Monday, July 6, 2009

One Love

(This week's post is from my dear friend Sarah Jane Shangraw in Boston. Thank you S.J.!)

When Megan and I were in college, U2’s “One” hit the airwaves and no matter how many times I heard it, I never got sick of it. No one did. We all loved that song.

Bono’s lyric at the end, “We get to carry each other” struck me as odd, though. Wishy-washy, in fact. I wondered why he didn’t instead sing “We’ve got to carry each other.” We’re all one, life can be unbearably hard, and we aren’t equipped to get through it alone. So we must -- we’ve got to -- carry each other. Right? I felt adamant.

While that may be true, more recently I came to understand the nuance and wisdom in the actual lyric. We are fortunate indeed for the opportunity to connect in times of trouble. To help carry each other is a privilege because when we reach out, we grow. Lucky for us, we can choose to be of service. We can buoy up others and they in turn will buoy us. Our condition is this: “We get to carry each other.” Right on, Bono.

That was the thinking behind last Saturday’s donation-based “Yoga for Megan” class in Boston: 15 students, 10 minutes of opening meditation, 8 sun salutes, several down dogs and standing poses, 3 OMs, and a good savasana later, we raised nearly $700 for Megan’s Fund.

Having spent my first several months as a yoga teacher giving small private lessons only, I was blown away by the experience of teaching a larger class. I looked around and saw 15 very different triangle poses, and later, 15 very different tree poses. Every body expressed each pose to the degree that made sense. The variation was beautiful. And it only emphasized what between us was the same.

We shared the intention of creating good vibes and support for another person. These yogis’ good intentions shone through their steady effort, their soft and still forward gazes during balance poses, and the fullness and richness of the OMs we chanted “ocean-style,” three rounds to the pace of our own breath so waves of vibrations filled the room.

But the best part was how afterward, to a person, these students expressed thanks for the opportunity to help Megan. It goes without saying I’d do most anything for Megan -- she’s a dear friend and one of the brightest sparks in my life. But most of these students have never even met Megan. They were thankful for the opportunity to be of service to something other than themselves.

In yogic philosophy, this is known as Ishvara pranidhana -- participation with the spirit of offering. In Bono’s parlance, it’s carrying each other. Whatever you call it, it was good. And something to sing about, for sure.

Megan, we hope you felt the love.