On Selfless Service
I recently completed thirty-two days of yoga teacher trainings with the amazing organization, Breathe For Change. The experience was filled with growth on many levels - I’ve become a more confident presenter, developed as a facilitator in my capacity to command space, to constructively organize groups, and read the field of the room. I’ve expanded as a human being- in my capacity to express compassion and feel deeply; in my ability to clearly observe myself, for the sake of consciously choosing how I want to be in the world. More than anything, I’ve learned how to sincerely be of service to others.
A few months ago, I shared with my boyfriend, Sam, an intention I had for myself while riding the subway home one evening. I told him that my longing was to feel so internally full that I had no choice but to be of sincere service to others. To first do enough of my own inner work, to love myself so much that the love spills out of me in the form of serving others. While my profession is all about supporting and giving to others, I still get something personal out of the work and am often motivated by how teaching and coaching grows me as an individual and for what it feels like to be seen. To me, the purpose of the inner work is for the sake of the collective, and I yearned to have a true experience of selfless service.
And then, on the last day of our 16 day intensive in Madison, I had a glimpse into my inner longing. Since the training was so large, we broke the trainees into mentorship groups of 10 people- the smaller family inside of the larger family. From the start, my mentorship group had a particular affection and support for one another that I haven’t experienced in any other training. Some might view my leadership style as boundaried and guarded, which is mostly intentional, however, this group (we called ourselves “The ‘Omies”) wouldn’t have it. They encouraged me, lovingly and compassionately, to open up about myself and to let go of trying to seem like I had it figured it all out. “Show us who you are, really,” they would ask. And so I did.
On our closing mentorship circle, one by one, each mentee shared their greatest learnings, what opened up for them, and anything else in order for them to feel complete in the experience. As each person spoke of their expanded consciousness, deepened self-love, and transformation, I sat there observing with tears building in my eyes. It was a moment in flow, a moment of knowing, that this was the reason I was put on this planet - I was here for them. In that instant, it was so remarkably clear to me, that my purpose was to be of selfless service to others; to be so internally full that all I could do was give. Not only did I know this to be true in my mind, I also felt it in my heart.
While it was just a glimpse, I will continue to strive to embody this type of leadership. This is not to say I don’t enjoy giving and serving, because I do, but it feels important that I don’t give to feel filled up, but that I give because I am already full.
What would it be like to fill yourself up first before you sincerely gave to others?