Working with kids is a bombproof, no-fail way of learning the art of presence, the truth of acceptance and the idea of unconditional love.
While swinging at the park with my son, a conversation blossoms with a 12-year old girl. She is authentically charming and exudes admirable comfort in her own skin.
We begin a sway of back and forth on the chain-link swings. She starts talking about her life — relationships with her friends and the dramas that follow.
For a minute, I half tune in, think about how hot it is on this summer day and pump my legs a few times to catch a breeze. I forget the fact that I’m neglecting to offer a listening ear to this young girl who keeps talking about such an intimate part of her life — relationships.
Relationships are Life’s glue
Relationships are the glue that holds all of life’s projects together. I immediately tune back in, realizing this girl has something to teach me.
My new park friend continues to talk about how some of her friends don’t respect her for who she is and how she is learning to deal with it. “Speak louder!” I silently say to myself. Dear young one, what do you have to teach me on this hot summers day about learning to let go?
She continues to tell me with beautiful, fresh, keen eyes that she is working on creating space from these girlfriends in her life who don’t respect her for who she is. Uh, do I hear the practice of non-attachment here?
Focusing on the good
This 12-year-old has figured out how to make herself unattached to people, feelings and situations that don’t serve her anymore? She then goes on to say that she is just going to try not to get all consumed in worrying about these relationships by putting her energy into positive things, such as activities and volunteer work — things that make her feel good inside. Is this young lady revealing to me the secret of “letting go?” The act of replacing negative energy, patterns and habits with positive?
A brilliant young mind
I am floored and now basically on my knees begging for more. She concludes her conversation by saying that she’s trying not to worry if people don’t see her for who she is, and she will just hang out with friends who do.
Amazing! Profound! Brilliant! We have one life to live with each other on this planet. We might as well keep the circle crazy positive and let go of that which weighs us down. The practice of dedication to a life as our best selves while doing what we love could not be more complete without non-attachment to that which no longer serves us, the ability to let go of negative energy and replace it with the positive, and the intimate realization of unconditional love.
It all begins with Our relationship with ourselves
Relationships are everything. It starts with the relationship we have with ourselves. Once we begin to connect with who we truly are, then it can’t be touched. The light shines, and no cloud can dim it. It is only our own mind that can create the shadow.
Namaste, sweet young guru!
Erin Fernandez is an instructor at Yoga Off Broadway and a teacher for the community yoga class at the upcoming Eagle YogaFest.