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Recently, after teaching a class, I witnessed one of my yogis, a gorgeous woman in her late 20s, come up to one of my long-time students, a graceful and elegant woman in her 60s.

“You’re so beautiful, it’s ridiculous!” said the younger one in a matter of fact but very much from the heart tone. “I just wanted you to know.” The older beauty looked at her sort of stunned at first but quickly her eyes just sparkled with joy and gratitude. They hugged and then I introduced them to each other, as I giggled with happiness, feeling almost euphoric to have been part of this honest and innocent expression of love. This is the main reason I freakin love my non-job!

There is a lot of hugging and warmth and love going on at Rishi Yoga. I wanted to have my own yoga studio not to make money, or to be the princess of yoga in this town, but to create a space where humans can come back to their natural, innate and divine desire to express love and feel loved. This may sound cheesy and naive, especially in this love-deprived, competition-based and fear-ruled (in other words, ass-backwards) world, but I have learned long ago not to go by the ways of the world. I much prefer the ways of the heart, as cheesy and naive as they may seem.

When do we usually give compliments? To those we know well and like? To those we want something from? To the people who are popular and trendy? To those who are not a threat to us because they’re not better looking or smarter or more successful than we are? And how often are the compliments we decide to give honest expressions of how we feel?

We’re conditioned to always calculate what we say and do and carefully gauge the effects of our words and actions against the consequence of those words and actions as they relate to our possible benefit. Or, simply said, we’re taught — whether overtly or in subtle ways — to filter ourselves depending on who we are talking to and what we may need from that person.

I’ve never been very good at playing that game. I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve and I say what’s on my mind as if those things are somehow defects. I remind myself that the world is ass-backwards instead of trying to contort myself to fit the unnatural mold of “how adults should be.”

In my world, a compliment is an honest giving of my heart to another being. It’s a spontaneous and effortless giving for no other reason than the joy of giving itself. A true compliment can never be a giving-to-receive because that sort of giving is not giving at all.

So I will keep telling men that they’re handsome and women that they’re beautiful for the simple reason that this is what I see in them and I want them to see that beauty in themselves. It’s really not that hard to be kind. We all want and need the same thing and that is to feel loved and appreciated and seen for who we are at the deepest level, beyond the mask of the person and the meat suit we wear.

The world tells us that this is the season of giving. To me, every day is the season of giving as I have the choice to give freely from my heart, knowing that the miracle of true giving is that I receive exactly what I give.