You’ve heard it before, “What you think is not always the case”. I received a valuable lesson about this yesterday while teaching a yoga class. A girl in her late teens or early twenties entered the studio about ten minutes late. Let’s call her “Mary”. Mary’s energy was mildly disruptive and slightly unaware of the people around her. Throughout the class, every bit of instruction I attempted to offer went “dismissed”. I put that in quotations because that was my perception of what was happening. It was true that she didn’t seem to acknowledge words and instruction, yet that was not necessarily due to any overt inconsideration on her part. I noticed her checking out many times during the class and just went with it, because often yoga is about letting people work things out for themselves. When we had fifteen minutes left in class and everyone was relaxed and winding down, she decided to leave. When I saw her trying to exit, I noticed all her props were piled up on the ground and not put away. Embracing the Junior High school P.E. teacher part of myself, I firmly asked Mary to put the props away. She obliged quietly, yet painstakingly before leaving the room. As I finished the class, I formulated an opinion about this girl’s ethics and character structure. There it was, a stuck belief that conveniently housed my sense of rejection and threw my frustration a consoling bone.
After class I noticed Mary waiting for me in the lobby. Her sad eyes diverted as she apologized to me for leaving. As I asked her a few questions about how she was feeling, her body froze and she began sobbing profusely. She had been having a very difficult month, was exhausted, and hadn’t slept much for the last three weeks. It made sense now why the basic postures were uncomfortable for her and the class structure seemed alien. I reflected back on those moments during class where I took Mary’s behavior personally, as if something was wrong with my teaching or as if she just simply didn’t care. What a lesson. I stood and spoke with her and hugged her for a some time before I had to go to my next appointment. I will probably see her privately this week.
We all have this phenomenal filter, to project charcoal traits onto other people who really seek luminosity. Our upbringing, our patterns, and our environment make it It so easy for us to choose opinions that relegate other people – often whom we don’t even know – to lower vibrational classes.
What keeps revealing itself, over and over again in my healing arts and personal life practice, is the opportunity to experience how compassion and empathy galvanize the somatic (body-based) truth that really exists within us all. Although this insight can feel fleeting, especially when some people just don’t act all that cool, it is remarkable what happens when personal opinion and judgement can become demoted by the authenticity of real human connection. There is a world of experience within each individual, and I am finding it helpful to remember that often an individual’s less-than-desirable displays not only give us an opportunity to look at how we too operate from our pain bodies, but also how such behavior offers us an opportunity to love, and offer love more. Happy almost May