pace. Apparently though, it is no longer assumed one can escape this culture’s current penchant for violence- not at a yoga studio, a synagogue, a church or a school and certainly not a concert or a movie.
I realize I am not saying anything new or particularly profound in the wake of this tragedy but I needed to talk about it with my tribe. This is a tough ripple to watch. I will remain vigilant with my thoughts and prayers, sending healing and clearing energy to the community, the studio space and the victims.
Susan Valesky Wasserman, Director of Florida Yoga Teachers Association has set up a GoFundMe page for the victims of the shooting and the owners of the studio. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/ryfnm-hot-yoga-tallahassee (campain is closed with a successful amount raised).