I recently listened to a Dharma talk by Sarah Powers; she talked about how interpersonal relationships are such an important part of the yogic path. When we can find a place of equanimity physically and emotionally, and when we can achieve a level of consistent mindfulness, only then, can we start to truly reach new levels interpersonally.
It makes sense. How can we love another being if we don't love ourselves. As a twin, I have always struggled with getting connected to my whole self, my own true identity. As a result, I struggle to find a satisfying connection with my twin sister Katherine. Since my conception, I've shared space, been in reaction to another being. First we shared a womb (Katherine refers to us as "wombmates") and then, even though we weren't identical, from the time we were born, we were seen in reference to the other.
I was tall, she was short. I was shy, she was funny. I was crabby, she was playful. I did sports, she did theater. And now, even though we are adults and have maneuvered our way into our own "identities", vestiges of this shared identity remain. Hearing Sarah Powers talk about equanimity made me think a lot about my twin identity. Do I have individual emotional equanimity? No. Will I ever have it? I hope so, but I realize that, because I am a twin, living in this consistently co-reflective space (albeit subconscious most of the time), I might have to work a little bit harder, dig a little bit deeper.
One place where I don't share identity space with my twin sister is in my yoga life. Maybe that's why it's such a big part of my life, a important daily touchstone for me. It's only me. It's mine. Katherine has an equally vibrant, deep connection to her own work in her life in the Bay area, and I'm guessing that she feels equally enriched from having something that is solely hers.
I'm in a particularly uncomfortable time with Katherine right now. We are struggling to connect, to celebrate each other. Even though in current time, we are very, very different from each other, we still struggle with this complicated shared identity; we are still reacting to each other. Yoga helps remind me who I am. I always say that yoga is a lifetime process. It's a wave we ride, up, down, over, in, out and through. It's not all good or fun or calm, but it's a path that gets us to where we need to go. And once again, yoga, my greatest teacher reminds me that my relationship with my twin is a process as well.