Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode where Kramer’s friend, Mickey, is accused of “heightening?” He’s a stand-in for a child in a soap opera and puts lifts in his shoes in order to appear taller. A fellow actor and little person angrily accuses him of inauthenticity and selling out his fellow little people.
Heightening is often the sense I get when I connect to social media. Day-to-day lives are “heightened” with pictures of peak moments: connection, endless smiles, elaborate vacations. Businesses boom, vows of love are introduced or renewed, crazy yoga poses are held for photographic eternity… It often feels inauthentic, of somehow selling out to our less glamorous and more “authentic” day-to-day lives.
But is it inauthentic? Was Mickey really selling out by putting lifts in his shoes? How did heightening make him feel, and what did that heightened feeling project to those around him?
As a fan of positive psychology, I often use my yoga practice to embrace both challenges and feel-good moments to take whatever I’m experiencing and “heighten” it. When I’m in Navasana (boat pose), I intentionally smile. I used to hate that pose, but over the years I’ve grown to love it. When I ask my students to smile during Navasana, the energetic shift in the room is palpable. Through practice and intention, it’s become heightened.
Corey Stewart Hassman, our keynote speaker at the Kekoka Yoga Retreat (KYR), gave a talk about sustaining hope when “shifts hit the fan.” She said hope was a resilient, reliable, and relentless way of finding your way forward despite whatever challenges you may be facing. She listed three ingredients integral to hope: gratitude, personal fortitude and love. She didn’t use the term “heightening,” but, to me, it’s the same thing as hope. It’s about taking an authentic experience—good or bad—and intentionally heightening it: through gratitude, through agency, through lifts in your shoes, through shared experiences of peak moments… through love.
Many of our KYR yogis requested a transcript of Corey’s talk, which she generously shared and can be downloaded here. Her website will soon be up and running at cshassman.com. In the meantime, you can find her at facebook.com/whatsleftundone.blog, where she’ll notify followers when the website is live.