Thank you for sharing your honest, heartfelt stories with me, after I wore my heart on my sleeve in last week's newsletter. Even though we walk separate paths, it is of great comfort to know that there are more similarities than differences in our experiences, and it humbly reminds me of how much more we have to gain instead of lose, when we let down our defences and open our hearts.
At the start of my journey teaching yoga, I often pondered what I had to offer – was it asana, philosophy, meditation, or a combination of it all? A blurry clarity that was slowly starting to emerge after years of exploration has very quickly taken form, thanks to this period of quiet spaciousness — I am offering myself. It is the most honest but also the most confronting realisation I have come to in awhile. The person behind the audio practices that you listen to, the person you see standing in front of the class at the studio or looking at you through the Zoom screen, the person behind the stories of love, loss and failure that I share on social media or perhaps face-to-face with you over a cup of chai — it's all me. In various bits and pieces, and in all my glory and imperfections.
When I clear the clutter that comes from thinking too much about how things should be done, and instead focus on offering myself, in a way both my wild heart and curious mind approve, I am often guided into birthing projects that make my body tingle with what my friend Erin calls "a full body YES". Like our dreamy yin yoga and meditation journeys on Zoom, and today's poetry circle, which was beautiful in its simplicity. Our love for words may have been the common ground, but what truly touched my heart was how we held space for one another to listen as well as be heard.
In the spirit of poetry and offerings, I am sharing a poem by HawaH. It's one of those that make me feel as if the author had reached into the depths of soul and put a word to every intangible current coursing within.
I had no incense to offer you...
My hands were empty
I had no tidings
My shoes were worn and muddy
I knew not what you would expect of me
I made some wrong decisions.
I came and walked around your temple
Doing rounds of 108
I lost count halfway in between
I knew not if I should return to the beginning and count again
I knew not what I should say when I was before you
The rain had me damp
From the burden of a tumultuous journey.
Always seemingly searching
For what I would possibly offer...
Religion was obscure
But, not wanting to miss any opportunity to know you
I surrendered to every holy place and faith I came across.
I came seeking direction
Walked circles around your statues
I knew not what to offer
My hands were empty
The fruit I had not purchased
From the woman selling alms outside your gate.
I entered nonetheless
Hungry and thwarted by a self-imposed loneliness
And, I was unsure if I was to feed you...
Or, you were to feed me?
At times, I even felt unsure of how to pray.
I came as a wanderer
Wanting to offer something
Yet not knowing what
Finally, I decided
I would offer myself.
With all my love,