At some point I wore down so completely that I was the one in need of saving. Only at that time did I realize that what I truly needed wasn’t to be fixed, saved, or helped like some damaged and fragmented thing. I needed support – people willing to offer tools for healing with intentions fully grounded in love. It wasn’t until people started viewing me as a whole human being, an equal that was beautiful just the way I was, that I could fathom viewing myself that way either.
In The Service of Life by Rachel Naomi Remen resonates with me based on my understanding of what it means to offer support and true service to others compared to "helping". The word may be a small difference, but the intention behind it speaks volumes. Serving is an act of respect and reverence that speaks much more loudly, personally, and meaningfully than acts of helping or fixing, which imply a need to become something other than exactly what we already are. As the article mentions, helping risks creating more damage by inadvertently taking away someone’s self-esteem and integrity. Fixing implies judgment.
Serving others not only helps them maintain their sense of self, but it also differs in that it provides tools rather than solutions. When we can learn to shape our own future, we empower ourselves. This is not only a more lasting effect, but the accountability virtually eliminates emotional debt.
In burning myself out trying to fix and save everyone and everything, I harmed myself and little by little became less capable of being of any service to myself or anyone else. However, when I shifted my outlook and tendencies towards support and service, I found myself becoming invigorated. It’s so much more gratifying to be part of a success story than to script it – to watch people create their own thriving lifestyles while standing on their own feet. It shows that I see every person and every cause as whole in itself, and my offer of support and service are there to shine light on the beauty and wholeness that already exists. Serving brightens our connection with all things, the Oneness I so deeply believe in, rather than creating differences.
Isn't this the essence of teaching yoga? Providing tools and guidance for people to implement in their own bodies and lives. Providing support and inspiration. Being a light bright enough that others can begin to see their own light, wholeness, and beauty reflecting back. It's all about serving, showing people their own gifts and empowering them to use them so that we as a whole can be served. An exchange like THAT is reciprocal.
Shifting toward a life of service and support not only resonates more deeply for me, I know it serves all of existence more deeply.