It's always a journey in the "yoga room." There are kids there that are there for stealing cigarettes, and kids for drinking, and kids for manslaughter and kids for animal cruelty, and kids for sexual offenses. Even though I know all these things, I don't see them as their offenses--I see lost children. Yoga is the way for them to find their way home--find their way to their breath--find their way back to themselves. I see scars on them--on the outside, but what I see most is the scars that are on the inside--the scars that come out when they are focused on their breath and focused on themselves, they become evident because they begin to heal as their hearts open. The boys class is beginning to really get into their breath--we started the class today laying on their backs breathing full yogic breath, full 100% breath, it amazes me everytime that I see it, but they truly soften during this time--they have really begun to let go and come home to themselves. One thing that is interesting to me is that I think not just these kids are lost--at times we all are--these kids are the inspiration that no matter what the breath can lead you home.
I read the story "The Cracked Pot"--A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the House, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of it's own imperfection. And miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw. So, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.
One boy came up to me after class, he's been in class about 2 months now, and he said--"I'm going to be committed today for 8 months in the psychiatric unit and that story is me--I'm a cracked pot but I can water the flowers of the earth. Thank you" I choked back tears, and said "we are all cracked pots watering the earth--that's why there are so many flowers---." He smiled a big kid grin--and left to go to the pshychiatric unit for 8 months where I know many flowers will bloom because of him. I offer blessings onto him on his long bumpy road and offer the many practices that he will miss to him to help guide him to his breath---guide him home.
Blessings to all the 'cracked pots' in the world--may we continue to water and make beautiful the world.