immigrant parents taught me to eat all the meat off of the bone.

Deva, a syllabic poem

diva curvy woman skin bone skinny

define me no don’t define me let

ME put myself in boxes that shape and

mold and bend into curves like the one

around my upper eye lid eyes that shine

like moons, my moon women my moon women.

So you’re telling me I get two free trips

you're telling me I get to travel? for

free? i get a mentor too? i have to

check in? whatever man, sign me up.

immigrant parents taught me to eat all the meat off of the bone.

crack the bone and suck the marrow dry.

can you scoot a little closer what is

altruism when did she die when did

you stop eating how many pounds did you

loose who are your favorite teachers | tears are

leaking | older eyes are staring



little vanilla plaque card WELCOME TO

DEVA SOULJOURNEY on the floor crisscrossed

why is my font different than everyone

else? yoga art adventure cultivate

joy resilience. pictures of women.

Deva literally changed my life. In our last closing circle, the instructors asked us, “How do you think Deva has changed you?” I said, “You know, I don’t think it’s really changed me at all. I guess I will have to see.” And that is the funniest thing I could have said because I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I remember the way that my shoulders ached from my backpack, the way tears welled up in my eyes, lump in my throat, and the heaviness in my heart. In the moment, I wasn’t sure why I was crying. I didn't have the awareness nor the emotional vocabulary to say, "Actually, I'm experiencing grief that was packed away for a very long time. It's coming up back now because I feel emotionally safe to express it so that it may heal." So I told everyone I was tired.

As I grow each year, my understanding of why yoga is such a pivotal part of the Deva SoulJourneys expands. Yoga is a way learn how to be and live in my body, my refuge and it can also feel scary because it allows me to feel the sea of emotions that exists in me. I remember one distinct memory of doing yoga on my SoulJourney. We were laying in a circle on our black foam mats. Bri was leading the practice. We were in a supine twist on our backs. My knees twisted over to the right, my arms stretched out like wings, and I was looking over towards my left finger tips. Above me, the sunlight filtered down onto my face and I remember the trees and they remembered me. There is this familiarity of nature,

that it knows my name and my face.

A teacher once told me, if you tell someone to change in 3 months, they will. If you tell them to change in 5 days, they’ll transform in 5 and I love that. In a short 19 days, I touched parts of myself and saw glimpses of myself that I didn't know existed.

now, don’t get me wrong the ache

in my heart was still strong

from organs twisted in fear

of childhood pains and

life losses cut by shears

too early.

It's not that in 19 days, I did a complete 180 of my life and that everything was rainbows and butterflies, and that all I ever felt was happiness and all was well, but what Deva highlighted was that little voice inside that calls your name, hello, hi, hey maddie, are you listening? you're not listening. listen to me. The tools, such as embodied practices, self-reflection, and nurturing activities, integrated into the Deva program gently pushed me, called me, coaxed me into the direction of self-exploration, ultimately a practice of self-love. So I took and ran with it.

there’s a fire in me

and you can’t put it out.

Deva taught me how to do my life’s work, to go within and dig deep, to explore the wounded parts of myself and to heal them. The real work, I think. In my journey as participant of Deva, to an intern, to a program coordinator, to an instructor, I feel like it’s been a divine plan of being in partnership and dance with Deva. I’m grateful that I get to be a part of something so transformative that shapes lives of young women. When I think about the transformative power of Summer Search and Deva, I want to weep. I want to weep because of the ways they have carved space in a world that is not ours, that nurtures us and watches us grow. As I continue to work in partnership with Deva and Summer Search, I continue to realize how much they are invested in us, as students and as people, and in our dreams: for the sake of a fuller and juicier life.

With love,

Maddie Lam

program coordinator

every part of us that we dislike,

is a part of us unhealed.

it exists for a reason.

a judgmental brother,

a neglectful father.

the aches create winding, twisted,

gnarly patterns

so be gentle with yourself

as you unearth yourself.

Find inspiration with Maddie Lam @madelinexlam on FB & Insta.

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