AFCC holds an annual conference, which begins today, and I will be attending for the third time. I could not be more excited. Sure, I'm excited about presenting. I'm also excited about teaching yoga two mornings. Mostly, however, I'm excited about what it means to attend a conference of nearly 1,000 people all committed to the same goal: helping families transition through divorce. My dad has been a member of AFCC since I was a child, and I never quite understood why. But as I became involved because of a desire to give children a voice in the legal process, I found a family and inspiration beyond my wildest imagination.
Being part of an organization like AFCC has helped me find others who are like-minded, who believe that there is a better way than a divorce model set up based on a system designed for breaches of contract. But that is not what makes AFCC so special. It is the energy. Each year, I hear people say they love attending these conferences because they become inspired - not only by the new ideas being presented, but by the energy of all the other conference attendees. For three days, there is an energy of hope among a field of professionals who spend their day-to-day lives dealing with some of the most emotional and distressing areas of the law. But when we are together, when we believe in that change, in giving families tools to aid their transition, those changes become a reality.
On a personal note, it was at an AFCC conference two years ago that a judge in Australia sparked an idea in me to travel to Australia and New Zealand to study their new family law systems. It was last year at the AFCC conference that a judge in New Zealand made me think it was possible. And next year, I will sadly be missing the AFCC conference while I study family law in New Zealand. That's how a community of energy works. It makes dreams possible even in a field that so many believe devoid of that communal energy.
So what happens when you get thousands of yogis together? I do not actually know.
I have wanted to attend a large yoga retreat for years now, but it has never happened. What I do know is that one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had was at a Deva Premal / Krishna Das concert where there were probably 300-500 people present. The energy of that many people chanting and singing together moved me to tears. There are many much larger concerts, retreats, and workshops dedicated to yoga and chanting. I have always wanted to attend, but somehow it has never happened.
AFCC conferences make me feel as though I can take on the world. I know how I will feel at the end of these conferences - empowered (and tired, but that is another story). So, I hope this is where my legal life informs my yoga life. I hope that the inspiration I draw from these huge legal conferences provides me the courage to attend the yoga conferences. The difference here is that I had a ready-made family because of my own father being in this organization. I have no such starting point in the yoga world, but I am going to use what I have learned over the years at AFCC to venture out and find that yoga family.
When we all come together, anything is possible. Our collective energy is inspiring, empowering, and exciting. What are your stories of powerful groups creating change? I would love to hear about them in the comments.
Namaste and Blessings!