Sweet Love & Learning at TSBVI
Three years ago, I stepped inside the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired for the very first time. I was excited for the opportunity to share yoga with this community and had all sorts of plans. I am sure you can already tell where this is headed. As I waited in the gymnasium for students to arrive, I rehearsed words in my head. Slowly I had a sweet group of students waiting in front of me and very quickly all my plans went out the door. They were not going to apply. I wasn’t fully prepared for what I was about to teach to. There was quite a varied range of ability in front of me. I felt nervous, uncertain and very uncomfortable. For quite some time, I thought that the feeling of discomfort had more to do with the students. With time, I have realized that the discomfort had everything to do with me.
The students at TSBVI come with a wide range of visual, physical and mental capacity. My comfort or willingness to be with what felt like a misfortune or a disability, on the surface, was/is a direct reflection of my willingness to be with my own imperfections and vulnerabilities. When I have trouble holding space for anyone struggling in their body/mind, whether it is a homeless person, a student or even my own children, it is a soft reflection of my ability to be with my own struggles. Maybe my challenges and vulnerabilities aren’t widely visible to those around me, but they are there. Sometimes it seems that accepting my vulnerabilities will make me feel broken; I have found over and over again, it is the exact thing that can help me feel whole as I am. In fact, only when I uncover all these barriers to entry within myself, do I more fully open to those around me.
I have continued teaching at the School for the Blind and I am eternally grateful for it. I have a newfound comfort there, though one that is always shifting. I go there weekly to share yoga and somehow always receive so much more. I have seen through the surface to the boundless beauty, spirit and humanity within all those students. They have been and are among my greatest teachers.