On day three of yoga teacher training we had a newcomer. Jamuna is from China and English is not her first language. I could sense her nervousness and greeted her with soft smiling eyes. She responded with kind eyes and a gentle bow of her head. When the time came that we could speak we exchanged hellos and names. There was not much speech comprehension, but plenty of soulful understanding. I told Jomuna if I could help her better understand anything to let me know how I could be there for her. She grabbed my hand and placed it on her chest and in broken English said “I’m not very good with words, but your heart speaks to my heart. Thank you.” It’s moments like these that I live for. We all have love inside of us. We have a choice to make whether to bring that love forth or keep it hidden in fear. I hope you too can make a noble choice. As I began journaling this story in our empty chalet room one evening, Jamuna walked in. It was as if as soon as my pen touched the paper my writing had called her in to visit me. I smiled as the timing reminded me that miracles are real. I decided to let her read this story and grateful tears of joy filled her eyes. I made the right choice. Love.
Have you ever had the pleasure of a deep emotional connection with someone that you barely even know? My meeting Jamuna has proved the power of love. Compassion and connection can run so deep that it overcomes language barriers. Love is universal. Something really powerful between us happened again a few nights after our meeting. A group of us girls, all around the same age, all English speaking, little hippies were headed out to grab a quick bite before bed. Before I had even left my villa I already felt too tired. I was ready for a cup of chamomile and bed, but wanting to bond with my new tribe I pushed myself to join. We all walked over to a nearby restaurant and there was an immediate dark and quiet energy upon our arrival. There were no other patrons and when we went to find a table the owner sat up from one and said that they had to attend a funeral in the morning and the kitchen had closed early. I felt overwhelmed with compassion for this man. A complete stranger. This immediately made me think “Where’s your compassion for yourself?” I tend to put me last, but the tiny voices in my head reminded me that I was tired, needed quite time, and wanted to relax. I put me first and decided right then that I’d go home. I hugged my ladies, told them I was heading back, and guess what? They were compassionate.
Following my gut instinct back to my villa, I felt a sudden urge to knock on my new friend Jamuna’s door. It was like some force of energy was pulling me to towards her villa. I had no choice. Knock Knock Knock. “Come in!” I opened the door and Jamuna had a long black sheet of paper laid out on the floor, paint brushes in hand, and was all sprawled out like a true artist. There lie an incredible painting of my villa and the stunning ocean view. The reality of paradise was beautifully and perfectly painted into a portrait right in front of my eyes. I complimented her and asked her if this was really her work. I was stunned. I told her how talented she is and how much I admire her. She google translated “talented” and smiled at me after repeating the word in English a few times.
Jamuna had her hands over her mouth in what looked like shock of seeing me. She said, “I feel very connect.” Remember, Jamuna’s first language is Chinese. She came to this yoga teacher training not knowing a lick of English. She is a braver woman than I and I admire her courage. She eagerly pointed down at a blank roll of art paper and then took out her phone. On her iphone screen was a photo of her and I taken the night that we met. She pointed at my face in the photo and in disbelief said, “I paint you face. You knock on my door.” Wow! I was shocked. Just two nights prior a we had a very similar encounter. I had just dipped into my creative outlet with her in mind as she walked into the room. While each of us were tapped into our creative outlets, mine writing, her’s painting, both feeling deep love and compassion for one another, there was an energy force between us, literally pulling us together. Woah. How rad is that?
I think my new friend has really awakened my awareness to the fact of how deeply we are all interconnected. I have always known it, but what beautiful and tangible proof. Here is this woman, who’s left her 10 year old son to be here, having to translate every other word spoken to her, in an unknown place, in class from morning to night with strangers who all speak the same language. Not only just not being able to follow dialect, tones, and tempo, but is also here learning a new craft. That just blows my mind. She is so brave. So full of courage. She also must have so much compassion towards herself to step up and do something like that. I admire her so much.
I have spent a lot of time with Jamuna the past few weeks. She’ll cut up fruit for us in the mornings and come visit me on my balcony. Sometimes we just sit in comfortable silence watching the ocean together. It’s incredible how comfortable and calm I am around her. She brings a simple stillness into the room and if you take the time to get to know her she’s simply pure love. She even has a sense of humor. She’s actually really really funny. I have laughed more with her than I have with anyone else here. During class a few days ago I saw her doodling and I asked her what it was. She looked at me and said, “It’s you, you sexy angel!” I’ve taught her a few words along the way, one of her favorites is “black.” I’m not sure why but every so often we’ll just look at each other and say “BLACK!” and die laughing. We’ve created a beautiful bond and I am so grateful. I love this woman for more than just being funny, sweet, and giving. She has opened my eyes to the fact that if you listen with your heart you will see that love is all around us.