You know how I love a good podcast, right? Well, there’s one episode that Eugene and I have been talking about at length for weeks (sometimes, I wish you could be a part of our dinner conversations) probably because it has to do with education. And, we think a lot about education, how we moved through school and college so differently, where Bodhi might go to school, how people learn, and what we learn while we’re in those spaces.
In this particular podcast episode, I learned about WeGrow, a school created by Rebekah Neumann, also the co-founder of WeWork. She discussed how every child has a gift and a talent - a superpower - and that it’s WeGrow’s mission to nurture it. I found myself nodding along to her words, finding them quite yogic in thought…and then she reveals she’s a yogi, too. Of course! I’ve been thinking about what my superpower was as a child. I’ve been thinking about how I believe in superpowers now, even as an adult. Do you?
Each of us on this planet has gifts, talents, messages and interests within that when tapped into light the world on fire. I believe that when we’re younger, we naturally follow those curiosities, those interests. We are innately tuned into our natural abilities. But, there’s a time when we start to question ourselves. We talk down to ourselves. We believe that we don’t have skills to share. When do we learn this way of thinking? When do we start to steal from our own selves?
In last week’s letter, I referenced “stealing from your own significance.” I’ve done it. At times, I still question my abilities and knowledge as a yoga teacher, yoga student, writer, wife, parent. Maybe you have, too? But, why? Maybe it’s because you were bullied. Maybe a teacher or a parent said you could “never do” the thing you want to do. Maybe you were made fun of for the way you looked (I know I was). Maybe a message of “not enough” has been planted in your brain by that magazine on your coffee table. However, you can choose what you want to believe. You can choose to believe in the only voice that matters, which is your own.
2.37 “To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.” - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali speaks about asteya, one of the Yamas in the yoga tradition, meaning non-stealing. There are many ways to steal - money, from the planet, time, possessions. But, what about stealing from yourself? When we steal from our own talents, and gifts, when we constantly second-guess ourselves or believe the negative voice of another, then we are essentially stealing from that which is true. We hide our art from the world. We hide our dreams. We hide behind clothing or make-up or energetic walls we’ve built around ourselves. Suppressing our superpowers, I think, can create anxiety, depression, physical manifestations (aka pain) of our inner turmoil.
But, what happens when we practice the opposite, when we practice asteya? What would it feel like to honor our own significance? To lean into the fact that we’re a remarkable listener, or that we remember everyone’s birthday, or that we are incredible teachers, or that we have this awesome idea for a great novel, or that we have uncanny ability to sense the energy of a room? To practice yoga is to find liberation. It’s to free yourself from the walls you’ve built around yourself, and to let others in on your magic, too.
I think I’m so struck by the message of WeGrow because going to school for me, especially in the early years, was a rough road. I was made fun of for the way I looked (you guys…my eyes apparently get really small when I smile). I was made fun of for how much I read. I was made fun of when I said I could “feel music.” It took me years to realize, Wait, don’t suppress those things. They are your superpowers! When you steal them from yourself, you already steal from what you might give to another. I didn’t just learn how to add and subtract or practice reading comprehension in school, I also learned how to shield and cover up my greatest abilities. If that was you, here’s a permission slip to drop the shield. To let your guard down a bit. To open yourself up, to share your gifts and superpowers. Some may love them. Some may not. But for the people who do, their lives will be forever changed, and I’m 100% certain yours will, too.
If you’re thinking, But, I don’t have a superpower…yes you do. Dig deep. What are you good at? What do others appreciate most about you? What questions do you get asked the most? The answers are there. Go within. Draw them out. Experience the bounty that a practice of non-stealing brings. As always, I LOVE hearing from you. What’s your superpower? How can I help encourage it? If you have a couple of minutes, I'd love to hear from you.