The heart of devotion


My life purpose journey brought me here. Though it took me months to place it. To name it.

The sensation seemed to occur whenever a student expressed her appreciation for how our time together touched her, particularly as she revealed gifts that I couldn’t have imagined or planned, let alone take credit for.

In response, an excruciating tenderness welled up inside of me, doused with so much humility that I found it almost unbearable.

I was back at Kripalu (the yoga center in Lenox, Massachusetts) when an understanding of this profound sensation began to take shape. I was among a large group of trainees as they were invited to come into a circle and speak their intentions for the week, allowing these to be expressed through the body as well.

It was my first time assisting at a training, but I took a turn too, and stepped inside…


My head bowed. My spine bent like a flower kissing the earth; and a word came forth that I hadn’t expected:


What did this mean?

To whom was I to be devoted?

To what?

I pondered this that week. I had a sense that serving at Kripalu had something to do with the understanding.

When I arrived back home, my exploration of devotion was buried by life, until I prepared to return again several weeks later for the second half of the training.

This time, I was relieved to hold none of the angst or anxiety that accompanied the unknowns of my first experience assisting, and yet my body didn’t seem to agree.

In the days leading up to my departure, blisters swelled at the corner of my mouth and at the end of the first evening, I had a full blown migraine, and it was still there when I woke before dawn the next morning, and was later accompanied by a large pimple on my chin and a welt on my cheek. Days later, I hurt my back in the simplest of yoga postures.

SOMETHING was going on…

10308250_461359630662896_569786176148467051_nBy the end of a vigorous week together, I was swept up in a current of sensation that left much of my mind behind. We gathered as a staff on the night before graduation and shared our appreciations for each other.

When it was my turn to acknowledge the instructor, I found myself without words or thoughts.

How was it possible that I had nothing to offer this woman whose work I had so long admired?

Megha Nancy Buttenheim, Founder: Let Your Yoga Dance
Megha Nancy Buttenheim,
Founder: Let Your Yoga Dance

I searched my mind and caught a glimpse of her earlier that day, sitting across from a student, in rapt attention, while the rest of us dashed off to lunch after the intense session of dance.

She looked like a child in that moment, and I recognized what I witnessed, and spoke this word in appreciation of her work:


The next morning, I stood beside a rose-petaled path that she had created on her hands and knees for the graduates. While she ushered them across the threshold of the room one last time, I silently greeted them along the way.

I felt so graced to bear witness to the enormity of this moment, and so honored to help steward the journey, that tears, typically frozen inside, flowed freely down my face.

When we took our seats and watched as the diplomas were bestowed, my delight was so great that I tasted pure joy.

As the ceremony ended, the graduates asked the staff to sit before them, and I was unprepared for what came next…

10309510_10152520651623746_3264191283948952743_n 2Music began to play and they formed a semi-circle in front of us, while others left the room and re-entered in a procession down the winding rose-petaled path, each bearing a basket in front of her heart.

When they arrived at the front of the room, they delivered a basket into each of our laps, bowing at our feet, and placing their hands there as the others called out appreciations for each one of us in stereophonic bliss.

My hands remained at my heart, unable to move, as tears of recognition washed my face.


2 thoughts on “The heart of devotion

  1. I put this quote on my FB page. I thought you’d understand it better than most.

    There are two kinds of people in this world:
    Those who wait to talk and those who listen.
    unknown author


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