The little boy skipped down the stairs, singing of free will. The dark, patterned carpet a backdrop to his carrot-colored hair, feathered loose from a recent shower, the boy wore a Superman T-shirt beneath an unbuttoned, denim shirt.
I stood in the hall near an open window, overlooking the dining room made up for a formal breakfast crowd yet to appear. Out the window, orange and purple, pink and white flowers filled the landscape against bright green grass.
I was silent in the morning, holding my phone, waiting for word from my children far away from me. The boy spotted me and slowed his gait.
The freedom of singing as if no one is watching subsided. He grew quiet until he past me, then resumed his skipping, resumed his unabashed singing, bounding between the squares on the carpet in rhythmic pattern.
Chandeliers hung from the ceiling and with the advance of each one, the boy jumped as if to reach it, believing he actually could.
He missed the first one by many feet, but from his vantage point, from his perspective, it was within reach. So close!
He jumped again, and again, and again, trying in the way that only children do, to reach his goal – undeterred by thoughts of I’m too far away, I’m too short, it’ll never happen.
With each attempt to reach the ceiling, his burst of childhood enthusiasm was so rich and genuine, I began to think he might actually make it. He might reach his goal. He might touch the light.
When we stop to witness the beauty all around, our lives grow richer. When we sit in the stillness for just a little while, we become clear, inspired, brave enough to take the next step into uncharted waters.
The teacher gives options, too – place the foot at the ankle if that’s all that is available to you. Place your foot higher, on the calf, or if you dare, up at the place where thigh meets hip. Wherever you can find balance and stand tall in your tree, do it. Dare to stand tall.
There is a domino effect when people fall. I stumble out of my pose and then the person next to me does and then the person after that. A whole row of previously balanced individuals becomes a falling cascade of confidence in the blink of an eye.
That’s all it takes. We can hold one another up or we can bring each other down.
The communal effect is that powerful.
On the great lawn outside our retreat hotel, white Adirondack chairs faced the beautiful blue lake. Throughout the day, people came to sit and relax into the view, moving chairs to suit their groupings.
Every morning, resort staff rearrange the chairs. They put them into threes, saying they cannot stand alone. They must create communities.