I just finished reading an email from one of my first yoga teachers, Camille, that she sent out about the impending death of her 11 year old Chocolate Lab. As I read this letter I had tears streaming down my face. She shared so eloquently her love of this animal that has been in her life for so long. She knows his life is coming to an end and she is cherishing every moment and memory of their time together.
Gandhi writes that the cohesive force that ties all animate objects together is love, but do we really allow ourselves to experience that love? I am not talking about the quick kiss on the cheek and the “I love you” before you hang up the phone. I am talking about really allowing yourself to feel the physical sensations of your connections with the loved ones in your life. The deep sense of warmth when someone else touches your soul and you touch theirs. Looking someone you barely know in the eye and giving them a smile that says “yes, we are both here in this moment”.
It is so easy to shut ourselves off from feeling emotionally connected. We go into function mode and forget to slow down, to be present. We put up barriers to protect ourselves from being hurt, yet we really hurt ourselves by depriving our hearts of the fuel we need to survive.
I am giving all of you who are reading this some homework. Baptiste calls this the “Being With” exercise. Go to your loved ones, stand or sit close to them and really look at them. Look beyond the surface and deep into their being. Allow them to really see you. Breathe deeply and feel your connection to this other being. Stay with them and breathe through your impulse to run off and hide. Allow yourself to connect.
The word yoga means union. Take your yoga off your mat and be in union with those around you. Practice being with those close to you and even those you pass through out your day. Learn to sit with your own feelings and to express your love freely. Embrace others fully and let them embrace you. Gandhi said, “Where there is love, there is life”. I am confident that Camille’s dog will live forever, as long as there is love in her heart.