We often rush through life head down meeting people along the way but never really getting to know them or consider that they too have a story, a life.
What if we could glimpse into the lives of people we interact with only on a very specific level? Our apartment security guard, our children’s teachers, our regular barista, or postal clerk? If we realized that they too have a life and a story just as significant as ours, would it change how we interact with others or with how quickly we make snap judgements?
Most recently, it was a usual hectic morning that got me thinking about these things. Others have probably been there too—rushing out the door only to find one or both kids have forgotten to eat breakfast or are mysteriously missing all of their socks. The empty gas tank reminds of the laziness after errands yesterday. Scattered thoughts distract as we calculate how fast we need to drive to get everyone where they need to be:
Um, did the dog get fed? Curling iron off? Did that guy seriously just cut me off again? Mascara applied at the red light with no smudges? Success! Oh, and P.S. we really really need the debit card to work for gas.
Sound remotely familiar?
In the midst of the chaos, we forget that everyone has these days, just fill in the above scenario with your life (unless you’re a perfect meditative pre-planned organized all goes smoothly person, a.k.a. you dont have kids.)
I try to find peace on these mornings. Roll the windows down, smell damp winter desert air with its hint of mesquite and creosote. Whatever the case, I have to pull it together in T minus 5 minutes because you see, I have to be ready for others.
I am a 34 year old single mother of a 17 and 12 year old. I am also a yoga teacher.
A rebellious wild flower at heart, who had kids as a kid—16 years old found me messed up and trying to figure out life for two when figuring it out for one was not working so well.
A few years later found me in an 11 year abusive marriage that nearly broke me in every way. Sparing the gritty details, suffice it to say the local shelter, friends and yoga teacher training changed my life; learning we can be broken, but not beyond repair.
We can see the silver linings in everything.
So, I am a yoga teacher. I am not immune to heart ache, hopes broken, dreams rising anew and chaotic mornings where z-e-n is just a three letter word.
We all have our stories, so we often turn to yoga and our teachers because they grounds us, push us into an awareness of self, of our mental and physical limitations and successes.
Yoga gives us a sense of personal power; we can learn so much on our mat; the newfound strength and flexibility in our bodies are a mirror to our souls and we are reminded that we are alive even when the rest of us might feel defeated.
We teachers pull it together, walk in and smile even when it’s tough. We lead students to their breath so that they too can put their mornings and their days and their pasts away, even if just for 60 minutes while finding equanimity.
We lose ourselves in teaching and find healing through our students each with their own stories and their own reasons for showing up to class. We want them to take what they learn on the mat into their own lives.
We are not perfect little bendy deep thinkers—we too are students, lovers, workers, parents and people with hopes, dreams and day jobs. Many of us have our own fears, tainted pasts, heart ache, relationship ups and downs and bills that don’t get paid.
No matter what though, I can guarantee your teacher is giving 110% of her heart and her experience and a taste of her own growth.
Let’s keep that in mind when we find ourselves going through life, head down, not giving much thought to the paths that others walk, the shoes that they fill.
Let’s try to look up and see past a class that didn’t fit our needs, a play list that sucked or a teacher with dark circles under her eyes.
Let’s remember that everyone has a story to tell, an experience to share and life to live, from your teacher, to your community, heck, even to the guy who regularly cuts you off.
Like the bumper sticker says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own battles.”
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Assistant Editor: Paige Vignola
Image via Flickr