Director’s Perspective

The Asheville School of Massage & Yoga believes that a supportive and nurturing environment within the framework of a rigorous course of study is crucial to personal, professional, and academic success.

It is the school’s mission to provide a caring place in which students, faculty, staff, and Asheville’s community members can learn and grow in these very special fields of study: Massage, Yoga, & Ayurveda.

mandala Director's Perspective

My Eyes So Soft

a poem by Hafiz

Your loneliness so quickly

Let it cut more

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,

My voice so

My need of God


A few articles in the March 09 Utne Reader on loneliness reminded me of this, my favorite Hafiz poem. Reading it, some presence in me says,

“Please, just sit here with me. Let go of the addiction, the constant compulsion to connect with some one or some thing out there, and come HOME to me. Close your eyes and come to me.”

And when I read the last line and pause at the last period, for a moment I’m home, and I bask in a wave of immediate and immense relief that I didn’t even know I was needing. Maybe this voice beckoning me home is what yogis call True Self: the lasting, unchanging, unwavering, constant, pure, Divine Self.

Some traditions call it God Within; others call it the Witness or the Constant Companion.

Hafiz suggests that loneliness can be a bridge to this Constant Companion, this Divine Friend. Yogis in India thousands of years ago taught that we’re never without Friend. We just forget s/he is there. In our confusion, we turn to the outside sensory world for stimulation, comfort and companionship, falsely assuming our loneliness will subside when we’ve satiated that hunger with enough text messages, blog posts and Facebook connections.

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly.

In this age of instant technological connection, it’s so easy to be constantly connected via cell phones, social networking sites and blogs.

But is this feeding our desire to connect and to be connected with; or is it surrendering our loneliness too quickly? Are we living on empty calorie connections?

Real connection with a real, live human is food for the soul. A walk in the woods with a dear friend is home-made soup with straight-from-the-garden ingredients. We can’t live vibrant lives without exchanging smiles and love and laughs and understanding and touch, IN PERSON.

Since we are soul food for one another, why not be the best food we can be: perfectly seasoned and fermented?

What would happen if we as bodyworkers, therapists, yoga teachers, friends and lovers sat for a moment with the ache of disconnection before we met our love for a walk in the woods, and before we met our next client to shower them with the warmth of human touch?

What if, before asking some one or some thing out there to soothe that ache, we let the bitterness of it strip away some of the layers of ego or whatever it is that keeps us distracted, walled off, and looking in the wrong direction?

What if we recognized there was something missing in the direction we’d been looking?

What if we let that awareness soften our eyes, tenderize our voice and remind us of the Connection that is always there?