Today is the 4th of July. It has always been my “favorite holiday,” perhaps because I was born several days prior to it and because the 4th was actually my due date. My mom still affectionately terms it my “due date birthday.” We’re birthday girls in my family, what can I say…
Independence Day is a national holiday and, incidentally, I left a blank page up with the title “Independence Day” before leaving for yoga today. I didn’t intend to write a history lesson on the holiday, not at all; I was actually planning to weave the concept of “independence,” and all that hangs upon it, into an introspective piece that just so happened to be written on the 4th of July. Well, I left class today feeling profoundly connected and uplifted, which comes with the territory of belonging to this blessed Tribe, and thoughts were swimming around my brain. I was all ready to venture back to my writing chair, armed with the nuggets of wisdom I’d collected between sweaty chaturangas, furiously scribbling a great quote my teacher said that I knew I wanted to write about later. As I stood filling my water bottle, Lakshmi, the gorgeous and wise Being of light I am blessed to call teacher, walked past and called out, “Happy Interdependence Day!”
I felt a wave of, “ahhh, that just clicked,” wash over me. As I’d typed “Independence Day” into the headline of this piece earlier today, I’d had the sensation that it sounded very singular. Very separate. It left me with a heavy sensation rather than the buoyant one I associate to the holiday itself. I felt there was a connection between the word independence, the freedom of this nation and the liberation of the individual, but I wasn’t getting it from the word “independence.” I pondered it but didn’t dive much deeper, as I’d planned to come back to this page with a freshly yoga’d mind. I trusted the answers would come to me with the cyclical nature of my practice, before-during-after, as they so often do.
Ironically, my yoga brain wasn’t the one to draw the parallel, to connect the dots. It was Lakshmi’s. Suddenly everything slid into alignment and I understood why I had chosen that title, why I’d had those particular feelings around it, and why I hadn’t had the capacity to dive deeper into it this morning. Perhaps even why I’d attended that specific class. Been in that specific spot. Filled my water in that specific moment. Oh, down the rabbit hole I go…
The bottom line is Universe hadn’t presented me with all the bits of thread yet. It had given me red and blue, but it wasn’t until that moment, at the water fountain, that I was handed the white to weave into this tapestry.
Independence Day. We are celebrating the liberty of our nation; the barrier that stood between the concept of independence and my desire to relate it to humanity is that, while I’ve always seen independence as a beautiful thing (which it is), it felt an isolating term today. I see now that I’ve had, in recent years, independence on a pedestal of sorts, regularly condemning myself for being too reliant on others. Needing the help, opinions, feedback, approval, permission, what-have-you of others for whatever the scenario may be. I had grown to see codependence as the only alternative to independence and, thus, marked myself with a scarlet C: the hopeless Codependent.
Today the veil that was strewn across the middle territory, the sheathed area between independent and codependent, was lifted. Interdependence (cue the chorus of enlightenment, “ahhhh!”).
We are not faulted for leaning on others. We, in fact, need one another. Yes, we are self-stable human beings, but only to an extent. Very few of us live without reliance on any other being. Mind you electricity is delivered by someone else, many if not all of our garments are crafted by someone else, we travel across oceans by the guidance of someone else…it goes on and on. We are a Tribe. A clan. A not-so-neatly woven and all the more beautiful for it textile of diversity, interconnectedness, contribution and collaboration.
It is through one another that we learn, that our own deepest truths are reflected, that we grow. We are mirrors for one another. Negative interactions have the capacity to teach us wondrous lessons about our own Selves, while positive experiences offer leaps and bounds of growth and light and love.
In yoga we lay our mats side by side and come together; a merging dichotomy. Self and Tribe. Practicing so as to come into the Self, transcending identity, subsequently bonding deeply with the humanity that pulses within the room.
It’s a fascinating polarity to me, as a yogini, especially one who came from a dedicated home practice. Having one’s “home studio” is inexpressibly beneficial. The practice is about the Self, but the community that one finds, experiences (sometimes even wordlessly) and feels (deeply, vibrationally, holistically) is profound. It’s magical. Sometimes it hits me, just before savasana, just as the thoughts begin to fade away into the distance, how truly beautiful it is to be in a room of this many bodies, this many Beings, this many heartbeats…I can’t help but marvel at the exquisite silence that blankets the room as all of the breath begins to settle, all of the heartbeats slow, all of the minds quiet. It seems magical to me that all of these different different people come together, all of these different lives intersect, here in this sacred space. Some of these people I know, I embrace, I catch up with enthusiastically before class and bow to, hands in Anjali Mudra, in farewell as we roll up our mats. Some of them I don’t know. Some of them sail wordlessly past me time after time, but we have conversations with our eyes, with our souls, with our higher Consciousness. Sometimes the interaction is reserved for later, months or even years down the road, a time when perhaps one of us most needs it. When a person who has been living, breathing, practicing, evolving, experiencing on the mat beside you, or across the room from you, finally permeates the little bubble that is your cognizant world. It can be truly remarkable.
We are connected. Independence is to be valued but its sister, the far less celebrated interdependence, is what I wish to embrace today. We are connected. Sometimes it is only through being lifted up that one sees the sunlight. Sometimes it is through experiencing someone who only sees sunlight in darkness that one’s perspective shifts. Sometimes it is merely about basking in the sunshine, or the darkness for that matter, beside another person.
Image courtesy of agoy UK: AcroYoga (http://agoy-uk.blogspot.com/2012/06/normal-0-false-false-false-en-gb-x-none.html)