This morning I was talking to Marissa Bracke. She is an unmitigated delight, by the way, and I’m thrilled to be working with her.
Anyway, she mentioned to me that her friend Pam Slim also talks about this idea that I’m always banging on about – the idea that we each have our own unique way of being of service in the world. Pam has a wonderful metaphor for this truth.
Pam says that we each have our unique medicine for the world.
Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t it powerful?
Imagine how your life might be different if you really believed that. If you believed that your life up to this moment, and everything about who you are in this moment, constitute the ingredients for a potent and entirely unique medicine for what ails the world.
The best part is that this only works if we really include everything that makes up who we are in this moment. Not just the parts that we think are admirable, or beautiful or presentable, but also the parts that we generally think we need to keep out of the public eye.
Because here’s how I think it works…
Caveat: I’m about to use a metaphor which may not be entirely medically accurate. If this bugs you, please accept my apologies in advance. I still love the metaphor
I believe that we each develop our own unique medicine in the same way that a vaccine works, through being exposed to the pathogen.
As a yoga teacher my particular medicine in the medicine of kindness. I teach the power of entering into a new relationship with our bodies and ourselves grounded in kindness. Kindness is the medicine I have to offer.
How did I get this medicine?
I got it by repeatedly exposing myself to the pathogen of self-criticism. I can’t say that I recommend this, but for some of us it is pretty much unavoidable. Like in a vaccination, I was exposed to the pathogen and my immune system developed ways of responding. My unique medicine has grown directly out of my own ‘weakness’, my own ‘shadow’.
I also think that we find the medicine that we need. The people who need your particular kind of medicine will be drawn to you. As a yoga student I found myself drawn to teachers who had just the right kind of medicine for what ailed me.
Now, as a teacher, over and over again I hear my students describing the challenges they are encountering in their practice and they are exactly the challenges I have encountered in my own practice.
This might be what some people call finding your ‘right people’. I find it very liberating. I don’t have to worry too much about whether everyone will love my 30 days of yoga. I can just trust that the people who are drawn to me will be the people who need my kind of medicine.
If you think that you could do with a shot of kindness, especially when it comes to your relationship to your body, then my course is probably for you. If you don’t think kindness is what you need, well I’d love to give you a big hug because I’m convinced that we all need kindness, but I’m also more than cool with the fact that my course might not be for you.
I also find it liberating to be reminded that I don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to be of service. My medicine, my unique way to be of service, has grown and continues to grow out of those very parts of me that I tend to think of as less than perfect.
I’m also always up for a dose of my own medicine!