I've often said that the greatest gift yoga has given me is the connections that I've made with some truly wonderful people. Today was the perfect example. After teaching yoga I had tea with a couple of the ladies that came to class. It didn't take long to realize that God was serving the tea today. Turns out these two lovely ladies have walked in my shoes. It was so helpful to hear their stories.
One of the women talked about her experience walking the Camino De Santiago. The greatest lesson she learned during the Camino pilgrimage was how important it is for her to foster and nurture the relationships that are important to her. The other woman talked about how close she is with her children. How even though they don't get to spend a lot of time physically together she feels very connected to them.
With many of my relationships coming to an end and others strained I've been feeling disconnected. It seems easier to isolate rather than engage with people. Endings seem inevitable so I wonder if it's even worth the effort of trying to connect with others. Today I was reminded that personal connections feed my soul. Spending time with people I love and care about is worth the effort. What I hadn't considered before was that even the brief encounters are worth the effort.
As we sat outside the coffee shop a group of older women walked by. One sassy lady stopped at our table and asked if we were enjoying our meal. She was quite a character. Dressed in her "Sunday Best", she joked about watching her weight. She was full of life and her cheerful demeanor made me smile. I'll probably never see that woman again but she left an impression on me. She was enjoying the summer afternoon with some friends... Maybe they were life long friends or maybe they just met. It didn't matter, they were enjoying each others company.
During meditation we are instructed to give our attention more to the mantra and less to the thoughts. The thoughts will come and go but we continue to give our attention to the mantra. Eventually, the thoughts become less and less distracting. "What you give your attention to grows stronger in your life."
This lesson holds true in daily living too. We give attention to the relationships and connections that feed our soul. There will be relationships that come and go. There will be relationships that are very much one sided. Rather than focusing on those experiences maybe we need to shift our focus to where we do feel connected. "What you give your attention to grows stronger in your life."
I'm thinking now of Betheyla. She was a teacher that I met years ago. At the time, I had no idea the impact of that brief encounter on my life. I can assure you that she had no idea how powerfully she affected the course of my life. We just never know how much our connections affect others both the brief ones and the life long ones.
That sassy lady won't ever know how she made us smile and how her presence validated the message of the importance of nurturing and fostering connections. Whether brief or life long connections it's worth the effort. For the 3rd time in 3 days I thought about the astrologer who told me it's my dharma to share the word of God with others.
Only now I'm realizing what that meant. God is always sharing his message with us. He speaks through the people we connect with. We are all God's instruments. It is our dharma to share the word of God with others. How could we possibly do that if we don't foster and nurture our relationships with others?