Into the light
I want to share a piece of an exhausting project, total pain in the ass, but indispensable enterprise I am always working on: Myself. When things change around me, if they are not ideal or favorable, I react in two possible ways:
- With tact, grace, and resiliency, I embrace the change and whole-heartedly adapt without many waves created.
- I entangle myself in a self-created delusion that things are not exactly the way they should be, I convince myself to argue with reality: That things need to change - That I need to make the change.
Number 2 is obviously a seriously destructive process, right? When I move into that spiral of egocentric insanity, I feel like it is my responsibility to point out what I feel is not correct or truth; I need to control the situation; I have to prove that I am worthwhile and independent.
These thoughts are a war waged on myself, by myself. They appear out of the depths of the sub-conscious where insecurities and lies are born, where stories and dramas spin around, and poisonous thoughts fester if not questioned and addressed.
Dark, huh? It happens so quickly. It is so important to be vigilant and to be the gate keeper of your own thoughts. To stomp out the very first embers of the wild fire your mind creates before it engulfs you.
Sometimes you need to deal with yourself first, before your can even begin to look outside. I know that these stories I have created are just that - untruths that cause a reaction within me. They encourage discontentent, bolster righteousness, and muck up intentions. And it is so, so easy to project your crap on others. When it is so dark on the inside, you cannot see the light on the outside.
My most recent struggle is my strong desire to teach yoga in a new place, where I do not have my teacher, my following of students, a studio space... I have just myself and the knowledge I want to share. I am at the mercy of labor laws, rules, and bureaucracy. I cannot set up shop and begin teaching any willing student I find. Faced with these difficulties and less than ideal arrangements to which I am currently bound, the insecurities and lies come out of the dark and begin their reign in my head.
I feel like this is not how things are supposed to be. I feel that I need to be more direct and persistent and facilitate the change needed so that I can teach. I need to teach so that I can have a purpose. I need to serve others by sharing my love and passion for yoga. I feel desperate. I feel like if I don't teach, what else can I possibly offer this world?
After many dead ends and doors slamming shut, I was not in a good place. I couldn’t even get myself on my own mat to practice. I couldn’t teach my husband despite him asking multiple times to please teach him a class. Instead of embracing this time to work on building my home practice and gifting class to my husband, I sulked. I was angry. I felt that if someone, anyone, gave me a chance to teach anywhere... they would see what I have to offer. That I have something to share that will improve others’ well-being and lives. Why won’t they let me?
Luckily, I have a beautiful teacher, Robin, that will never let me go too far down the rabbit hole of self-pity/victimization and blaming the world for all of my troubles.
It takes a really special teacher to mirror your truth. To shine a bright spot light on your bullshit and offer you a gentle, loving kick in the ass.
She told me, "If you want to show people what yoga is... Show them by the way you interact - how sensitive, open, generous, honest and focused you are and do so in such a way that you are content, committed, with passion about seeing yourself and most importantly in a place of surrender to what is. Live by your understanding of the path... and there within this, you will be supported by the Universe and feel the harmony and balance."
What she made me realize was that I have an opportunity to teach yoga to every single person I encounter. By loving myself, keeping my personal practice, and maintaining my integrity, I can teach yoga to everyone I look at and speak to. “Santosha” or contentment always creates an open space for growth in my life. It is important to balance ambition and passion with surrender to reality and gratification of what is.
I am working on myself, always. My current list of affirmations includes: I am thankful for my opportunities to work on myself, to teach my husband and substitute teach any classes that come my way. I will try to walk through life in such a way that I embody yoga with my speech, actions, and thoughts. I will stay on my path.
There are opportunities all around me to teach and learn, the world is my studio and everyone around me is both student and teacher. I just have to look away from the dark and into the light that is within me and surrounds me.