By Robyn Moreno, April, 2011
I don’t know whether its the underlying melancholy of this never-ending winter, some weird cosmic misalignment, or just because life happens, but it seems like I’ve been giving an awful lot of pep talks lately. I have several dear friends who are experiencing deep relationship trouble ranging from “taking a break” from a partner to full-on to divorce. There are others who hate their jobs, and are painfully worried about money. And there are those who call me with general neurosis about everything from impending birthdays to the impending end of the world.
So I do what I can to help. I send quotes from Pema Chodron and Haifiz, I recommend meditation CD’s and yoga classes. I offer advice, and give the number of a therapist or life coach. Sometimes I just listen.
I am not running for the title of “Bestest friend in the world.” In fact, many of my friends would scoff at that suggestion, smugly citing my “problematic tardiness” and propensity to cancel dates. That said, I honestly believe (and hope) I have become a better friend in recent years, and my yoga practice has been a big inspiration.
For far too long, I approached yoga with the same disconnected zeal I had with friendships. I was definitely enthused, but not really there. It wasn’t until I was blown open by a heartwrenching breakup did I finally come to my knees and realize there was a sticky mat beneath me. During those shellshocked months after moving out of my lovers apartment, the only solace I could find was yoga. And because my pain was so acute I became wildly present to all kinds of things I’d never noticed on my mat, like my knocked knees, and weirdly flat feet. But I began to notice other stuff too, like the cute shape of my toes, especially when they were painted blue! And my teachers poem, and the funny look on peoples faces when they are trying to hold Ardha Chandrasana.
My grief allowed me to get in my body and finally understand the pain and discomfort of others. And making friends with my strong but stiff body, allowed me to accept others faults as well. Because that is one type of friendship, isn’t it? Accepting people exactly as they are.
So now I am committed to both my yoga practice and showing up for my friends. And while I have ups and downs with both, I at least truly and finally know that we are all in this crazy practice and life together. And man, do we need each other because like Hafiz says, “Your heart and my heart, are very, very old friends.”
“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”
~ Bill Withers