Thank You Students. You are
To all of my yoga students, who have been with me since and throughout I started teaching yoga or who recently have become students of mine, or students who may some day be, I want to say thank you. Teaching you has been one of greatest, shiniest of lights in my life so far. Truly. I cannot express the joy and excitement I see from watching you. You have become a part of me, and helped me realize just how truly connected we all are.
I was told many, many (ok, 8) years ago by a palm reader that I would be a yoga teacher. But I did not at all believe this would ever happen. For a multitude of reasons, but primarily because of fear, (not to mention at the time I had gotten out of my practice and hadn't even ever considered teaching). But, generally, I did not think I WAS or could be, a teacher of any kind. I had always battled insecurity and anxiety to some degree. Not good qualities for a teacher typically. And I let that perception of myself cloud my judgement of who I thought I was and what I could imagine myself being. And so then, I was not a teacher and as far as I knew, would never be. I am grateful that years later, I followed my heart despite what my mind had told me. Though, even when I started on the path of teaching, I still didn't FEEL like one. While I felt deeply and strongly motivated to teach and share the amazing gifts that yoga had given me, I questioned everything. I doubted myself. All of the time. Last year I remember thinking, "I am not meant to do this", for I was so crippled by fear and expectations I was putting on myself. I made a potentially rewarding and enjoyable experience frightening and at times paralyzing. And I didn't know how to stop it. With all of my personal work through meditation, yoga and study, doubt kept gnawing at me. And fear weighed me down and almost led me astray.
Over the past year, I have let go. I have become what I thought I may not be. But the result I cannot take credit for. It is you, that deserves it. See, I have found my voice through YOU. Because of YOU, I have become willing to let go - for I know, if I am bound by self, if I am bound by ego and fear, I will not serve you, as your teacher. It has been through you, through your willingness to practice, explore and share in the journey with me that I have been able to surrender the part of me who I believed, was not a teacher, so I could be yours.
I have an incredible opportunity and it is one that now, I do not shy away from, or let discourage me. I see that this opportunity was always there, as there is one, for all of us. Isn't it too often in life that we let our fears define us? We identify with that self, that way of being that is directed yet limited because of the fear of letting go and being something different. Of being scared of opportunity to just be your truest most fearless version of yourself.
After classes of struggling to find my way of walking through my own fears, I saw your desire to learn, your interest to grow and most importantly your ability to let go of your own fear. What happened was a strong current that called me to step into being the teacher and step out of the shadow that told me I wasn't one. Through the process of eyes expanding in sight and heart opening in gratitude, I feel privileged to be your teacher, to see you challenge yourself in new ways as you become lighter, brighter and bolder. As you let go of your own fears, and gain trust in the yogi you, and for that you should be proud. And again, I want to say thank you. You are my inspiration. You are my teacher. And you are the reason, I am one.
Being this New Year
So, here I am. Six days into the new year and wondering if it's "too late" to reflect on the year past. I mean, any good efficient blogger would have already finished theirs by New Years day, certainly, right? But I'm not a blogger. And if you know me, I'm rarely on time (not bragging here, just being honest). But not writing right away was actually intentional. See if I were to give 2014 a title, it would be; the year of doing - of constantly doing, working, planning or preparing for something. Sure this is life, but for me, with so much change having occurred over the past year and so many manifestations taking shape, I am feeling the need to give myself permission in not doing every single thing that pops in my head that seems like it needs to be done and instead, just enjoy and be where I am for a little while. And today was a good reminder of that. To let the need to do go, and the act of being guide me. And there is nothing like a 3 and a half year old serving as a reminder of "beingness".
As I lay in bed this morning I looked out the window overlooking our yard getting reeled in by the magical view of blanketed white trees and earth and sky and getting lost in it’s quietness and the stillness of it all. I don't know how long I looked, but the seemingly endless pause broke as my attention was captured by the pattering of my daughters feet from above upon her rising. Still looking, I lay awaiting to hear her reaction of seeing what I saw. And it was every bit of magical all over again. For her, and for any child I imagine, a snow day offers up an exciting possibility of fun and play. While she doesn’t have the same script we adults have, a break in the expected awakens a new energy and vastness for all of us (that is unless we know, that no matter what we still have to do whatever we have to do despite the fact that it’s a freaking snow day) .Fortunately, I knew that I at least would be delayed until the afternoon and that I would get to explore and play in the possibility of the day with her. Which is what I did. Starting with some yoga (yes, with her), pancakes and of course some sledding.
But I kept catching myself, thinking about doing something else. Doing this, working on that. I challenged myself over and over again, to be reminded that I didn't have to be anywhere or have to work on anything, at least for the moment. To just be. Just be. Just be. Just f***ing be! See, this past year I've had so many pots on the stove that it has made doing this rather difficult. Even on a snow day. Whether it is school work, preparing for classes, trying to figure out how to make enough $, following through with projects, not to mention all the tasks in and of itself of motherhood, there seems to always be something that I should be doing, instead of simply being in whatever moment I am currently in.
I found that part of being for me today was just about taking it all in, without attachment. Looking out the window. Reflecting and acknowledging the succession of moments that brought me to the one I now exist in. And resting there. And not thinking ahead. And getting rid of the to do's for a little while and appreciate where I've been and where I am NOW.
In reflection, and shifting down a gear, I see just how much has transpired over the last year and how different the view is compared to the one I had last winter. Which was a view ripe with questioning and wondering if everything would work out as I embarked on creating a new professional life for myself. Towards the end of 2013 I enrolled in massage therapy school in preparation to eventually leave my full time job as a substance abuse counselor. In the process, I got back to teaching yoga and began to transition to working part time. I was full of hope, but worry definitely clouded my perception as I moved away from stability into the unknown.
Throughout theses past twelve months and having periods of extreme uncertainty, I have been greeted with surges of comfort that let me know I was exactly where I was supposed to be. When in doubt, I reconnected with intention and belief and kept taking the next step. I have stumbled upon some amazing opportunities and am pretty darn grateful to have had this year, in all it's potential unsteadiness, turn out to be a fun adventure - full of walking, (if not hurdling) through fear to have find myself safely landing on the other side . And here I am. It is still amazing to me to think about the journey that brought me to this moment now.
Being with my daughter, reminds me of my need to be, more. She is no longer a baby. I have seen her grow into an incredibly witty, hilarious and remarkably sweet being and have had the pleasure to learn and see from her perception of opportunity, wonder and faith. My husband, (another teacher) while always managing to be a good mirror for me, has been a steady source of support and encouragement. When I don't know how much longer I can stand myself, he lets me know that I am loved and grounds me to the possibility in the present moment. On my birthday, we found a home for not just he, myself and our daughter, but for my Mother as well. It is in her daily presence, that our family is provided the example of what it means to be "happy, joyous and free" and with her support that my Husband and I can carry out pursuits we otherwise may not be able to follow. Over the past seven months we have grown in the experience of sharing a home together, have had our family and friends over to share holidays and events and create lasting memories here. It has been a "good year".
I am not sure what this year will be like, but I am eager to see how it turns out. Though I am going to try and do better with being present and proceed a little more slowly. And, to look out the window more. While I am a firm believer in “living it up” and all that, I don’t want snow days to be my only day to sit back and soak up the beauty and simplicity of being and noticing where I've been. As I heard once before “we are called human beings, not human doings”.