The Four Things You Need to Know

I have always loved to connect with others, to speak, to share….
My parents would joke I came out of the womb talking (if was a joke, right?)
So here are a lot of words, read if you like.

Yesterday, after a magical day of running the Boulder Creek Path (maybe my new favorite place on the planet to run), drinking the best smoothie, and buying a new winter coat-I was walking by a man “begging” for money. I walked right past him, and then literally stopped in shock at myself and thought “Who do I think I am”? I probably just spent more money than he could make in a day (maybe, maybe not?)–regardless, the part of myself that historically would have made time for that person, had walked past him. The part of myself that was curious about humans, about sincere connection–where was she? Now I know that I didn’t need to judge myself like that, but it was a feeling that I can’t describe. I was on my way to a yoga conference to teach about connection, collaboration, skillful living, that we are “in this together”. When I woke up to my own reality in that moment, I went
into my wallet and got money out for him. I know in some ways this is a ridiculous point–how many people are begging for money? I can’t help everyone. But what can I do. What felt right in that moment I gave him money. And then i walked away again–and was SHOCKED again at myself–now the question was “Who do I think I am–oh, privileged me, can give this poor man money and I can feel “good” because I “helped” him. Oh my–I know this story is about me–but I turned back again to this man–who had ONE LEG, NO TEETH, THE MAJORITY OF HIS BODY AND FACE WAS BURNED–and got curious. I asked his name, where he was from, what happened–and holy shit, you think you have a story. I sat with him and listened, I asked him how his “inner world” was–and his response, “well, i haven’t gone crazy yet”. I asked him how his “spirit” was–and his response “amazing”. so i asked, what keeps him going, and he said “there are only four things you need to know”:
1. Respect yourself and others. Always.
2. Take responsibility for what you think. Always.
3. Pray
4. Don’t stay angry. Don’t stay mad.

I sat and listened to him for quite some time, I looked him in his eyes–and realized he had given me a gift–he woke me back up to the person I am, and the person that I want to be–the person that wants everyone to feel welcome in the world. He reminded me of what beauty actually is, he reminded me that yoga is not just at a conference, that it’s every moment of every day. That it’s pausing and just getting curious, that it’s connection, that it’s slowing down and respecting yourself and other, that it’s responsibility, that it’s prayer (or intention whatever you want to call it), that it’s relating to your emotions. That it’s listening.

You never know where or who your teacher is.

Then, i woke up this morning, blessed to be at Yoga Journal Events Estes Park–in the Rocky Mountains to share my passion for living yoga and feel so connected, so grounded, so clear. And, as I drove in there was a big banner that said EXPLORE, with my pic on it. Which first, felt nice that YJ used a photo with my pic on it, and got me thinking about what I had experienced yesterday and the word 2

At the end of the day, my opinion, the yoga world is just a collection of people trying to use the tools they/we have learned, that’s really it. I would love to say there is no competition, there is no burn out of teachers trying to “make it”, that everyone is making skillful, healthy choices–however, that is not always the case.The yoga world is not “perfect”, we all know that, but what it is to me is simply a place to EXPLORE. And my teacher, “begging” for money reminded me:

To explore our judgments
To explore our habits
To explore our deepest desires
To explore the magic all around us
To explore life force itself
To explore who we really are
To explore who we want to be

So may we wake up to who we really are, stop ourselves in our own tracks, and engage with life in a way that makes everyone feel welcome, just as they are. Including ourselves.