We knew when we opened the studio that we were signing ourselves up to meet a lot of people, and we have to admit, we didn’t give this aspect of the enterprise a ton of thought. We figured we would meet many nice people, many hardworking people, perhaps (just the universe’s way of keeping things interesting…) a rare ornery sort. But on the whole we expected to be interacting with mostly warm, well-meaning fellow humans. The matter took up very little brain space, and we had no way of anticipating the substance, nuance, reality, and boon, of participating in so many relationships over the years.
It’s difficult not to use superlative language when we consider how many people have simply floored us by their level of commitment to service work or by the creativity and accomplishments they’re often keeping secret. Obviously you don’t have to be harboring some surreptitious superpower to be an amazing person, but so many of you are dedicating your lives to life-affirming projects that we want to say a few words about it.
Here’s a quick portrait of the sort of lives converging in the yoga rooms on Broadway and Crown Street:
- Craftspeople and artists who are seriously — like, intimidatingly — good at what they do: digital designers, muralists, sculptors, clothing-makers, interactive space builders, writers, filmmakers, and photographers — just to get started.
- Leaders running mission-driven, non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the underserved in the U.S. and in developing countries.
- Unsung parents and single parents running the show for their children at the same time that they maintain a career and a personal practice.
- Angel-style selfless servants who perform (often anonymously) time-consuming, labor-intensive acts of succor, requesting exactly nothing in return.
- Activists and involved citizens expending heroic personal resources to organize and raise awareness in various spheres.
Clearly, we could go on. But our aim is not to celebrate individual accomplishments. We want to point out that each of us has an opportunity to join collaborative arms with the many competent, incredible people in our midst. And doing so has more to do with the yoga practice than meets the eye.
If you are at all interested in inquiring into the workings of ego (in Sanskrit it’s ahamkara, the notorious “I-maker”), there is perhaps no better way than to work closely with another person. Wow oh wow, does such a partnership reflect back in crystal clarity our blind spots. If we are willing to see our defensiveness, our conceit, our excuses, our self-defeating tendencies, our inner bully or inner victim presented before us on a platter to confront — we’ll want to partner up.
Working with someone on a project that demands our functioning at full capacity is like being put through emotional maturity boot camp. If you see a chance to do it, seize it! And then do two more things, quickly:
- Establish a gratitude practice that speaks louder than any interpersonal griping;
- Understand and embrace the precept that most of the disappointments, criticisms, or irritations you have involving the other party are actually an invaluable schooling in your own unexamined (let’s call it…) stuff.
The payoffs: Uniting consciousness with someone else’s to become a more expansive locus of awareness. Removing the layers of personhood that have kept us in separation and delusion, moving closer to citta vrtti nirodhah, a lucid head, open and untied to disturbances. Perceiving how our very energy impacts other beings. Discerning which energies facilitate our joy and growth and which to keep at arm’s length. Knowing when our own energy body needs a little caressing before it’s presented to others. Developing self trust and sturdy confidence as we understand our strengths and gifts. Grounding ourselves in the reality beyond our own container. Recognizing ourselves as a vital piece of the cosmic unity.
There is so much inner seeing to be had by, as a friend says, “bouncing our molecules off of other people.” And there is so much light to be spread when brilliant minds with genuine hearts plug into one another.
‘Cause we can work around the clock by ourselves, but when we link our efforts to someone else’s, the results really are greater than the sum of their parts. It’s been a gift to collaborate on partner projects with so many of you, and we are optimistic when we consider the many fruitful shifts that can take place when we are co-creating a future.With love,Leigha & Jacqui