I'd like to share a portion of a letter I wrote to the yoga students who show up to my classes and inspire me day after day. I wrote this when I was going through a difficult time. Without knowing it, they helped me navigate through confusion and uncertainty so I could learn, and then ultimately overcome the pain and confusion. They lead me to so many discoveries about truth, courage, kindness, and discipline. For that, and so much more, I thank them.
...And despite all your wisdom, you show up to my classes and sit in front of me and indulge this thing I call playtime, and what others call an occupation. You let me share new things I've learned, and you share with me too. I ask you a question and you respond so we connect, and it feels so good to grow with you. I ask you to try a pose and you oblige, so I smile. I feel like a little girl putting on a show in the living room for her family. Then you smile too and join me on this journey even though you know how it ends...with our hearts beaming sunshine and minds wide open to the world we travel to, time and time again. A journey that circles back home into the stillness at centre where it all began millennia ago, or was it just yesterday? We can have such fun, or it can be really hard. You never know what shenanigans I'll bring, how hard I'll ask you to work, what wounds I'll ask you to poke. But you always show up and I'm never alone.
And on days I feel tired, or blue or, just feel sorry for myself, I think of you. I draw from our tenacity, and your kindness, and your vulnerability, and your strength. I feel your courage grow inside me, and it makes me weep. I cry, and cry, and cry. I cry for past hurts I let go of after holding so tightly. I cry for present fears, present blessings, and finally having presence-of-mind. I cry because crying is something I've become quite good at. Not because I'm a sorry mess, but because I'm free now. Tears flow freely when there's nothing to hide. And I cry, for I am humbled by your commitment. I am blown away by your acceptance. And I cry because your giving of Self and Soul is staggering. And I want you to know that I see you. Always. I see you, and I'm cheering for you.
I see you overcoming anxiety, depression, cancer. I see you deal with homophobia and bigotry. I see you when you struggle in class until tears sting your eyes. I see you laugh too, even while undergoing chemo, and divorce, and the loss of a loved one. I see you let go of resentments and abusive relationships, addiction and even prostitution. And I see the shame the relapse brings. I see the mental illness you've been plagued with and the love, and compassion, and forgiveness you offer in spite of it. I see you struggle in your wheelchair and how you curse your numb legs, your shaky hands. And I heard you whisper "fuck!" so we made it our class mantra, shouting it until we howled with laughter. I heard you say you’ve slowed down since your diagnosis, so much so, that you see the birds playing in the trees now, you feel the sun on your face. I saw you "take a break" from yoga classes, and I see you back at it with hesitation - what will it reveal this time? And I saw some of you week-after-week-after-week, until I could see you no longer...your work here on earth was done, but I feel you so deeply moving through my heart.
Wouldn't you agree then, that It makes sense that I would bawl like a baby? For your tenacity takes my breath away. And when I'm done the crying...the cleansing really, I blow my nose. Then I grab my mat, my water bottle, and my phone with all my quotes. I come to class and there you are again. My pillars of strength, my sisters and brothers of silliness, my comrades of compassion...my great and important teachers. I wish you could see how much you mean to me, how you fill up my heart and show me more about yoga than I could ever share with you. I wish you could see how much I love you, just in case you couldn't feel it.
For all you've taught me about kindness, and spirit, and courage, and patience, and empathy, and risk, and yoga, and love...thank you ten thousand times. I'm humbled and honoured to walk this path with you.
Believe me when I say “I see you.” Because I do. I see you. I see your divine spark, and I bow to you with love, with respect, and with reverence.
Yours lovingly in truth,
Certified Yoga Sharer