I’ve heard it said, “How we relate to the world around us – to the people around us – is who we are.” That may sound simple, overly simplistic perhaps, but I’m claiming it as truth. Our essence is revealed in our relationships with one another.
I was telling Isaac about a new friend I’ve been getting to know. As I was describing her, I realized that it was when I saw her interact with her kids (with tenderness, humor and encouragement) that I knew we would hit it off. Relationships reveal who we are.
I hope most of us have made space and dedicated resources to developing healthy relationships. It’s certainly something that has been a focus of my thirties and a work I will continue at for the rest of my days. What I’ve learned so far is that improving the quality of relationships does not happen without a whole lot of self-work. Self discovery. Space to ask the tough questions of ourselves – why do I do this? what am I afraid of? where does it hurt? Stillness to listen to the answers. Bravery to listen without judgement. Willingness to know the parts of ourselves that don’t fit neatly into the circumstances of the daily grind.
There are several ways I make space and find stillness for this practice of self-knowing. I write, pray, meditate, spend time alone outdoors, meet with a therapist regularly, read other people’s stories and reflect on what they reveals about my own. And I practice yoga.
Before practicing yoga, I always assumed it to be a lonely hobby. No talking, no interacting, no connecting. And then I started doing yoga and found the opposite to be true. While it is an internal practice, the focus is very much on our connection with the world. Improving our relationship with ourselves so that we can more authentically relate to each other.
In honor of National Yoga Month, YogaGlo asked me if I would share my answer to this question with their followers:
What would the world be like if everyone practiced yoga?
I read the message and question while in the line to get gas at Costco. I figured I had five minutes and could send my response right then. Simple! But, as I started to think on it, the answer kept evolving. It’s transformational. It’s relational. It’s life changing.
Yoga shapes how we relate to ourselves. Which impacts how we relate to the world. And those relationships are who we are.
The practice of yoga shapes how we relate to ourselves. By making space and carving out time to be still, we are able to find intimacy with ourselves. Because it is in the stillness that we ask questions and listen to the honest answers. We reveal who we really are to our own selves. By listening to our breath, thoughts, fears and feelings, we connect with a hidden place within ourselves – one that does not surface in the daily grind. A true self. A part of the soul that untouched by the constraints of time and circumstance, leaving it free to express personality, empathy and love.
Drawing from this hidden, untouched part of our soul, we are able to authentically connect to the world around us. We see ourselves as human, which is essential to recognizing the humanity of others. We look to connect not with the biography of a person, but with their true essence. We seek to find the common between us in effort to unite.
And through these relationships, we show the world who we are. A uniquely made person who honors their strengths and the gifts of those around them. A curious soul who shows interest in the people they meet. A loving member of their communities – local and global – who cares deeply about the health and wellbeing of the whole.
Yoga shapes how we relate to ourselves. Which impacts how we relate to the world around us. And those relationships are who we are.
“There is a place in the soul — there’s a place in the soul that neither time, nor space, nor no created thing can touch.” Meister Eckhart
May I always be a student in this practice. A traveler in search of the place in my soul that is untouched by time and circumstance. A citizen searching to connect with those places in the souls that surround me. And in this connection, may we show the world who we really are.
Friend, I write here at Hello Day with this as the forefront of my effort: connecting with you. To share a piece of myself in hopes that it will resound with a piece of you. That in that resonance, however small it might be, we may share a connection that is authentic and true. And in that connection, that we are able to show the world who we are.
It’s from that deep, holy and sacred place in me that I honor you.