Yoga, Impressions and Projections

As a yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer and plain ol’ human person living an ordinary life with others,

I am often struck by our need as humans to be “impressed” by one another.  On one hand, it is so amazing to be inspired and influenced by each other to attain our highest goals and to live from our fullest potential.  On the other hand, impressions and accolades are often not the complete picture of any human being, and one person’s abilities to excel can certainly make another, fraught with difficulties, feel inadequate or ashamed of one’s inabilities.

rosesI was thinking about this in terms of how we all like to portray ourselves on film and in social media.
For instance, right now, I’m suffering from a cold, am feeling a little under the weather, have a stuffy nose, glasses on, blogging in bed with the blinds down.
I certainly am not going to take a photo of myself and splash it all over this blog, because I don’t want to horrify you, dear reader.  And really, it’s mostly because I don’t want to horrify my ego self.

So why are we so in the business of trying to impress each other so much, with photos, updates, and posts of our remarkable lives and accomplishments in the world?

This article from the Huffington Post sums it all up quite well, actually.

Most likely because we all simply need, want and crave attention and love.  There is a child in all of us that never dies.  And he/she requires attention and love, not just a few times a year, but always, every moment, every second, never-ending love and attention.  If you were not seen, heard and loved as a child, it is difficult to grow into a mature, strong, loving adult because your ways of expressing your self were not honored, heard and loved.  And so you have to keep nurturing and honoring that child within you.  And even those of us who were heard and loved as children, need to keep giving our selves honor and respect.  It’s very important to self-heal.   This being seen, heard and loved doesn’t just have to come from your parents, actually.  Your biological parents are not your only parents, but must come from many adults around who support and nourish your well-being.

I was raised by many people.  And in my own life, it seemed that at times, in my early childhood, my very busy parents only gave me the attention I craved when I performed well, and when I “impressed” them.  Eventually, this gave way to my teenage years when I did the opposite, which is incredibly healthy for one’s growth as an individual, mature adult. As a teenager I made sure to do everything that my parents did not want me to do.  And it was horrifying and fantastic at the same time.  By the time, I was in college, I was well on my way to figuring out exactly how to impress myself and others. Yoinks. (Oh the places we’ll go! The things we will do!  The money we’ll spend!  The stuff we will eat!  Etcetera, ad nausea, ad infinitum).

What has really been interesting, is that I’ve found through the years, that I’m not all that easily impressed.  But that I do fall in love very easily.  I fall in love with homeless men and women on the streets as much as I do with Ivy league grads on Wall Street.  And I’ve been examining this lack of my own being impressed.  I mean, of course, I’m impressed.  I say, “Wow,” “Awesome,” “Fantastic,” to everything – even difficulty.  But at the end of the day, how I impress others, or what of themselves people project on to me, or what of how awesome I am I project onto others, are not what give me great contentment.

The only thing that gives me great contentment is love, unconditional and supreme.

I think it’s the same for all beings, really.  Even the bloody mosquito is just trying to show itself unconditional love and honoring its existence by sticking its little beak into your beautiful arm.  Oh sweet little mosquito, I love thee (or something).

Which goes back to my body being sick, right now, blogging in bed with the blinds down and my two sweet dogs snoring away next to me.
It’s really not very impressionable at all, this picture.  And gosh, it sucks to have sickness in the body.  But I feel so much unconditional love for the human condition, my fallible, human condition, my dis-“ease”, my wanting to feel better, my lovely humidifer that looks like Darth Vader spewing Peppermint scented vapors onto me.  My messy germ-ridden house that I don’t have any energy to clean.  My lovely bed that I’m about to collapse in.  It’s all not very impressive.  And I’m sure not projecting this illness onto anyone.  But golly, what a wonderful life.  What a joyful existence.  What silliness.  What madness.  What strum.  What drang.  What a drag.  What a feat.  How ridiculous?  How sublime.  All the same.  All the same.  Great Freedom.

Om shantih Om!


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