There is a lot of really bad shit going on in this world and sometimes I feel just a little too comfortable.
I lay awake at night and wish I was doing something more profound. I am my own worst critic.
I dream about it: traveling to far off lands bringing fresh water to people in need, saving abandoned babies, tying myself to amazon trees, saving all the cows and setting them free then burning down the empty factory farm and getting away with it! My list could go on forever.
In reality, I settle with teaching yoga today, trusting that in my own way I’ll make a small difference.
Every year, 1.5 million people die from hunger, including 16,000 children. That’s one child every five seconds.
If you are free from hardship, like me, you probably just read that and it didn’t affect you. Please re-read it until you feel something.
Read over and over until it hurts.
My husband and I live a block from the beach and rent out a room in our family-owned three bedroom house on Oahu’s fabled North Shore. It’s extraordinary, our accustomed lifestyle of menial worry, like the weather, or what I should cook for dinner, or what kind or car I’ll buy when I run the one I have into the ground, should I cut my hair short or keep it long, and my favorite: what yoga outfit will I put on this morning (it’s all really foolish).
I dream of doing something awe-inspiring one day…I want to save the world!
I know agony, I know anxiety, panic and sadness, and I have a heart filled with love, gratitude and compassion.
A woman came into the studio today, she practiced yoga. I helped her find her flow and she found flexibility. I placed my hands on her to let her know that I cared, that I was present. She did all the work, allowing the pain, the regret, the fear to find an out. She created space for herself and comfort for her soul.
When class ended, she lingered afterward to talk with me. I could tell by her eyes that she longed for connection and I was there. She opened her heart to me and told me about her loss of love, fear and being single for fifteen years. She spoke to me about her need for companionship, and her dread of being alone. In that moment we understood one another as if we were old friends. She confided in me, and I voiced my opinions. We both cried, we hugged and then she left.
It’s easy for me to be hard on myself; I did not rescue sweet puppies from a puppy mill today (although I would have liked to), and I was not some headline hero, but I was a friend instead.
In the early morning, I was with five beautiful yogis sharing space and beauty through yoga asana, and by mid-morning I treasured the time spent with a wonderful student who deeply needed to talk. In the mid-day, I booked a ticket for my lonely, bachelor father to spend the holidays with me (his only child), and by late afternoon, a darling soul stepped through my studio door in tears.
By the late evening, before settling down to finish this story, I stopped as a new teacher came through my office doors, and I listened as she talked about her wonderfully crazy life of being a taxi for her kids.
So, If I can lovingly listen each day to heartache, acknowledge pain, be a shoulder to lean on, arms ready to hug or simply eyes that look back in understanding, is that not saving the world in some small way?
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Assistant Editor: Tifany Lee/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Pavel Ahmed