I want to angrily sit on the floor next to them for hours in misery just once more. It was painful, the hours staring at my Dialogue. Watching the flawless perform, waiting for my turn to fuck up. But the Yoga!!! It made me happy even through that. It was the worst of times, it was the Best of times with a capitol B. And even the succeders, the do-greaters, the enviable, undeniably and constantly praised ones were people I came to hold dear to my heart. They wanted me to succeed, it wasn’t their fault that I tried as hard and came up shorter than them.
No, the experience in hindsight was not the American feel-good, “everyone wins, honey,” thing. The school of variable skill, but it had nothing to do with whether you would walk out a great teacher if you got praise throughout 9 weeks, or critical, “do this better,” for 9 weeks. In fact, if only I could speak with myself of Fall 2011, the me Now.
Look, you’ll get up and teach and that will be that. You’ll have Dialogue spew out that you didn’t know you knew. This sort of thing. And of course the obsession with the Dialogue is only part of it. Get a solid foundation, always work to be better and better, but Actually, there’s more to teaching than mere Dialogue.
People who teach for a couple of years come to see this.
Being present, available, and accessible, and real to your students matters just as much – giving them precision and letting them hear you when they are ready, and move forward for themselves – it’s way more important than what the teacher thinks of themselves and how many perfectly delivered dialogued postures the teacher gave… no, there’s checks and balances and every class is a universe of its own. It doesn’t matter.
While I am a part time teacher and not as regular of a student as I once was, I can admit I am devoted for my whole life to this Yoga. Not turning my back for gossip, law suits, or heresy. It does not matter to me, what matters more is the transformation it made for me, and the potential for me to pass that along to anyone else who steps foot into a class I happen to lead, with their Heels and Toes on the Line.
Whether or not there is a Line at that studio!!! Inconsequential. And after speaking with so many Americans and their view of Yoga, holy moly. Are there misconceptions! The point, people! The point. I deliver the point, and I try and pass along the knowledge of heart and the knowledge of WHY Yoga, philosophy. No, they do not spoon feed you this stuff at training. People were frustrated with that notion. No, you are expected to extrapolate some of it yourself.
So, while I struggled through training like everyone else, I also shed tears I had undoubtedly prevented myself from shedding my entire life. I let go of the things caught up in my energy field (or you can just say my body, if you hate that mumbo jumbo.)
It takes strength really, to break down in front of masses of people. This I came to realize. It also took strength to actually face, dead on – without being able to run, pretend, escape, and be alone to do it, but forced to do it in the midst of crowds of people who may or may not understand, care. Some of them do. Some of them don’t. And also - to move on. To let it go. Really, just let it be.
And some people led flawless emotional lives that they never reached that place. I reached it a few times, and when I think back I remember those times and they come up. It makes training sound worse than it was, I suppose. But the moments of joy in the midst of all that. The countless hours of yoga, of Life Long kinship with people, the bonds that I forged from people all over the World, they were priceless, and they more than made up for tears and misery.
They more than made up for those moments of Doom in posture clinic where I felt I just didn’t measure up to the next delivery.
Why on earth did I let it get to me?
I wasn’t ready to understand that my best was all I had, and it didn’t make me stupid, or weak, or less capable. It made me, Me. Simply. That one day I would relate to certain students perhaps that needed the connection from my brand of humility.
Someone once told me that humility was better than sharp intelligence and that people who were sharp and intelligent needed to learn humility. I thought that was bullshit after experiencing both.
Humility can be crippling, it can be a source for under achievement if you have too much of it, I strongly believe. Why? I spent my life eating too much humble pie and for me, I needed to boast and shine and be more like the arrogants.
And so it goes.
The days went on and on as though they would have no end, and the end was anti climatic. Surreal and Goodbyes were few and far between as the Yoga Bubble burst and we all dissipated into 42 different countries of the World again.
The Burst of the Bubble was so relieving, but years later heart breaking. Upon returning home and no longer being stuck with other humans 24/7, life felt lonely for sure. Where are my birds cah-cawing at me when I walk down the street? The people nodding as I walked down Sepulveda Blvd?
I was left with my day job and I was certainly changed. While sitting there thinking, “They lied to me! I Am exactly the same as I left! I am the only one who didn’t transform!”
6 months later I begged to differ.
While I have my posse who I stay in touch with more regularly… there were my group members who supported me a bit more that I rarely talk to. I almost forgot one of their names, but they were so huge in my personal development. Traveling to see them? Oh, jeez. Who knows if I will ever see them again? That makes the Soul ache a little.
Shit, these people were my family just for a while. You know, they loved and probably hated me simultaneously. They probably even got sick of watching my dejected, defeatist attitude just one more time. They didn’t show it. They just clapped at me every day. They cheered me when I stood up to stand on the red X. They shouted my name and they gave me their energy.
Yes, their energy. Even when they were snoozing on their Dialogue notebook. But I wasn’t the only defeatist. But didn’t Ivan have more excuse to struggle? This was not his native language. What was my excuse?
And how Alistair was so eloquent and yet still annoyed as singer, to be asked to “Sing the Dialogue, please,” by the leads. He reluctance and his deep sigh. “Must I?”
Lining up in my neighborhood in the hot room, with my group, my pals. Can I even see the mirror ever again? Some weeks.
What IS my body doing in these postures? I have no idea what my alignment is!!!!
It didn’t matter. Keep going. 26/2. Morning, night. Morning, night. Is Bikram teaching? I don’t think I can handle Bikram teaching today.
It’s Wednesday morning? Shit. Emmy. She’s going to sneak up and poke me. Where is that damn old lady!??! “Boy, she sounds cranky!”
But I still loved her. And others found her lectures annoying and boring… I wrote notes of everything she said.
“Are you CRAZY?” my posse said. “But I love it!”
They wanted to throw their donuts at me. Seriously. They wanted to take their box of donuts and throw it on my notes.
In the end, I’m still learning from what happened. Sometimes it fades in the background and I forget it entirely.
And then something happens and it comes back to me and I’m right there on the floor of some shitty, asbestos ridden posture clinic floor.
Feeling like I was 80 years old demoing for someone as they hesitated on their lines.
Funny. How it all turns out.
And to Kim Sebrell. Your kindness is something I can see in my mind like you took me down that hall into that meeting room alone last week. Your positive reinforcement could probably still bring me to tears if I think too long on how full of heart she is.
Somewhere, she is off with her husband and 4 children kicking ass everyday. They're lucky to know her and have her! And shit, I admired her poise, grace, smile, and her beauty every day.
Oh, and to that half mo-hawked bitch with bright pink hair; for judging my everyday girl look and being cruel to me: Screw you, lady. I know standing separate leg stretching. Let me tell you what. I will deliver it in your honor the next class I teach and give my students everything I have! Fool. Just because I didn’t dye my hair and get a hackjob… doesn’t mean I’m not “brave.” Lady. Have some class.