Barrier Breaker

I missed my new yoga class last week because we were down at our house in Florida with my daughter on Spring Break. My sister sent a text from the”Y” up in Charlotte to tell me that there was a substitute instructor because the regular teacher’s dad had died.

She was back leading our group yesterday and you would never have guessed anything major had shifted in her life. Towards the end, during the meditation segment (when I normally compose my grocery list 😕) I wrestled with whether or not I should offer my condolences; I really don’t now this woman. I am so uncomfortable when it comes to this stuff; always afraid I’m going to bust through someone’s privacy barrier and put them (and me)  in an uncomfortable position.


After all the namastes were said, the girl next to me approached the teacher. I heard them  softly talking about her dad. I rolled up my mat, tucked it under my arm, and gingerly walked over to join them. When the brief conversation came to an end, the student rather abruptly announced, “I’m going to give you a hug.”  Yeah, it was a little forced, but I took it as an opportunity to make my move. “I’m going to give you one too” I heard myself say.

When I backed up, I bumped into my sister who was just then reaching out to do the same. As I moved away I saw another woman coming over to wrap the teacher in another embrace. It was like a chain reaction hug-athon..and you could see the instructor was very touched.

But what if that first girl hadn’t broken down that initial, invisible, awkward barrier?  It was obvious to me that there was a pent up desire to comfort this woman in her time of grief. All it took was one girl with a bold and loving heart to open up the gate allowing the rest of us to flow through.

I don’t want to live in a world where we don’t acknowledge and assuage each other’s pain. So I guess I need to learn to put aside my constant concerns about how my actions  will be perceived and focus instead on just being myself and follow the promptings I feel in my heart. I’d rather take a chance and face possible embarrassment or rejection than be walled off from the people in my life.









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