The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC


Meet: Maya

As we enter our fourth week, I find it hard to believe that a month ago I didn’t even know the eleven other “SoulMates” that are a part of The Collective. I feel like we’re all old friends that have come together for a reunion. There is something comfortable and familiar about each person, but there’s also a great deal to discover.

The story of how I found The Collective is somewhat of a happy accident. For reasons that were not consciously apparent to me, I found my feet taking me on a journey to the Silver Spring branch of the public library. I rode the elevator to the 3rd floor and found a poster that said, “Soulful Arts for Social Change… apply here.” I took a photo of it, and when I got home I discovered that the deadline to apply was that very evening!

I believe my soul was guiding me with a sense of purpose.

It led me to a space that would foster the sacredness of being who I truly am and the freedom to express my true self through art and community. I’m extremely grateful for the intuitive nudge and for what I’ve already found in The Collective.

We’re currently in the phase of the program where we’re witnessing each other’s stories and learning how to share our own. Last week, I had the opportunity to lead the group in a centering practice of my choosing. Singing is something that I’ve come to use as a spiritual practice, something that connects me to Divinity, and so I chose to share this with the group.

I think it’s safe to say that many people don’t consider themselves singers, and therefore don’t sing in public — certainly not with others. I asked everyone to take a deep breath with me and, on the exhale, allow sound to come out of their mouths. This is called “toning.”

The beauty and the opportunity for a spiritual practice lies in the unpredictability of the outcome.

There are bound to be moments of dissonance, unplanned moments of harmony and sweetness, and everything in between. All of it is perfect. It’s a practice of accepting what is and being in the moment. So, we entered into this somewhat intimidating experiment with the intention of being present and centered. Inviting the chaos on purpose.

As our breath and sound swirled around the room, I felt tension and apprehension dissipate and our hearts open ever so subtly. When the moment was over, we naturally faded into silence and opened our eyes. There was a newness, a sparkle in our presence. And for a little while, I believe we could feel that we were One. This is why I sing, and why I love creating with others. I’m looking forward to the next time we can all sing together.

As we continue to share our stories and grow closer, I know that feeling of oneness will only deepen.

To learn more about why I believe everyone should sing, check out my article, “The Healing Power of Your Voice.” I’d also love for you to say, “Hey” on Facebook and listen to what I’ve been up to on Bandcamp.

Maya Rogers is a member of The Collective at The Sanctuaries, a diverse arts community with soul in Washington, DC.

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