July 2018

Opening to a random page

I’ve rediscovered the library! Walking through the doors of the Benjamin Hooks Central Library feels like a cool treat for a hot Memphis summer afternoon.

Eight or ten books crowd my nightstand at any given time. And yes, I am reading them all! I lay down to read one book for a while, then go exploring the stack.

Maria Shriver’s book I’ve Been Thinking showed up on the New in Non-Fiction rack and I snapped it up. After hearing her interview on the On Being podcast, I wanted to hear more from her.

This morning I opened her book and decided I’d read a paragraph from any page. It was apropos of what I’ve been thinking lately.

Each short chapter is an essay that is meant as a prompt for reflection and coming to a deeper understanding on a range of topics.

Here’s what popped up today:

She writes about how individualism shaped our lives in the U.S. In early days of our country the ethos was one of “create your own destiny.” The message we’ve inherited from our American ancestors from the early days of our country is to work hard, take advantage of every opportunity and you can create freedom and a new life for yourself. They pulled themselves up “by their own boot straps,” I think they would say.

Ms. Shriver’s essay shifts that thinking and focuses on what we create together, and the power of aligning ourselves with others.

“We all share common longing to belong, to be seen and to be accepted,” she writes.

“But no one does anything alone. Going it all alone is silly. To try and do that is overwhelming, isolating and exhausting.”

These are my thoughts today as I teach 3 classes. I watch the way the group interacts with each other, and with me. Taking a yoga class alongside others can be uplifting. It is clear in those moments that every person is really looking for something similar. Each of us wants to feel better, make some sort of change (in body and/or mind), and seeking whatever we think yoga might bring to our lives.

As a teacher I see the power of the group. The dynamics between us all make for understanding and we work a bit more diligently when there is someone next to us trying new things as we are. We also laugh.

At the end of each class there are several minutes of quiet and rest. It is rare for a room full of people to be together but silent and still. We are a group, but at the same time we are encouraged to as individuals to let our bootstraps down , join with others and take a little respite knowing we are all in this together.