Dear Homegrown Yogis,
Our November teacher training weekend is always my favorite of the 10 weekends. For that weekend we talk about yoga as a form of service and how we as yoga teachers can also be community leaders. Each of our teacher trainees presents their Seva Project – a proposal for how they could use yoga as a way to serve their community. (Keep your eye out for an email next week where you will be able to read all their proposals and vote for your favorite!) We also do a team community service project that weekend – this year’s class was given a small amount of money to go out and commit creative and random acts of kindness throughout town.
I came home from the weekend on a complete community service high! I threw my stuff down as soon as I walked into the house, sat down on the couch, and started to explain to my husband how I figured out how to solve all of our country’s problems – all we have to do is fix the educational system, create stable and loving homes for children, and provide easy access to mental healthcare. How hard can that be, right? =)
As I was going through my plan, Freida kept pulling at my hand asking me to come back to her room so she could show me a new picture she drew. Over and over again, I was telling her to hold on until finally I lost my patience and snapped at her: Can’t you tell I’m in the middle of something?! She looked at me hurt, dropped her head and walked away. And in that moment, I realized how I was missing a chance to be of service and save my world. In my excitement to change the country, I hadn’t asked Brian how his weekend was, I hadn’t acknowledged our dog, and I had been short with Freida because she had interrupted how I was going to restore families. The irony of it all was not lost on me.
In that moment, I realized that being of service on a big scale is exciting and is very very important work. AND that maybe saving the world starts with being of service in my little tiny world. It starts by giving my undivided attention to my family when I walk in the door and by saying hi to my neighbors when I see them outside. It starts by putting down my phone in the grocery store line so I can say thank you to the clerk as I pay my bill. It starts by picking up trash in the studio parking lot instead of stepping over it. It starts with all these seemingly little things that may not be that exciting but most definitely will change the world.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali ends with a very simple suggestion, “Learn to lead a dedicated life. Whatever you do, do it for others. The dedicated ever enjoy peace.” As I have begun to put this idea into practice, I am realizing that this dedication Patanjali is referring to starts right here with what I am doing and how I am showing up as a friend, neighbor, mother, partner, and member of my little world.