Again a quick word from my TT whirlwind, to capture a moment, although I am too tired for careful words. Stay with me, my beloved readers.
My mother in law brought tears to my eyes over dinner the other night. No, not in the way you might think — it wasn’t any criticism of my cooking, or how I treat her son, or any of the usual in-law flashpoints. Actually it was because she was so proud of me! She told me “you’re not the girl we met all those years ago; she was so weak and sick, but now look at you!”
Then she went on to talk about this in the context of my yoga practice and of my teacher training. She told me I had much to offer the world if this was something I wanted to do. I have gone through such a big change, I am proof of the possibilities, and so I could help others to find their own transformation.
I kind of loved this comment. It was very validating. It’s really wonderful to hear how well I’m looking (even though I’d had a nap as soon as I got home from yoga school!). I love that I’m clearly different to how I used to be. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
But in the context of teaching, I kind of recoiled from the topic. I don’t want to be labelled (especially not by myself) as this kind of teacher, with the shadow of sickness and weakness being the background narrative to what I do. In TT we are told to find our own voice as teachers. I get this — my teacher is not trying to create an army of mini versions of himself, he wants us to honour our own unique gifts and perspectives. But I don’t want my voice to be the voice of the past. I want to move on from that.
Am I ready to do that? In my own practice I feel increasingly schizophrenic as I lurch from what I was to what I want to be. It’s a movement from fear to hope, from weariness to energy, from constriction to expansion. I know these aren’t complete opposites, and they’re not a one-way street. But I so much want to be on the freeway blazing out towards the distant horizon with the wind in my hair and the sun on my smiling face, music pumping, and this brave new world rising to greet me. Instead some days I feel as though I’m stuck in a one-way system, circling round the same block of dingy streets that take me nowhere. Again and again. Bear with me in the strained metaphor…!
So as I find my balance, in my practice I have quiet days where it’s all about nourishment and finding any chink of light and I have bigger days when it’s playful adventure and wild expansion.
So what might my teaching look like from these crazy opposites?
Up til now I’d have said it would be unadventurous, some quiet optimism, some small faith.
But I want it to be bigger than this. I want to communicate endless possibilities and unbounded energy, find joy in every breath and vitality in every heartbeat. This is what my soul yearns for. This is what I’d like to bring to my part of the world. Not the fragility of a broken body, not how to breathe through despair, not the reductionist mantra of rest, rest, rest.
I’m still learning how to do this myself as I find my ‘new normal’. I wonder how much do I need to have figured this out before I know how I want to teach? I can’t wait forever! Patience may be a virtue, but impatience beckons! A bigger life beckons.
TT is almost over already. I’ve had my moments of despair and it’s taken deep courage to keep picking myself up when I feel all energy feels spent, to keep bringing myself back to the mat — for the sake of my own learning and to support my fellow students who need me to be there for their teaching practice. One of the things I will take from TT is how to work with my energy… and my energies (the plural being a bit more esoteric, towards the sense of prāṇa maybe). I feel open to the possibilities….
It’s so exciting! 🙂