One Love

By Colleen Saidman Yee, February, 2008

“Suffering is when we forget that we belong to each other.” —Mother Theresa

“One day when I was feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me. That feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I know that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house, I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it.” —Alice Walker

We have moments of clarity. We have moments where nothing is missing. We have moments where we are void of competition and fear. We have moments where we are not torn between us and them. They are the moments where we abide in our true state: ONE LOVE. The moment after the exhale and before the inhale often brings us to that place. Opening the hearts via backbending can bring us to that place. Extreme beauty can bring us there. Extreme sadness can also bring us there.

As we pry open our rusty, defensive, protective hearts in yoga class, are we really decreasing hatred and coming closer to that state that makes us want to run around the house crying, laughing and knowing without a doubt there is one love?

The heart radiates 9 feet in diameter. So whatever the state of your heart, be it cold, broken, armored, fearful or warm, open, vulnerable and compassionate, you are affecting those that come in contact with you. This is a scientific fact. Dr. Phillip Bart (a renowned cardiologist), says that a truly open heart can radiate into infinity.

We see this radiance in newborn babies. We see it in those that are ready to die. A lot of times we see it in those that have endured tragedy or major illness. Why wait for our death bed to wake up?

Iyengar says: “Overcoming backbends is overcoming fear.” Are we frozen in fear? What causes that fear? Is love the opposite of fear? Can backbends overcome our fears? Is our fear, just dwelling in the illusion of separateness? Without fear, would there be no competition, would there really be no us and them? Would there be peace?

One of my pressing fears today is that I am scared to death (not alive!) of losing my father. My diaphragm tightens, and literally shrinks as I fold to protect my aching heart. Is that a lack of trust? I am scared, alienated and confused. I choose to not feel so intensely most of the time so that I won’t be in a sobbing heap on the floor. What is it that I am afraid of? I ask myself on my more courageous days. I am afraid of my dad not being physically there when I call or make the journey to Indiana. My dad doesn’t say much. My mom does most of the talking, but I hear his breath and the excitement when he knows it is me calling and it saves my life. I am afraid of what my life will turn into without his approval. I am afraid of loosing the unconditional love that he provides. I am afraid that he may die without ever knowing how deeply I love, admire and respect him. So, do you know how I deal with it? The same way I deal with the rest of my fears, I stay too busy to make the call because I can’t bear the intensity and vulnerability of a heart that is open.

In those moments of clarity, be it after an exhale, after a backbend, or after a phone call, when we forget to protect ourselves, we realize that one love is beyond this physical being that we are walking around in. There is nothing that can break the connection from my soul to his. We are one heart, one love. Suffering comes when we believe ourselves to be separate.

So I ask myself and you to be courageous. Let’s make the phone call. Let’s slow down and feel the intense sadness as well as the intense beauty. Let’s get on the mats and pry open our hearts and watch that magical place after the exhale. Let’s be alive with our vulnerability and our open hearts. Let us spread the love into eternity. Let’s run around the house laughing and crying.

With Love,
Colleen Saidman Yee

Colleen Saidman Yee

A graduate of Jivamukti’s 1998 teacher-training program, Colleen opened Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, in 1999. She has taught several teacher trainings at Yoga Shanti, some with her husband, Rodney Yee. The New York Times christened Colleen "The First Lady of Yoga," and has also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Oprah, Marie-Claire, Allure, and Yoga Journal. Before that she had a varied career: She was a cover girl, a student of shiatsu, and she lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute. More recently, together with Rodney, Colleen helped to create Urban Zen's Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, Donna Karan’s worldwide initiative. Colleen's latest yoga DVD is "Calorie Killer Yoga." Colleen is a co-founder of Yoga Shanti New York.

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