I taught online yoga again tonight. It is such a blessing to guide these beautiful beings back home— back home to their bodies, back home to their breath, back home to their mind at peace. When I teach yoga I remember why I’m here, why I exist, why it’s important to keep going even when my mind wants to give up… because when I help my students find their way home I remember where my home is too.
I had put my head down and refused to attend to the truth, but the truth is like a beach ball that you try to hold underwater— it just keeps popping up, and sometimes it bops you in the face. I had to look at the facts. I’ve been unemployed since mid-March, my tax refund and stimulus check have not yet arrived, and I’m trying to make money for groceries by sewing masks for friends in need… So today I went ahead and applied for unemployment. It feels strange to be one of so many…to get in line behind 42,363 other people waiting for help. I wonder where the money will come from to help all of us. I wonder why other governments seem to have all this dialed in, and our leader is an inarticulate, pompous, ignorant clown who apparently is telling us to drink disinfectant?? So many things to wonder about on a day like today, when before you had refused to look at the truth, and then finally decided to apply for unemployment.
Hey friends, I’m heading out to teach yoga at a retreat, and I won’t be back until Monday. Send good thoughts that the mayhem passes and all of us on Planet Earth can go about our daily lives without worrying. (It’s a tall order, but you’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it.) See you on the other side!
I want to get creative. I want to paint draw write dance sing knit sew cook do yoga. I look around my house. It’s cluttered, disorganized. I can’t create with my house like this, I tell myself. So I pick up. Dust. Vacuum. Put away. Organize. I look around my house again. It’s beautiful. Neat. Luminous. But now I’m so damn tired I no longer have the energy to create! Maybe I need to learn how to create regardless of the neatness of my space.
Dear Person who used to be my friend and is now in the process of attempting to jeopardize my employment status at the yoga studio by bringing the quality of my teaching into question and telling the management that you are feeling uncomfortable with the subject matter I’m addressing in my classes: I’m so sorry things didn’t work out between us. You told me you were a colleague having been through yoga teacher training yourself and so I trusted that it was okay to go beyond the student/teacher boundary and explore the realm of friendship. Oops! I was wrong! I was wrong about you. I thought that you were a kind person, but when I started feeling anxious, drained and uncomfortable around you, I decided to back away. I backed out as gracefully as possible. But I guess you didn’t like that. I guess that, like other people I’ve known, you believe that if I’m not for you I’m against you. And now, for some reason, you are trying to take me down, and (like other people I’ve known) you are attempting to recruit other people to agree with you and join you and take me down with you. But here’s something you should know: I have been to the very center of hell many, many times and I have always come back. You can say what you want, you can attempt to take me down. You can even try to bring me to hell with you. You can attempt to create an entire posse of supporters to drag me down, to rake my name across the coals, to convince the world that I’m worthless as a teacher. If you try hard enough, you might even be successful in getting me ousted from my job. I may have to struggle a little more because of your childish vendetta. But you will not win. I will rise up from hell. I will find new work. I will thrive even more. I will always come back.
This house. This magical house. In January of this year my house was sold at foreclosure auction; my name wasn’t on the title or the deed, and there was nothing I could do to stop the sale. I was terrified. Not long after the sale I was told I had to move, and I didn’t know where to go. I just knew I wanted to keep my kids in their school. I tripled the number of yoga classes I was teaching, sent feelers out, and prayed more than I ever have. In July, a miracle. Friends of friends had a rental home in my kids’ school district and their renters wanted to break the lease early! We met, I brought my financial documents, and proved I was able to pay rent. And just like that, my kids and I had a place to move into! I left behind the betrayal and grief of my past and turned toward new possibilities, a new phase of my life. I am grateful for the miracles of community, strength and faith. Every night when I tuck my kids into bed, I thank God for this house. This magical house.
It won’t feel like it’s mine unless I’ve worked for it, and so the Universe is giving me a chance to work. I can feel my old thinking crop up sometimes, especially now, when I feel tired in body and mind and I’m longing for quiet and rest. Old thoughts come back, about deserving better, about wishing it had gone differently, outraged about circumstances beyond my control. But I’ve been practicing. I’ve been practicing day after day I’ve been practicing hard. And my new thinking responds to the old and says: You don’t HAVE to do this, you GET do to do this. You aren’t a victim, you are a powerful woman who has been given an opportunity to step into her power and love herself back to health. You are a fortunate woman who has been led to wake up to the beauty of the present moment and express her gifts, talents and abilities in service of all beings. You are a work in progress, you’ll never be done, so keep working, woman, keep working.
Today I accomplished two of three
big things I had to get done this weekend.
One remains. The biggest one.
I’m leading a four hour training
teaching yoga teachers
how to teach restorative yoga.
I was getting myself geared up
to feel anxious and down on myself
for leaving the prep
until the last moment,
I remembered the way we talk to ourselves really matters.
I remembered criticism withers
and praise builds us up.
I decided to be nice to myself.
I decided it could be pleasurable
to prepare this training
for those who are attending.
I realized that the procrastination is a habit
and so is the self-recrimination…
and I can choose to change it…
all of it. I prayed.
I prayed to give my trainees
the tools they need
to add the most value
to their students’ lives. Spirit whispered in my ear… and I followed the orders I was given.
I went into my old laptop
and discovered a handout
I prepared years ago with all the information I want to share with my trainees tomorrow.
So…I don’t have so much prep to do after all.
Thank god for all miracles, big and small!
I subbed out my morning class
I subbed out my evening class
I subbed out tomorrow morning’s class too.
The yoga teacher needs to stay home
and remember she is still a student.
Somehow my yoga is simply being with my body
in this state of illness, exhaustion.
I need to really feel and notice what has happened.
The worry and the stress wore away at me
and here I am.
If I won’t learn the lesson this time,
it will just keep repeating itself until I do.
I want to learn.
I am ready to learn.
I’m here preparing my workshop
It’s late, nearly 12:30 am.
I can hear the inner critic say, There you go again, leaving everything to the last minute. When will you learn? When will you grow up?
It shakes its head and clucks about…
meanwhile I take a deep breath
and give myself compassion…
Compassion for the girl
who works so hard to please others,
Compassion for the teacher
who wants so much to help others,
Compassion for the artist
who wants to express her creativity,
Compassion for the tired mama
who does so much for so many
Now the compassionate one says, Go to bed darling, you need rest.
And I’m glad I have this practice,
glad that I can hear that voice,
the voice of compassion.