Part of my job entails advising doctoral students. Initially, I almost wrote that sentence as:
Part of my job, my non-Bikram yoga life, entails advising doctoral students.
Except just as I was writing it, I realized how intertwined my Bikram yoga life is with every aspect of my life. It’s not possible to separate out the two. They feed into each other.
Today, in my office, sat a young woman who has literally flown halfway around the world, who has moved to an English speaking country (English is not her native language) to get a Ph.D. And, specifically, for me to advise her as she gets it.
Talk about the pressure, right? I’ve never had anyone move like that just so I could be their doctoral adviser. Better not screw this up.
Today, we spent some time talking about how overwhelmed she is in all her new adjustments and how frustrating it is for her when she cannot communicate her thoughts in English as well as she would like (or the amount of time it takes to do so).
And is this discussion, I was reminded of some things I have learned in my own practice:
1. We are all always doing the best we can at that day, at that time, and within a given moment.
2. We are all brave.
And I wanted her to know that I thought these things about her. Mostly, I wanted her to know how much I admired and respected her for her ability to get up and do what she wanted to do. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is all overwhelming. But it is also a great experience. And there will be great moments. So I looked at her and said, “I think you are very brave.”
And she looked back, smiled and said, “I AM brave!” and she said it with such confidence and happiness that it made me wish I had the level of bravery that she did. But possibly that’s not the way to really think about it. And then we talked more about how these difficult moments will come and go and be peppered with fantastic, wonderful moments she has yet to imagine.
You know – just like going to class! 🙂
And when our conversation was done, when she had left, I was thankful that I had learned these things through my practice. I was thankful that I could recognize and acknowledge her bravery and share that moment with her.