Friday, July 24, 2009

The Invitation

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, book cover

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Graceful Exchange

Paul Muller Ortega often gives a teaching about the grace in the learning process. He reminds us that while we, as student's, are held in the grace of the teacher, the teacher is held in the grace of the student. 
The above piece is copied from my teacher Christina Sell's blog. As soon as I read her entry for today, I knew I was meant to and it spoke to me on so many levels. In fact, in what was supposed to be a short comment, I came out with what follows. I decided that this was way to long for a comment and seemed perfect for today's entry. Please, read on...
In her blog, Christina spoke of the difference between teaching a yoga class and leading a yoga class. She also spoke of the challenge of really teaching Anusara yoga well and why it takes such a long time to develop this skill and get certified. As teacher's we are really learning the art of connection, observation,inner exploration and expression in all forms. 
I find that really teaching Anusara Yoga well has been and is such a process of learning for me on so many levels. Not only do I have to learn how to translate what I understand of the practice or the pose or the path in a way that is relatable and understandable but I also have to learn to get in that space between the teaching and the experience of the moment and try to feel what the student is feeling. It is such a delicate and precise art. I think for the first time I am really learning to look around the room to see what is going on. I am worrying less about whether I am doing it all in the exact way I think I am supposed to and going more with my intuition on things. I have been teaching for only 5 years and am just now feeling like I am getting the hang of this. I feel that letting go into it, into the moment of teaching, after some thoughtful planning at this point is helpful. Going with the flow so to speak and trusting my own inner guidance helps me to trust my expression of this that flows through me. When I trust what I know at this point and trust the guidance that rises from within, there is such a hit of magic and meaning after the class that I feel shifted and lifted too.
What it comes down to is that my desire to teach Anusara Yoga well and in a way that is honest and authentic, helpful and inspiring is sincere, rich and saturating. It is an odd mix in my heart that creates both a feeling of joy and an ache that is hard to put into words. All I know, is that it is there.
It is true that teaching puts you in two places at once, the seat of the student and the teacher.
I will close with what Christina wrote...
"Anusara Yoga is a commitment between teacher and student to learn and grow together. That is what is so cool and so transformational about it. We climb the mountain together.
Many thanks to all my teachers who have helped me get this far.  I feel blessed to be surrounded by such amazing guides and am so grateful to be on this road with you all.  
Om Namah Shivaya,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Floating and Flowing...

Jason left for France this morning, and I miss him.  The first day he is gone is the strangest.  Life in our little house is quieter and the rhythm is different.  Liam is asleep and did pretty well going down tonight, so here I am in the living room and it's  9:45 on Friday night.  I am wide awake instead of nearly falling asleep.  I think my practice and the thunderstorm might have a little something to do with this.   I am so glad it poured and the water drenched the dry earth cause there is nothing like the rain on a hot summer's night to set things right.  And the smell of the desert after it rains is so fresh and unforgettable.  
So here I am trying to figure out what is I do when Jason is not home.  Time alone at night always seems to lend itself to thinking about things...  Things here in Tucson have been really good.  My classes at YO are going really well and have been full.  The connection with the students has been out this world and the way I feel after I teach is hard to explain and even harder to contain.  The funny thing is I am always happily surprised by all who show and how everything really seems to be flowing for me.  Maybe that is because for so long it felt like I was having a hard time taping into the creative energy here since the flow and way of things in Tucson is so different from Colorado Springs.   I am not sure if things here have shifted or if I have but think it may be a little of both. 
When I first got here, all I could think about was what I gave up and how I wanted that back. Now,  I am really beginning to see all the blessings coming to me.  I am so grateful I was able to find a home at Yoga Oasis and that my classes are doing well.   I am even more grateful to be past the phase of major insecurity and worry over whether I was worthy of this opportunity.  I think I was worried that I was not at the level of teaching that I thought people would expect or that my approach would be to different.  It seems that most folks just expect me to be myself, which is something I believe in and want too. Overall, I feel that my teaching has improved and all the tests the Universe has put me through have only helped make me stronger and more clear on things.  
In a lot of ways, I feel like I have finally risen above my doubt and my long-held, habitual thoughts of myself or my idea of myself to have a better look.  It is like I am looking down on myself as if bird taking in the world below... Eagle eye vision.  Self-doubt is a big lesson I have been trying to learn from for a long time.  I hope this higher perspective is long lasting and life changing.