Friday, April 03, 2009

It's Not All About Me

I used to have a boss, and she still ranks as one of my best bosses ever, who liked to say "It's All About Me."

You could be having a conversation with her and be nattering on about something or other, and she would tap you on the arm, stop you, point at herself, and say "excuse me...did you forget that it's All About Me?" This was such a stock saying that one of my coworkers found a banner for her to display on the office door, declaring "It's All About Me."

Now, she could get away with this because she was an amazing boss. She was compassionate, tough, smart, charming, and had the best stock of strange Southern sayings that I've ever heard. (Apparently, they learn these as young whippersnappers, growing up in the state of Texas.) I worked for her seven or eight years ago, but whenever I run into someone who is unable to delegate because she knows that she can do it better, faster, easier, I still tell the story of the time that my boss caught me on a two-story ladder in the stockroom, working on sale merchandise. She made me come all the way down, and then asked me: "Do you want to be the hardest working person in this store forever? Or do you want to teach other people to help you?"

So, consider me as having an affection for All About Me. But this morning I thought to myself: it's not about me. I was driving to teach my Friday morning class at the new studio, where my classes average between four students to none. And though I've been aware that it's not entirely personal (the weather, the economy, kids being out of school, the time of the class, the teacher that one connects with - there are a million reasons why people go to one class versus another), it feels, at the same time, like a test of personality.

But this morning, it came into my head: it's not about me. I'm just a stand-in for the teachings. My job is to show up, take the students through a practice that has some sense and sequencing and intention to it, teach to the best of my abilities, maybe slip a little lesson in about the better parts of our natures and how yoga can help us move toward that, and have some fun. That's it. Whatever happens after that, I can't control.

This does not mean that tomorrow and ever after, I will always be feeling It's Not All About Me. The Yoga Sutra-s say that our patterns - our samskara - never go away. They just become latent, riding beneath the surface, pushed down and aside by more beneficial patterns that rest on a bit more clarity and a little less suffering. Maybe I need to find a banner for my door that says: It's Not All About Me.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Besides her saying "It's all about me" I smile when I remember her inviting you to sit down and have a chat with the invitation to "pop a squat".