Brooke Gessay is a dance artist, yoga teacher, and ordained zen monk. She is a lover of adventure, especially in the territories of creative process, collaborative performance, and meditation. She works with kids and adults in the Boulder community in elementary schools, with The Wellness Initiative, and on faculty at The Integral Center.
Brooke holds a BA in Dance and English/Creative Writing from Connecticut College, having graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She is an MFA candidate in Dance at CU Boulder, focusing on somatics and community engagement, and also a certified yoga instructor for adults and kids, having completed the Viniyoga Teacher Training with River Cummings, in the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya, and the Yoga Ed Kids Yoga Training. She is an assistant in yoga to Nataraja Kallio at Naropa University. Brooke has danced professionally and toured around the U.S., and to China, Vietnam, Mexico, Italy and Lithuania for performance, teaching, and culture exchange through dance. She has worked extensively with youth in arts education in San Francisco and Boulder, and has completed the Falling Awake Life Coach Training with Dave Ellis. Brooke is a formal zen student/monk of Diane Musho Hamilton, Sensei. She makes her home in Boulder, CO.
What is real love?
This question has been living me since childhood. It has compelled me and propelled me into manifold adventures, both dark and bright.
I remember real love dancing with Xiao Fung in a village in the mountains of the Yunnan province in China, sharing tears of recognition though we couldn’t share a common spoken language.
I remember real love surprising me on my 25th birthday in Kaunas, Lithuania when a dance company I considered family sang “Happy Birthday” in chorus with warm-hearted dancers from around the world.
I remember the Pacific Ocean. I remember real love reading Rumi poems to me in the voice of my best friend in college. I remember real love dancing the mischievous children I taught in San Francisco, my great teachers in spontaneous expression and zany hilarity.
(I remember you, right now, reading this, real love so obvious and ordinary it wears the exact quality of your breathing, the exact tone of your body and mind. I remember this, too.)
I remember real love breaking my heart.
And breaking it again, and again, to make space for more capacity to include the infinite flavors of real love, some immensely pleasurable, others bewilderingly painful.
I remember mornings, real love getting me out of bed to start practicing meditation, without any idea how. I remember a sense of remembering.
I remember real love eking out of my body-mind through breath and tears on the yoga mat. I remember the radical wisdom of my first spiritual teacher, Dorothy Hunt, and the sweet, deep silence of my first meditation retreat. I remember real love sitting me into formal zen training, and giving me the dharma name Teisui in an outdoor ceremony in Capitol Reef National Park, surrounded by loved ones.
I remember real love dancing me playfully with friends out on the town in Cholula, Mexico after performing and studying with dancers and artists from around the world, and alone in my home in Boulder, cooking eggs for breakfast. I remember real love taking control of the story of my life and revealing its fluidity and transparency, that I may love the story all the more.
I remember all of that right here in this. I remember falling cyclically deeper back into myself, discovering and cultivating a sense of home in this human experience. I remember innate joyfulness, right now.
What is real love, lived?
This is my question – asked, ignored, and answered.
May it serve your heart and the heart of all.