Here's a little story...
I April of 2004, I moved from Arizona to Colorado Springs where Jason and my new life were waiting for me. I had just completed my 8-month long Anusara immersion and teacher training, at that time they were one and the same, and I was ready to dive into teaching. Just before I moved to Colorado, I was perusing the Internet for Colorado Springs Yoga studios late one night and found one that looked promising. Spring Street Yoga was the studio that caught my attention and, as it turned out, was a wonderful place. As I was looking over the web page and clicking on each tab, I hit the contact tab and immediately felt compelled to compose a note, so I did. In that note that I sent to the owner, I stated that I had just completed my Anusara teacher training and was moving into the area in a couple of weeks. I asked if she had a need for any new teachers because I was interested in teaching at her studio. To my surprise, Sara promptly wrote me back and shared with me that she was interested in hiring on some new teachers as she had just lost 3! We made a date to meet. It was a wonderful first meeting and my first scheduled class was set for May 2, 2004. I believe it was a Sunday morning. Eleven people showed up that day and of that 11, only one had heard of Anusara yoga, which was a new style at the time. I remember being quite surprised that Anusara was so new to the group. In that moment, I realized that I was going to have to start from scratch and find a way to share what I knew in a way that was relatable and easy to grasp.
Thankfully, I had a great teacher who taught Anusara in a very simple, understandable way. Never did this teacher use the Anusara jargon such as 'inner spiral' or 'outer spiral' or the ever famous 'open to grace'. I made a lot of mistakes. From those mistakes, I learned how to be a better teacher. What kept me going was my passion and my desire to share all the good stuff that was given to me. So the point of this story is that even though it was a more challenging way to begin teaching, it was also the greatest gift. When I felt people doubting or judging my teaching because what I was offering was different and new, which happened a lot, I was unknowingly being given an opportunity to learn to stay steady in my own heart and to be as authentic as possible as a teacher. The other hidden gift in my situation was that I discovered my own voice early on.
More often than not, what seems like a major challenge turns out to be a real blessing. I am convinced that we are given certain challenges, tests, experiences and such as a way to grow and reveal the best part of who we are and what we have to offer. We simply don't see the big picture or the deeper meaning hidden in our experiences until later after some time has passed and we've had time to integrate our lessons. I am at a place where I can see clearly that there are little gems of goodness hiding in every difficult situation. I have found many a jewel on my travels so far.
At this time in my life, I find myself in a very new place, back at the beginning in many respects. Since letting go of my Anusara-inspired status and of further pursuing Anusara certification, I have felt a real sense of freedom to do whatever I like. I am in a place of learning, experimentation, play and discovery. I am finding I am not afraid to try new things in class and to share what is working for me with my students. Mostly, what I offer in my classes is whatever teaching wants to come through me. I am really learning to trust that inner voice and just let whatever teaching wants to move through me, to just move through and out. Little by little, one class at a time, I am letting go of what I think I have to do, the rules and what not, and just teach what I want to.
I very much feel like I am a new student having a look at all my options. I am looking over all the classes in the catalog and seeing what interests me. I haven't taken a training or any major weekend workshops in a long time. I just haven't had the money or been ready to do anything. I think I just needed to let things with my Anusara let go settle a bit. I am looking into all that is out there before I do anything. I have a few specific teachers in mind that I feel the desire to study with and am just trusting that inner pull. It's actually kinda of fun, if you ask me, to have so many options available and out there for the taking. Of course, I'll be sure to share what is next.
So here is where I try to tie all this together as I see the common thread that is running from my past into my present. What I learned when I first began teaching in Colorado Springs and all that time I spent in that place of discomfort and big learning, is most certainly serving me now. Not only do I realize how fleeting that feeling of discomfort is, I finally understand that discomfort, so called 'bad' days, mistakes and difficulty in general are the best teachers there are. It all comes back around to me being authentic and truthful in the seat of the teacher. It's all about me trusting in my way of teaching and the way in which the teachings want to be expressed through me minus my fears and doubts. It's about the love of learning, being of service for the greater good of all, and enjoyment in general. It's about going for the 'love to' and not the 'have to' and from there, all things become clear.
Yup, that's it. Be good with the hard stuff because the sweetness is soon to follow. And have faith that every experience is worth something and is leading you somewhere better, whether it be a better understanding or a better situation doesn't really matter. Just trust the way of things and the way in which life is unfolding because all that is coming next is in your favor.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
It's been well over a month since my last post. Things have been busy for the Tullous family. Liam had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids and had tubes put in ears about two weeks before school started. Yes, it is true a new school year has begun. Liam is a full-fledged kindergartner. The school years have arrived and with that a new phase for all of us complete with a new routine and time in between. Jason was out of town twice in the last month and then had an outpatient surgery of his own. I guess you could say that life is in full swing. What I am including in this post is something that I wrote three days ago in my journal. I think what follows is worth sharing. Read on and enjoy!
August 20, 2012
Life has felt pretty heavy and dull to me lately. Heavy with responsibility and dull from doing all of the have tos and not enough of the love tos. This is what hurts me. When I get wrapped up in all of life's demands and I forget to breathe and I forget to play, I loose myself along the way.
I know I signed up for the life I've got and am grateful for all that I have. I love my family. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love that I can spend so much of my time with Liam and Lila while they are young. Sometimes though, when I am in the thick of it and I am tired and there has been little time for me to nurture my own needs, I get lost in the needs of others.
Balance is a key theme in my life because I loose it so often. I see myself on the thin line of balance, my arms are outstretched, my core is engaged, my mind is focused and I am in it. One distraction and BAM! I'm on the ground with a thud. I know that life is full of moments when I've got it and moments when I don't . The ups and downs are inevitable. My trouble is when I let it get me down and I begin to question everything I am doing as if I am doing something inherently wrong. I ask, "why don't I have this figured out already?"
This question is all wrong. The question or questions I need to ask are: What can I do differently to feel and do better? How do I stay steady in an ever-moving world with time flying away and people pulling at me? How do I maintain my own balance and keep a buoyant heart with so much stress and anxiety pulsing in the world and in all of our lives? Whether we have financial woes, relationship troubles, lack of inspiration or feelings of loss, I've discovered that staying steady and balanced on all levels comes down to the way we love and care for ourselves when life is demanding so much of us.
Levity is key in these dark, heavy times. Silence and quiet time for reflection are the solution to stress and emotional imbalance. Deep breathing is the way to anchor and calm the incessant movement of the mind. What I've learned is that we must counter the trouble with the opposite. When tired and overwhelmed, we take rest and retreat to beat the anxiety. We don't do more, we do less. When life is all work, we get out and play. We get out for a walk in nature and join in the morning jubilee with the birds when in need of a lift and moment to connect. When feeling stifled or serious, dance around the house to a favorite song. When having trouble hearing your own voice, sing out loud, don't get quieter. Turn up the volume! It's okay to start outside and make your way in because sometimes that is what is called for. A starting point is a starting point. Nothing more. The point is, we do something about our discontent. We do anything and everything we can to make ourselves feel better and to imbue our lives with a little more joy. We stop saying things like: "I'm too tired." "I don't have enough energy." "I don't have enough time." " I don't have enough money." You get the idea. These have been my running mantras as of late, so I get it. I do it all the time. But saying such things is essentially saying that what I want or need doesn't matter and that is just not true. I matter. You matter. How we live life matters.
And life is not meant to be all work and no play. I know for myself that this way of living really squelches my spirit and kills my creativity. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed by life and feeling flat, I must go back and ask myself what it is that I love. What makes me happy and fills my heart with joy? What helps me to remember my wings and helps me to believe in the possibility of my dreams? The answer to these questions is the solution and the way back to center.
So when I find myself in that heavy-hearted, uninspired place, what I need to remind myself of is that I am allowed to have fun. I am allowed to enjoy my life. I can strike a balance and find a way to be both a mother and a dream weaver. I can do this life thing! I just have to practice. I just have to believe in myself, my ability, my intuition, and all the possibility that my life holds. I just have to do something, anything and everything I can to make things better and work to stay aligned and connected to my own heart. Nothing less is acceptable.
Here is a picture of Liam on his first day of Kindergarten.
Live, Love, Laugh,