"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Nelson Mandela) I had the most amazing and therapeutic conversation with my friend James this evening after my class about teaching and about coming into our own as teachers.
Teaching yoga in a way that is truly meaningful and helpful is an art. Teaching is challenging and transformational on so many levels. You have to be mentally and energetically sharp, open, compassionate, confident,clear, concise, authentic, steady, and willing to always learn.
One of the things that comes up for me from time to time and has continued to show up over the years, is self-doubt or a feeling not being good enough on some level. As I was sharing this with James, I had this flash of insight. What I realized during our heart-to-heart conversation was that I don't allow myself to be seen. I show parts and allow little bits of my shiny essence to show through, but I don't think that I have ever let myself shine full blast.
Throughout the years I have made a habit of making myself smaller in order to make others feel better or out of fear of not being ready or deserving in some way. I find I shrink a bit in the presence of those I respect and admire, which is part healthy and part unhealthy. The healthy part is the respect, the unhealthy part is feeling less than I am meant to be. I am on the level and deserve to stand side by side my teachers even while I learn from them.
I must remind myself and remember that I am allowed and meant to shine too!
To paraphrase Nelson Mandela... who am I not to shine?
I have matured on my mat over the years as a student and a teacher. So why not take the next step and allow the essence of who I am and what I have to offer spill forth from every pore freely?
May we all be luminous and the light that shines out be both colorful and clear.