Ever walk into a Dentist or a Doctor’s office and the receptionist flatly ignores you while you stand at her desk, waiting to check in while watching her finish up whatever she’s doing (that’s so much more important than saying hello to you)? Or, ever been asked while you were going through a grocery check-out line if “you found everything you were looking for”, but when you (God forbid) tell them you couldn’t find any zucchini and hold up the line, they look annoyed and put out? I remember once having a membership to a World Health and never once being spoken to and often times not even receiving a greeting when I swiped in at the front. I’m not sure what your expectations are when it comes to service, but personally, I want to feel genuinely welcomed and valued when I spend my hard earned dollars at a business, especially since I could have easily chosen to go somewhere else!
Businesses are everywhere, they are a dime a dozen (as I reminded every time I flip through the yellowpages)….but GOOD service is hard to find. Never mind just good service, how many businesses can actually call themselves communities? (Shouldn’t that be the measure of a good business?) Better yet, how many of themfeel like a community? A community is defined by “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”.
Funny, the last time I went to the Dentist, I didn’t feel a sense of camaraderie with the staff or other people receiving dental work. Actually conversely, I vividly remember the time that I had to go and get a couple of my wisdom teeth pulled. “Fortunately” instead of having to put me under, they were “just” going to freeze part of my mouth, which sounded fine and dandy until they actually froze me! I hadn’t received dental work since I was a kid, so I was already a bit nervous of what to expect. They put me in a bed, injected me, then left me alone telling me that they would check back on me…OMGSH, the sensation of my mouth slowly freezing almost sent me into a full-fledged panic attack!! I could feel my eyes welling with tears as I started to involuntarily worry that I might not be able to breathe when my tongue froze….and when I could have used some support or wisdom the most…there was no one around. I mentally fought through the fears trying to rationalize the fact that the procedure was so common place but it didn’t change how horrible and unpleasant that experience was. What could have made it different? A dental assistant who would have taken the time to tell me, what to expect and that it was going to be okay…geez I would have accepted some consoling from the janitor – for the love of God, someone throw me a bone!!! Maybe it seems silly to want to build a sense of community at my Dentist office, but why can some people do it? How do some people manage to successfully build that sense of community in their business?
I am not super versed in yoga, but I have gone to a couple of different studios. I have tried bikram and moksha and to be quite frank, those businesses don’t hold a CARD to the community I found at Lahari. The minute I first walked into Lahari, I was greeted as if I were family, the warmth and the energy buzzing in that front room was brilliant. And yes, I admit, sometimes it’s hard to JUMP into a new community without reservation and some shyness, but their welcoming was just so damn genuine and immediately disarming that I couldn’t help but catch that same bug. It’sbecause I’m not super versed in yoga that I needed this community to practice, play and learn in.
· I needed the space and room for failure – I needed to feel like I could practice, fail and practice again. In this community, I don’t feel like I need to be perfect because I’ve already been welcomed, truly, just as I am.
· The support is unreal amongst all community members. I was attempting a head stand last Friday, and Shawn and Norine (other participants in the class) noticed me struggling and immediately came over and offered their help and suggestions in my hand positioning without me asking for it, and POOF I did it!
At Lahari, it isn’t that superficial “did you find everything you were looking for” vibe, but a real and genuine interest in each other. Oh my Goodness, Michellene took it to another level last Friday during Blissology when she made us step out of our comfort zones (yet again) by asking us to introduce our sweaty selves at the end of class with a hug to 3-5 other members we hadn’t met before. What bigger taboo than meeting a person for the first time, in this vulnerable and sweaty (certainly NOT our best foot forward) state? But that’s what community is, it’s built on perfect ideals by imperfect human beings, and this is what we can celebrate and stand in.
So back to that definition of community, “as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals” – what does it take to be part of this community? What are the common attitudes, interests or goals one should ascribe to? My best guess would be:
Be human, be open and be prepared to fall in love…. <3