Stories of Survival

Stories of Survival

By Sandra Morales – Founder – Heartdancers

stories of survival heartdancers sydney australia

stories of survival by Heartdancers – Sydney Australia

When I started teaching Yoga at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre I did not perceive the life transformation I was about to experience. When you enter the Detention Centre, you are entering into a completely new world. I am constantly moved by what I see around me. Behind those heavy doors and all the security there are so many stories of struggle, survival and injustice.

But, I have also seen what love can do, what real freedom can do. I have seen the power of our human spirit, I have seen that there is greatness in the story I am about to tell you.

Villawood has become my second home, not because I have been going every Monday since September last year, but because the people there have a place in my heart and I see our fragile human existence and how vulnerable, but yet powerful the heart can be.

A love story

The Yoga class is about to finish and we are in seated position. When I open my eyes I see people from all around the world who share the same ideal. To live in a safer place, for their families to live in a safer place, and to live in a place with better opportunities. I see people from China, Syria, Senegal, Iran, Pakistan, Samoa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and some other kindred spirits from South America.

HeartDancers Sydney Australia - Yoga Hands on Heart

HeartDancers Sydney Australia – Yoga Hands on Heart at Canva Offices Sydney

In a perfect moment, we are rubbing our hands and placing them on our heart, I feel the great presence of unconditional love surrounding us, a feeling that cannot be expressed by words. Unconsciously I hear a voice saying “you are not alone.” I open my eyes and see the eyes of a beautiful woman from Iran who has been coming to my classes regularly with her partner Amir. We often talk about the beauty of Iranian dance and the power of meditation. After our regular class I normally place my sacred singing bowl from Tibet on her head and softly make it vibrate through to her core. Her face full of faith is so familiar to me.

But today I see sadness, I see pain in her eyes. I can see tears flowing down her beautiful face and for a moment I am feeling her own pain. I finish the class with my usual saying “we are one big family, we are all one. Sat, Chit, Ananda. Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss. Always with you forever and ever.” Today I feel that saying with a different quality. I am not anymore a witness to their struggle in the Detention Centre, I am one with them, completely fused, not separated.

I do not see her partner Amir in the class, in that moment I understand that the tears I see flowing down her face are tears of love. She approaches me, I hug her and we cry for almost five minutes. Time stops and we are two women from totally different backgrounds and faiths united in the name of love. With her tears rolling down her face she starts telling me about her love affair with Amir. I start to remember them in my classes with that spark in their eyes that only love creates. I remember them talking to me about Iran and how beautiful their country is.

But today she is alone, I pay attention to her saying to me that he was taken to Christmas Island three days ago, she did not have time to kiss him and say goodbye, she heard that it is not a safe Detention Centre, and she is worried about him and the other twenty people that were taken there. I think of my partner who I deeply love and my heart is full of empathy. I feel her suffering as mine. Suddenly I hear again the unconscious voice saying through me to her “there is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. No disease that love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open. It makes no difference how deep set the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how great the mistake. A sufficient realisation of love will dissolve it all.”

We open our eyes with complete gratitude and surrender to the soft voice of the spirit.


About Sandra: Sandra is a Colombian-Australian Yoga teacher and founder for the charity organisation Heartdancers, who provides yoga, music and dance therapy to disadvantaged communities around Sydney.