Hi, my name is Naomi. I believe in kindness. I believe in unconditional love. I believe in non-judgment. 

I know we can likely all look back on a time that we’ve experienced being bullied or feeling left out. Perhaps it was such a long time ago that your memories are faint and faded. Maybe these experiences are painfully erect in your mind. Hopefully, you have been extra lucky and have gone through life experiencing nothing but love and inclusion. I wish the later for you.

Over the past few years, I have had the honor of building our Oranj community and watching it grow. Every time I step through our studio doors or step in front of a class to teach, I am in awe. If you close your eyes and just listen you will hear the sounds of happy voices, claps of high fives, and cheers of support. There is a true sense of community at play. Although we are no longer children playing on the monkey bars or chasing each other around during a game of tag, we all still yearn to belong, to be worthy, and to be “cool” enough for the “cool kids”. 

Since the new year, we’ve had an influx of new guests joining us for classes. Something that we love so much, and something that we are so grateful for! It’s been great getting to know so many new faces. I know how intimidating it can be to step into a new space let alone a new gym! I commend all of our new guests for stepping outside of their comfort zones and doing something scary, I know it can be hard to be the “new kid” but I promise you the trade-off is worth it! 

With national anti-bullying day around the corner, I’d like to challenge you to stop and reflect. This day might be for our youth but as adults, we are the ones who model for them. Who are you spending your time with? Does your social circle bring out the best in you? Are you inclusive? Do you judge? Are you actually kind? Although my community is welcoming and inclusive, there are still many opportunities to grow. Next time you are in the gym or headed to class, say hello to the person beside you. Introduce yourself. Share your space. Connect. You never know what another person could be going through and you’d be amazing by what a little love and kindness can do. Choose love. Choose kindness. Be the change.