When I was a kid, I loved dancing around to music. I had several Disney records as well as a beloved Strawberry Shortcake album (the latter was even strawberry in color and hit a particular nerve in my parents with its high-pitched singing. Much to their chagrin, I loved it). I carefully choreographed dance routines in addition to my freeform interpretive dance.
My grandmother, Honey, came over one day. We always called my Dad’s mother Honey because years ago my oldest cousin had overheard my grandfather calling her “honey”, and started calling her Honey too. The name stuck.
Honey watched my inspired dance moves and then looked over to me and asked, “Did you create that dance all by yourself?”
I nodded, positively bursting with pride.
“Wow”, said Honey. “I can’t believe you created that beautiful dance all by yourself.”
Needless to say, I was floating on cloud nine. I danced on, certain that it was only a matter of time before I was on Broadway.
Honey had this special way of making you feel like you were the center of the universe. She had fun touches that made things special, whether it was serving us milk in fancy goblets or giving us presents that had lots of little gifts within one box. Her manner always instilled in me a feeling of my own greatness.
We lost Honey all too early to a heart attack. I was only eight at the time, but I always remembered Honey’s admiration of my dancing.
This memory fuels what I like to think of as my purpose for how I want to be in the world. I love that as a yoga teacher, I have the opportunity to help students achieve that feeling of their own greatness by nailing a challenging pose or realizing their progress in the practice. Whether it’s through teaching yoga, hanging out with friends, or even just in the small everyday interactions with the sales clerk or the person in the elevator with me, I strive to add a little brightness to each person’s day.
I definitely fall short of this all the time (that four-letter word I uttered at the car in front of me in traffic comes to mind, as does last night’s grumpy complaining to my husband). However, when I’m feeling particularly cranky or negative, it helps me a lot to re-focus back to my purpose. When I reconnect to my purpose, it ends up making me feel better. I feel more creative too, as one pleasant interaction gets me thinking of another way I might be able to add something positive to someone’s day.
Today is the anniversary of Honey’s death. I still miss her, but noting this date reminds me of the purpose she inspired.
What’s your purpose? What helps you stay connected to it?