• Anjali Rao

The Peacock and The Earthworm

This is a tale of a peacock and an earthworm. The peacock, all bright blues, glowing greens and shimmery feathers, lusty in his beauty, strutting his peacock self, basking in his sheer existence. The earthworm, all quiet and busy, quietly businesslike, earthworm like, just trying to survive, and in the process, nurturing and giving back to the earth it came from. The two live together, seemingly disparate lives, and yet bound by geography and time.

Which one is greater? Which one is lesser? And why do we need to evaluate? Why do we need to judge? Would the reaction to the peacock be different if one knows why it is strutting so? What goes in the peacocky brain? Would the earthworm’s quiet, noiseless burrowing be different if one knows the earthworm wanted more, wanted to talk, wanted to be seen but just couldn’t. Or that no one expects the earthworm to want more.

I am a teacher of Yoga now, a bona fide, low earning, forever learning, perpetually Yoga pants wearing, teacher now. And in my four years of asana practice. It has been an exhilarating, challenging, joyful journey, for Yoga has given me back my relationship with my physical body. What cancer took away, my practice has given me back. I don’t feel betrayed anymore, I don’t feel fractured, I feel a deep sense of victory and accomplishment every time I move an inch, my leg becomes straighter, shoulders open up, back bends bendier. I am able to turn upside down in defiance of a time where I didn’t have that control to even stand up. Asanas have released and freed and strengthened me. I was an earthworm for a long time and now I don’t want to be.

I am a peacock with a case of lookatmeitis. Look at me! I can do this! And if I can, so can you!! Do try! Do savor! Do your thing! Do have fun! Life is short! Strut your stuff! And while I am yelling from the Facebook and Instagram rooftops, the earthworm raises it head and asks, is that necessary? Are you doing that to truly teach? Are you doing that to get some more pats on the peacocky head? What do you want to accomplish? The peacock wants to share his joy. That’s the intention.

Svadhyaya, self reflection is a big part of the yoga practitioner’s bag of tools, one that I tap into whenever the earthworm’s voice gains more volume. I hope the peacock within has made me more compassionate with other fellow peacocks, I hope the earthworm within never loses its voice, I hope both continue to teach me and others what we need to learn to grow. Both are needed. Both are different. Both are equal.

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