COURAGE & LOVE
(from the Rasa newsletter, 10/21/2020)
I was always that person jumping all in – render consequences later, ask for forgiveness after, or as often was the case with me, don’t look back and just leap. That was a little like how it was when I started Rasa over twelve years ago. To be honest, it was more like running away from the corporate finance industry that I was disenchanted with, and diving into an industry I knew nothing about. I was simply a business person, with a my own set of personal tragedy and sorrows, desperate for the healing power of yoga. For some, jumping all in takes courage, but for me, rolling out my mat and showing up and being present to myself and others, takes more fortitude. And I, along with the highest caliber faculty of teachers and staff I have ever had the honor to work with, have been blessed to be part of your practice everyday, exemplifying true courage, heart & spirit. I will need to muster some courage once again now, as I share some big news…
It is time for me to retire from Rasa, and also, as her steward, retire Rasa. Some might ask why I don’t try to sell it or find an outside person to keep it going. Frankly, akin to yoga, it was always an inside job, cultivated by our special kula behind the scenes that work in service for our dear community, but also for each other. Without a clear internal path to carry it forward, which you must believe I did so doggedly pursue and explore, it feels right and necessary to call it good. I had intended to move on from Rasa nearly 4 years ago, but it wasn’t time then. The more recent plan had been to allow current Rasa staff to take over the operations this year, but the perfect storm happened: Covid, multiple months of closure, epic personal events for key staff, the Alameda fire… subsequently, fatigue & depletion on multiple levels set in deeply.
Please know, if I could have gotten this info out earlier or sooner, I would have. Internally, we went down every path, left no stone unturned, in order to explore many possible scenarios. It was only very recently that I was able to ascertain a clear heart and path for all those intimately involved, and that meant closure.
It may be incredibly sad or even feel dismal at times as you come to the studio for class or take an online class, knowing of our limited time together. I’ve definitely shed my fair number of tears as I look at the Rasa maple tree outside of the Earth studio and wonder what it will be like next year. Who will care for it with intention, and who in turn will preside over the holding of our sacred intentions? But that tree teaches us the lessons of impermanence – as the leaves have turned colors, and begin to fall, I am heartened that with Change comes Transformation. And New Beginnings. I hope that for each of us.
Most of all I hope that rasa, the nectar, the essence, the sap of life, continues to live in us well beyond these times, well beyond our doors, well beyond our individual mats. To love unconditionally takes courage. Because it requires an element of letting go. I have loved Rasa with all my heart and soul, and as we all learn eventually, just because something is physically no longer, doesn’t mean the love doesn’t live on. It deepens, it ripens and it spreads beyond our capacity to fathom at this very moment.
With all my heart,
I am so grateful for every student, trade staff, teacher that has ever come through our doors. But I wanted to take a moment to truly thank these folks for inspiring, supporting, teaching, and living up to Rasa’s mission all these years. Apologies upfront for the length, but feels so worthy of it.
First and foremost, it wouldn’t have been in existence at all without the original idea, urging and continued friendship and support of my teacher and friend, Max Strom. I love you dear friend.
In the beginning, there was light. Or at least a light switch, which was turned on by Alex Ballete, Andy Viets & Beth Sparks. The two A’s are my brothers in this life time, who helped implement our operational & financial systems and who I could always count on for inciting good times pretty much all the time. And dear Beth, who helped come up with our name that set the tone for our transcendence, and who through her own light and authenticity, has taught me the depths of a friendship and sisterhood. Thank you also to my BFFS: Danielle Avila Johnston who created our logo, and together with Chris Johnston, our website; and Stephanie Cate, whose beautiful art graced our spaces – what would I do without you? I love you all.
To all the many teachers/staff that have come through Rasa, in particular:
Lisa Norvell, Suzanne Callahan, Kirstin Larson, Kat Archer, Summer Mayne, Peter Wolf, Lauren Grahek, Sarah Holland, Rachel Dilworth, Djuna Mascall Devereaux, Tias Little, James Bailey, Kirstin Laak, Krista Holland, Allison Graves Barnard, Shyla Churchill, Meghan MacDonald, Brittany Martinez, Ali Cooper, Lindsey Henley, Jared Elsemore, Sarah Guneratne, Cypresse Emery, Cynde Gragert, Vanessa Scott, Celina Reppond, Les Leventhal, Kayla Pulley, Erin McDonnell Cobb, Andy & Molly Harris, Ashley Shrader, Rachel Martino… your level of commitment and integrity to the tradition and/or to Rasa, the teamwork, synergy and support of one another and our community humbles me. It had really solidified in the last several years the importance of true authenticity, and I have learned and benefited so much from you all. A sincere thank you also to Tony Corallo who supported the early years.
Jamie Elmer, Julie Freed, Sarah Sol, Matthew Downard, Caitlin Dunnington, Natalie Pennington – what a beautiful run we had, eh!? I am made better by how you each showed up – for me, for Rasa & the community, and for each other. The hours upon hours upon days and years of ruminating about how best to deliver the teachings and our offerings in the most real and integrous ways leaves me speechless. When time has filled in after this closure, I will likely glorify it as being the Rasa golden years where we gave it our very best and highest, and it showed. Deepest gratitudes and love to you noble creatures.
Malaya Corallo, thank you sweet daughter for inspiring me everyday, and allowing me to raise you in the special nest that was Rasa all these years. And my dear husband, closest confidante and greatest supporter, Justin Berry… if it were not for you, I do not think I could have truly realized my highest vision with Rasa, and attracted such amazing people to do what they do best. Profound gratitude for always having my back, my heart, and the wisdom to simply listen and hold my hand through it all.
Finally, to each of you in our community, thank you for your unwavering support, patronage, friendship, and care for our beloved Rasa. Please do not be sad, and if you are, then form a hint of a smile to remind yourself how beautiful community – kula, sangha – truly is. And how, like the dew drop, letting go gives way to transformation and new beginnings.
~ Mariane Berry