In college or other years in our youth, we “let loose” right? And therefore, without any care for who was watching, following, or within spitting distance, we inevitably performed fundamentally stupid acts. We said stupid things. We judged others yet forgot to hold ourselves to the same standards. But now, as adults, we serve an unwritten rule: set an example.
Unfortunately, the past 48 hours I learned of and experienced several embarrasing examples that I simply must write about in an effort to prove I am far from perfect, and send a positive ripple out there, out to you and everyone else. And for your sake, I narrowed the examples down to just three.
Example 1: Today at my noon yoga class I instantly judged this new yoga instructor for potentially weighing more than me even though we must be about the same height, and for looking far from in shape, to me. Yeah I know I suck. Any muscle fiber of hers hid underneath jiggly dimply wiggling… you get the picture. What honestly grumbled in my head was, “I am supposed to learn from her? She is supposed to show me a thing or two as my instructor? What could I possibly get out of a class of hers?” Yes. Rotten. That’s why a horrible person like me needs to take yoga class. ” First pose, FIRST POSE people, my chest, shoulders, and arms shook like I was tied to one of those old-school weight loss machines, you know, with that crazy motorized belt.
She explained to the class in a very kind soft voice, “Some of you might find even this challenging.” Then she saw me shaking so much I’d send off a seismograph, and sighed, “Oh yes. And that’s OK. Some of you probably work at computers all day.” I nodded and tried to breathe away my tremors. Long story short here, I walked out of that class embarrassed of myself. I scolded myself silently and reminded myself that everyone has something to give, and she obviously was a very good instructor. Every single student praised and thanked her for such a good class. She had a lot of excellent lessons for me. She was there before me as a great example of sharing a good-hearted, kind, yet challenging healthy practice. She was at peace with herself and had every right to be. Yes, I have a lot to learn from her on several levels.
Example 2: On my way home from yoga class, I stopped for the two men standing in the crosswalk, waiting for their chance to cross East Washington. They smiled and nodded only after a mild surprise that I actually abided by the law and stopped. Hey, they were in the crosswalk and I respect that. Jaywalkers on the other hand… get to the well-marked crosswalk a half block up, please. They exist for a reason. Back to my cross-walking pedestrians. Just as they reached the median and I could proceed forward, I watched a female cop (who looked terribly similar to me) lead oncoming traffic through the very crosswalk these two black men were standing in. If the cop isn’t going to stop who is? Small note: my husband actually got a ticket on East Washington for not stopping at a crosswalk in an uncontrolled intersection when the pedestrians were all white-collared folks up by the capital, and they hadn’t actually stepped into the crosswalk yet. What kind of standard is held here?
Example 3: I don’t even want to spell this one out in detail. Let’s just say that it’s a case where someone who has been holding other people to extremely high standards (and for good reason too) let loose to such an extent, one could easily come up with a few unflattering labels of the kind we normally awesome women hate to be associated. No one trying to date this person would pass her test for acting half as immature and irresponsible as she displayed the other night. So as a result, in my book, this friend just flushed much hard-earned local integrity and respect down the toilet, along with the beer vomit. Thank goodness the world is large and the solution to polution is dilution. Someone from a different pond will never know.
Conclusion: We can do better people, including myself. Yes we are human, therefore we err. I get that. But can’t we just try a little harder not to err so much? And these are just three examples of prejudiced, unfair, hypocritical situations which could have easily turned out differently had we acted as the better human. We have it in us to be incredibly stellar, loving, caring, open, respectful members of our community. We expect others to be remarkable, upholding, respectable members of our community. We too own the power to set excellent contagious pay-it-forward examples out there, everywhere, to everyone. We can do this.
There is a beautiful statement most yoga instructors use to close the class:
“I honor the light in you, as you honor the light in me. Namaste.”