“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama
Whether we have an independent streak or not, each of us at our core is an interdependent being. As Martin Luther King Jr. shared in a 1967 peace sermon, “Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.” We cannot escape, nor survive without, the presence of others – something we are reminded of in the news on a daily basis.
So I feel quite confident in saying that neither you nor I would be here today if not for the generosity, kindness and contributions of others. I also feel safe saying we’ve each made an immeasurable difference in the lives of others.
Below are three ways to cultivate and strengthen this vital life skill of compassionate interdependence. How do nurture your connectivity (and in turn our collective wellbeing)? I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a few moments at the beginning of an asana, pranayama or meditation practice to bring to mind a person (or group of people) for whom you’d like to dedicate your practice. (You may also want to bring them back into awareness at the closing of your practice.) This can be a lovely way to remind yourself that in taking care of you, you are more equipped to show up for others.
Honoring the sacred nature of our practices can be a tremendous gift to those on the mats next to us. Arriving to class on time, quieting energy upon entering into a practice space, and gently rolling out a mat (rather than snapping) are just a few ways to make it easier for others to settle into practice as well. Expanding our practice to include transitional moments can also foster a higher quality of attention within our own practice.
Folks who regularly appreciate others tend to be happier and more emotionally resilient. This is not surprising – life’s heavy lifting moments don’t feel as heavy knowing we’re not alone. A few ways to practice gratitude include: keeping a gratitude journal (list 3-5 things you’re grateful for each morning when you wake up or each night before you go to bed); sharing something you’re grateful for at meals; and taking time at the beginning of your yoga practice to bring to mind someone you’re grateful for, understanding their presence helped make it possible for you to show up on the mat or cushion.
For more on interdependence check out 8 Limbs Founder and Director Anne Phyfe Palmer July blog earlier this month about its connection with the first limb of yoga.
Posted By: Ashley Dahl, MSW, 8 Limbs Leadership Coach