Friday, November 16, 2012

Confessions. Admonitions. When a yoga teacher is a human being.

"In yoga, there's this saying. 
The world is as you see it."
~Barry Green

Barry keeps telling me to take the anger and the fury and the upset that I'm experiencing, and channel it into my homework, so that I can truly release these admonitions that have built up from childhood. After multiple days in a row of inwardly kicking my own ass, because I'm apparently in the thick of things now, I'm starting to funnel that angst into my writing. I figure that somehow and someway, all of this must have a reason; since I believe there's a perfect order to the Universe, then this muck must have a purpose. 

But I fucking hate this. I hate not feeling okay. I hate not experiencing everything as gorgeous. Ironically, this work is designed so that I can actually GENUINELY feel positive, rather than superficially acting as though everything's a-okay all the time. My brain keeps coming back to Barry telling me that I'm not being congruent, that shit happens in my life, and I put on a happy face. I pretend rather than being okay with feeling upset or irritated or angry, because I have learned (especially with the yoga training and spiritual learnings I have come across) that these "shadow" emotions are unacceptable.

I've gotten very good at pretending to the point that I often believe what I'm aiming for is real. The thing is, I already feel like where I stand now compared to where I used to be is such a huge paradigm shift that my life is definitely grand and spectacular and booming in broad rays of light. I don't believe I'm lying about that. But then, little itty bits of old thought patterns and behaviors pop up and while I try to avoid stepping on the cracks, I can tell there are parts of my foundation that are still shaky. This is what I'm remedying with the program that I've now undertaken, one which I told Barry I'd like to finish in eight weeks, but four into it and I find myself tripping over the beginning.

The program entails a light and breath technique that gets you to your subconscious to unravel a whole host of admonitions that a lot of us learned while growing up. If you happened to have parents who didn't do a lot of internal work before they decided to procreate, then you might fall into the majority of people who believe in admonitions like these below:
  1. Don't have fun
  2. Don't relax — always keep worrying
  3. Being a woman is what men want you to be
  4. Always obey authority
  5. Put on a good front
  6. Don't enjoy your husband
  7. Perform well to get approval
  8. Don't express any of your opinions
  9. Sex is dirty/taboo/disappointing/doesn't exist
  10. Don't play with yourself
  11. If you love someone, they won't respect my needs
  12. Settle for less than real love
  13. It's not ok to ask for what you want
  14. Everyone is out to get you
  15. Be ashamed if you arouse men
  16. Life is a struggle
  17. Repress your needs
  18. The world is a dangerous place
  19. Don't expect help if you screw up
  20. Be perfect / successful / good / do good job
This is just 20 of them. When I first review the list, I have to put check marks by hundreds of admonitions that may apply to me, whether they were said overtly or expressed silently. It is a bear, which Barry says is the case because I'm at the beginning of the process. Apparently, I will get to a point where releasing these are going to feel so friggin' awesome, since I will start to tap into my power and get a taste of what bliss is really like.

Every time I talk to Barry (which is almost daily), he points out all of these ways that I haven't yet caught about how such admonitions play into my life in such intertwining ways. He tells me that the good news is, when I unravel one, many start to come undone, until the fabric with which I've covered my eyes and used for faux warmth will completely disintegrate and all I'll be left with is my truth. Now. As me. In my entirety.

So, I have some confessions to make, because if I'm going to be in the shit (literally, the place Barry says I am in now), then I might as well just get all the crap out there to finally clear it up:

  1. I didn't finish the Asthanga month as I signed up for because aches and pains in my body started to speak loudly. My teacher went to India. And I made up excuses. I still wrote about it, but I didn't finish the way I had promised.
  2. I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing. People tell me all the time that if I never let them in about what was happening in my brain, they would have to clue about any struggles I'm going through. On the surface, everything looks amazing. This is why we are all in the same boat. I feel like everyone else's life looks just as awesome.

    When I'm teaching yoga, there are classes where I am absolutely channeling a force beyond myself and the flow and the words are seamless. Then, there are other times I'm trying to remember key points to the asanas of where your foot placement should be and how it should feel in your hips that my brain becomes befuddled with how much information could be shared, especially since the more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more to know and how little of it I feel I do. Plus, experts often conflict with one another, which means that in the end, it's about trusting myself and sharing what I know.

    By the time I bow my head in deference for the opportunity to teach after "Namaste," I look up and still have a hard time believing that people are looking at me the way that I have looked to teachers I have trained with. I am humbled to be a part of each individual's journey and want to do my best every time, which is why at the end of every class, all I can say is that I'm coming to the mat with the best of intentions. That's all I can do. Everything else, I really have no clue.
  3. I don't want to work on writing that isn't meaningful to me. This isn't to say that I don't want to work with clients who utilize both sides of my brain, because the rational part of me acknowledges that I need to pay my bills and I do my best when it comes to clients as well, but my heart is so absolutely resistant to doing anything but writing my book. Yet, every day goes by and I still not one sentence closer to completing my manuscript. Part of me is approaching this mind-body program as my research, but it's taking up more headspace and heartspace and energy than I am willing to admit. I have a friend who has told me to write an eBook and get started with a mini-writing project in that way, but my brain likes to aggrandize things so that everything become a monumental task in perfection, coupled with my unrelenting need to overachieve, I get stuck. I am scared to just take time out to do these things I know that I can do, which will hopefully ultimately matter in a big way one day.
  4. I'm worried that I'll never amount to anything. That my simply being on this planet and living my truth aren't enough somehow. More accurately, I'm afraid of not living up to my potential. Since I was young, I knew there was something big in store for me. I could feel it in a way that was beyond words. It helped me to exist in an environment that was so abusive, my family life felt like a cave where the air was constantly being trapped and sucked out and then recirculated before I had to chance to inhale. By the age of seven, I knew that where I was, was simply not right, but that in order to survive, I had to practice enormous amounts of patience and unfair treatment, which in the fibers of my being, I knew would all prove to have a purpose one day on a larger scale. And now, I'm facing up to what all of that was for — the potential that my life could be much grander than I have allowed for it to be, by doing EXACTLY what I just said sentences ago, "being on this planet and living my truth." I'm afraid that shining my light will make others feel badly (a falsehood I learned from growing up in a family that taught lack over than abundance). And, if I really get down to the truth of it, I'm afraid that I won't meet a partner who will encourage me to shine rather than tear me down, because of his inadequacies and insecurities. I'm afraid I have to be dimmed to be loved. And I do not want this to fucking be true, but because it is a fear I have fed, then that energy is still circulating around somewhere. If I dig a little deeper, then the real heart of the matter is that I'm afraid after getting to know myself, that even I won't love myself enough, that I'll find out things I'm not a fan of and rather than approaching it with compassion, I'll see myself with such disdain. I'm afraid I can't grow my heart bigger, because after being bruised and battered in so many ways, no matter how much goodness has always come, part of me is too afraid and wounded to believe.
  5. I'm afraid that I have too much hate in my heart that's been buried in places I have run so far and fast and hard from to be able to let go and be truly vulnerable. This is what I'm afraid is in my subconscious. Untapped fury. Ugly anger. Hurt so molten that it will burn through everything good I have created in my life for myself. I am afraid of myself.
This is where I am. This is what I've been hiding from. This is where I feel lost. This is real. This is me being imperfect. This is me being human. This is me teaching from what I know. This is my life right now. Barry keeps telling me that I am fighting the hardest battle any human being can ever fight, to triumph over my ego, that I am Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

The one thing that I do know? I am a warrior. I always have been. I always will be. My only hope is that I don't have to fight for the rest of my life for what we all deserve — contentment

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