I was wearing a Rushing to Yoga Foundation jacket on my flight from San Diego to Chicago the other day. As everyone scheduled for that flight was dutifully in line boarding the plane, I could tell that a woman behind me had read the back of my jacket because I heard her laugh; it floated over my right shoulder and greeted my ears. Turning around with a grin on my face, I saw her smile and then our eyes met as if to invite conversation with one another. Recovering from her laughter, she asked me what Rushing to Yoga Foundation was all about. I enthusiastically responded with our newly adopted tag line (actually, we haven’t adopted it – we are just trying it out this week to see what kind of reaction we get).
“Rushing to Yoga? Why… we facilitate your journey toward discovering and loving your authentic self.”
Her smiling face changed into a strained, stern gaze. As I noted what appeared to be a trace of pain on her forehead, I immediately thought to tell the marketing people that this is a bad tag line. Just as I was envisioning who I would call first on the team to share what I had just witnessed, her look changed. It now took the shape of a more pleading cry for assistance.
“I need that,” she said with no inflection whatsoever.
The intensity in her voice startled me. My smile left my face and I stepped out of the boarding line to attempt to engage her in conversation. However, she did not join me. She simply glanced back over her shoulder as she moved forward in line to occupy the space I had just vacated. Without slowing her movement forward in line, she delicately shouted back to me as if to offer me words of encouragement.
“I need to learn to love myself – whoever that self is.”
With that, I saw this beautiful, seemingly successful woman’s head turn back around and she strode with quickened pace, and great confidence down the bridge way to board the plane.
I stood frozen in the bustling entryway to the gate of the plane. Fortunately, someone bumped into me; their gentle, yet forceful bodily nudge brought me back to the place I was standing and the realization that I needed to get back in line and board the plane. As a very polite woman beckoned me back into existence by inviting me to join the line just in front of her, my mind began to question what I had just heard.
With all the typical commotion of boarding a plane, I added a bit more because I was looking frantically around the plane trying to locate the woman I had so briefly met and who had significantly impacted my current thoughts. I couldn’t spot her anywhere. Taking my assigned seat, I began to contemplate further what I had just heard.
I wondered whether many of us in Western society have come to believe that the process of discovering who we authentically are is a luxury and one in which we must give ourselves permission to explore. Or perhaps we have decided that getting to know ourselves is a self-centered practice and one that promotes the ego-self, rather than the source energy soul self. Whatever the reason, why wouldn’t we want to know ourselves better so that we can come to genuinely love ourselves deeper?
If you find yourself in a place where you don’t feel you have the luxury to discover who you are or who you are becoming, please take a moment…just a moment to breathe and invite in self-discovery. Invite in who you may be; you may surprise yourself to discover that you indeed are your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy. It really only takes a moment. And here is a guided opportunity just for you to go into the quiet space within yourself and invite in a genuine relationship with your authentic self:
Marilee J. Bresciani, Ph.D., is a professor of higher education and the Founder of Rushing to Yoga Foundation. Her now more than 24 years of professional work has been committed to changing the way that America talks about quality of higher education. In order to keep from going crazy about trying to get the American public to care about what students are actually learning and how they are developing, rather than other indicators that have nothing to do with that, she has engaged in yoga, meditation, and self-referral. Marilee’s mantra is “I teach what I need to learn.”