What a hot sweaty July, ya? I am totally in awe of how fast time is literally flying, like wasn’t it just July 4th last week? I am approaching my final week of yoga training – and I’ll tell you this much, they don’t call it an intensive for nothing. It’s funny to keep being surprised over and over when it’s felt almost unbearably intense. Then I remind myself, hey, you signed up for this. The image of someone being super extreme about sports comes up – like a running junkie who hits the pavement every morning religiously at 6am. I kinda feel like I am channeling that vibe but win yoga of all things – intense daily practice and sometimes pushing till it literally hurts.
A lot has been coming up as a result, which I suppose was to be expected. After all many told me that this experience would be transformative – and I’ve even heard people liken it to twelve step programs and intensive spiritual retreats. The biggest thing that’s been coming up has been my ego, specifically my unrelenting desire to look cool and sound perfect. Teaching is SO hard, I have so much respect for all the teachers in my life who make it look easy. I thought after a million or so downward dogs I’d be able to wing it and teach my first class with flying colors, Frank Ocean blaring in the background and everything. The first time I was called up to teach didn’t go so well, in fact the teacher cut me off about half way through because I was holding my poor class is difficult poses for way too long – trying to deliver all the details and modifications without paying attention to what people were really experiencing (read: pain, impatience and frustration most likely). I was so wrapped up in how I sounded and getting all the details out that I didn’t consider how my students actually felt. I was in a bubble of total self centeredness.
And that’s continued to happen. I even shed some tears the other day because I simply felt overwhelmed. It felt amazing to let it out – sometimes crying isn’t this dramatic demonstration of suffering, it can just be a healthy much needed, cleansing release. But it doesn’t end there. I was annoyed when someone inferred that I was overwhelmed because of how much I have on my plate – in addition to training. It’s true, there is a lot going on in my life right now but in all honesty it’s all things that I’ve consciously chosen to take on and fortunately – all things I love, with people I enjoy! To some it may seem like too much but for me it’s just right, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. But there goes the worrying about what other people think again – even when someone is showing concern for me maybe being out of balance. My ego is so hilarious.
I love this perfect reference from one of our Sanskrit study days: a well known yoga teacher based in the Bay had someone (similar to my encounter) comment: “you’re so busy, isn’t that too much for you to handle? Careful to not burn out,” to which she responded, “I’m not busy, my life is just full of things I love.” When you’re doing things you love your conception of time and work totally transforms. Time becomes less confined and the idea of work suddenly blurs with play, fun and creativity. I love this so much – I’m not busy, I’m full. Plus we all know people can be real busy without actually doing anything at all. In fact busy-ness, especially in a city like NYC, can often be worn as a badge of honor. Everyone break out their calendars – let’s find an open date and time where we can all take some time for ourselves to sleep in, cook at home, breathe deep, be spontaneous and wander around just for the sake of exploration. I wonder if people in other cities have to schedule friend dates for weekends 2 or 3 weeks out at times, particularly in the summer when everyone is booked weeks in advance. I have to laugh about it because I can definitely be one of those people more often than I’d like to admit.
Off to do some studying. But before that, some words of wisdom from Anne Lamott that really hit me this morning as a breath of fresh air. Given everything that’s going on in the world right now, which I hope is frankly a wake up call that it’s time for serious changes to really be put into place – this is a beautiful point of view:
To whom can you give hope and sight today. What about to me, and disappointing old you? Radical self-care: healthy food, patience and a friendly tone of voice, lotions on the jiggly things, forgiving pants, lots of sunscreen and snacks. Maybe the random magazine.
Do you have your last computer on the shelf, that you really don’t have time or effort to take to the after-school program in your town–but you are going to do today? Go flirt with the oldest people at the market–tell them you are glad to see them. Voila: Hope and sight.
Remember the guys in the Bible whose friend was paralyzed, but couldn’t get in close to see Jesus preach and heal, so they carried him on a cot, climbed the roof, and lowered him down for the healing? Can a few of you band together–just for today–and carry someone to the healing? To the zen-do? To a meeting? Help a neighbor who is going under, maybe band together to haul their junk to the dump? Shop for sales for a canned food drive at the local temple or mosque? How about three anonymous good deeds?
There is no healing in pretending this bizarre violent stuff is not going on, and that there is some cute bumper sticker silver lining. (It is fine if you believe this, but for the love of God, PLEASE keep it to yourself. it will just tense us all up.) What is true is that the world has always been this way, people have always been this way, grace always bats last, it just does–and finally, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, which it does, Love is sovereign here.