Significance. This is me and Hamilton Pool (near Austin, TX) back in 2014. More correctly, this is Hamilton Pool and me. When this picture was taken back in 2014 I was struck by the contrast between the vast size and drama of this magnificent landscape and little ol’ insignificant me next to it. This resonated for me as a yogi, reminding me of spiritual teachings that encourage us to ‘shift perspective’ and remember that ‘it’s not all about us.’ I like to teach about the freedom that comes from taking this perspective. Our problems are pretty small when compared to the world’s.
As I looked at this picture earlier this week I had a different response. I found myself thinking about all the people I miss – people one might not think of as “significant” — people from Kripalu whose last names I never learned; people whom I know very little about. I miss Brenda at the front desk greeting me at 6 am at the end of her night shift; I miss Ishmael in the dining hall; I miss Kristen in the Production Department who made sure the room was prepped when I walked in to teach; I miss Donny in AV who asked if I needed anything. I miss people from Housekeeping who I saw year after year in passing in the hallway, if only to exchange a few words and a smile. Those smiles, those hugs, that eye contact, even brief, turns out to be incredibly significant to me.
It made me think about what else is significant to me that I take for granted. If I look around me there are old books attached to important moments of my life; cards that someone made me by hand decades ago; a souvenir I brought home from an amazing adventure in Mexico with Stef; a tree outside my window that David and I planted when we first moved to this house and named Delores. We are surrounded by significance. And it’s important to honor those people and objects that hold the meaning of our lives. Swami Kripalu, like other spiritual teachers, had few belongings – his desk, his pen, but they had names because they were significant to him.
Pause, look around you and see the treasures of meaning – the well-worn shoes, the sweatshirt that was a gift, the table you picked up on the street. Close your eyes and see all the significant people that make up your life – even — and especially — those that one might not at first call “significant”. These may in fact be some of the people you miss most.
And in this time of separation remember that you are this for someone else. Significant.