Copyright © 2016 by Marjorie Tyler, Joann Sjolander, and Margaret Ballonoff
Meera (Margaret) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Jewish parents who had no interest in God, religion or spirituality. Ninety seven percent of her community was Jewish. Her family was secular Jews, celebrating Jewish culture through holidays with family and ethnic foods. Her grandmother had a reverence that Meera loved. Granny spoke only Yiddish which limited their verbal communication.
At nine Meera had her first spiritual experience in the presence of her overnight camp counselor Julie whose connection with the unseen was quiet and simple. Julie's love of music and nature were heart opening. Meera experienced a month of ease as she tuned into something bigger than herself. She operated from a place of peace without the emotional assaults she felt daily at home.
As an adult, Meera was restless looking for something more; she felt there must be a better way of being than what her thought system allowed. In search for “the answer” she investigated modern dance, and psychological and spiritual paths. She taught elementary school, married and had two children. She also taught fitness and creative movement for children, studied fitness and myotherapy (a trigger point modality), taught skiing, fitness, and practiced myotherapy. Finally in her fifties she dove into her spiritual quest that included six years with the Sufis and then four years with a Korean yoga practice.
Meera’s family house in Denver was one of the gathering places for the Sufis. Having a group of mystics in the house challenged her husband and grown children. Eventually, however, she began to question the rituals and beliefs of both Islam and Judaism. “Where was the personal connection with the Divine?” The Sufi teacher introduced her to the concept of “I, me, mine,” which helped her see the limitations of the ego personality. “What is beyond the personality?”
She spent years being angry, anxious, and depressed, and projected this onto the world, especially onto her husband. After leaving the Sufis and practicing Korean yoga, Meera read The Disappearance of the Universe, A Course in Miracles and the books of Byron Katie, Michael Brown and Robert Scheinfeld. Ken Wapnick’s commentaries on the workbook and manual in A Course in Miracles helped her understand that projection makes perception. In combination these readings changed her thinking forever.
In 2007, Meera took her first Nia class and felt that she was home at last. Nia is a joyful fitness practice based on moving from the awareness of sensation and pleasure and includes the dance arts, the martial arts and the healing arts. Dancing Nia heals and integrates body, mind, spirit and emotions. The free dance element of Nia supports moving in your own personal body’s way with hearts wide open.
As a child in religious school, she read a book called The Still Small Voice. This was what she was longing for. Sharing with Margie and Jo the path to removing the blocks that prevent her from hearing that voice and then one day actually hearing it have been the greatest gifts of her life. Together the three women have supported each other to ask the Holy Spirit for help with every choice, every decision. The safety and security of doing this together has been invaluable. At this point, she feels that they are one mind. Meera continues to enjoy teaching Nia, visiting Jewish patients at the local Catholic hospital, and delighting in her family.