Metal number thirteen on old building

Lucky 13

November 6, 2020 by Jill Loftis

That Would Be Enough from the musical Hamilton

“Look around, look around at how lucky we are To be alive right now”

—Lin Manuel-Miranda

Back in September, I was home early on a Tuesday evening. Enjoying a fire in the firepit. Watching my chickens fluff and preen and file into the coop. Breathing in the first chill of Fall.

Taught six classes that day – a private on Zoom; a vinyasa class in person AND on Zoom; four short classes for my Roanoke College students in person AND on Zoom. My two sections divided to enable us to meet spaced 10-feet apart and masked.

Teaching into a computer, via Zoom or whatever software; is absolutely exhausting. It takes so much more energy than teaching to actual, in-person human beings. SO MUCH MORE.

And sitting by the fire, I realized it was an anniversary of sorts. Our first formal Uttara classes began in September, 13 years ago.

Friends who have read my previous blog will remember the story. Of me graduating on my 40th birthday from the Temple of Kriya Yoga Teacher Training Program. Of being so inspired by teaching yoga at Bethany Hall, a local drug and alcohol rehab center. Offering $5 classes in a church basement to raise money for them. One other inspired instructor offered her time, Cathy Cannon. I searched and searched for a location, and eventually opened on Kirk Avenue in Downtown Roanoke the following Summer. That was … three (3.5?) locations ago.

There are so many stories between then and now.

But now; NOW is different. Since March 2020, everyone’s world is different.

Yoga studios all over the country have closed due to Covid. Many, many other small businesses have had to close, file for bankruptcy. And many, many people have become sick; have died. All around the world, there are people suffering losses of all types due to this pandemic and its fallout.

I am so grateful to still be here. Grateful to be teaching; to be learning and growing and making it all work for now. Isn’t that what yoga teaches us? To live and thrive when the world turns upside down.

There are larger wheels in the universe churning as well. Humanity itself is, I believe, at a tipping point. The meeting of Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn has heralded the changes and events that you are now seeing unfold in the world. In December of 2020 – actually on the Winter Solstice of 12/21/20 – the planets of Saturn and Jupiter will both arrive at zero degrees of Aquarius. That is epic, evolutionary astrology not seen on the planet for thousands of years.

What it will bring? Well, that is the cause of much speculation. And fear. I know I have brought much fear to the table, myself and I’m realizing. It’s time to truly commit to make a shift to love.

Not ignoring what is happening; not “love and light” and turn my back to the harsh realities. But feeding the love. Feeding the light. Choosing to love. Choosing light.

I was again sitting outside the other night, watching the chickens file into the coop as the leaves tumbled down in small gusts. The light was exquisite through the trees. The trees have so much to teach us now; all of nature does, truly.

There are cycles to life in the natural world. When we ignore them, that is when we suffer and lose our way. There are cycles in the human world as well. And it’s time for us to dream a new world together. For ourselves, our communities. If there is to be a future worth living in; a future that will serve our children and our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, the time to begin is NOW.

Prioritize quite time; silence (mouna). Prioritize time in nature. Put down your phone. Step away from social media. (I recently took down my Facebook page and it’s really helped my outlook.) Prioritize REAL priorities – family, friends, community. Prioritize yourself. Prioritize YOU.

Meditate, pray, commune, connect. Like it’s your most important work. Like it’s your soul’s very purpose. As it has always been – love is the answer to these difficult times. Look for the love; vibrate it in every interaction, every thought, word, and deed. As above, so below – as within, so without. We cannot expect a peaceful world when our own inner world is in chaos.

And the future of Uttara? Well, I guess that’s unknown. I’m currently enrolled in the Temple of Kriya Yoga Seminary and looking to transform my work in the world. Perhaps we will shift to being more of a spiritual center? Or maybe someone else will be interested in carrying Uttara forward into the future? I really don’t know; but I trust.

Some say 13 is an unlucky number. But it is actually the number associated with the Goddess Freya; it is the number of Lunar cycles in the year and connected to the Divine Feminine. Perhaps there is the dawning of a new age of Lunar power at Uttara. And – hopefully, everywhere.