I walked into an LA yoga studio yesterday, a big corporate place, and struck-up a conversation with a young woman named Sarah. She was kind, with a gentle face – giving me the impression that I had walked into more than just a studio, but a community. I was grateful for this, because when she asked me the question “are you from the area?” I was left with two options – to be completely transparent, or to skirt around the question… in this instance, I chose transparency.
It was to be my first outside yoga class in four months. Physically, I was weaker than I had been; emotionally, I was a little worn-down. I was in the perfect position to approach the class as an expert-beginner. I had experience, but not in this body. I knew confidence and mental strength, but we had been apart for some time. It was my first class outside of Monte Nido Vista, a residential treatment home, and EDCC, a day program in LA, that I would be taking. I can hardly begin to describe the anxiety that I felt when the teacher first walked into the room. Something told me that he would know I hadn’t practiced in some time.
As far as my conversation with Sarah goes, I told her everything. A complete stranger, and I chose to open up about everything. What surprised me the most was how well she received my story and how touched she was that I shared. She opened up about having gone through some rough patches in her own life as well. It was as if we were close friends, just catching up on our time apart. And I felt stronger in the process – I owned who I am and where I am going in my life. I didn’t put up any kind of facade, and I was rewarded with a rich experience.
I believe that there is something so powerful about being transparent – an untapped connection, a new experience, an opportunity for growth… we far too often hide from our own lives and from other’s, creating a stigma around struggle and an unrelenting drive for success. If we could meet one another with transparency we could open a new gateway of expectation, one that relies more on honesty than competition.