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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Unfolding Myself

"There are no great acts, only small acts done in great love."  Mother Theresa.

I’d like to teach yoga.  I got my certificate just after Ellie was born, 200 hours of Kundalini teacher training, level one.  Since there doesn’t seem to be any Kundalini Yoga teachers within 500 miles, I figure I have a good chance of being approved to hold a class.  Or a terrible one, but only one way to find out.  

I’m not an obvious choice to teach Kundalini - I feel like a perpetual student and I approach it as in all things with a considerable degree of skepticism.  (Chakra, what?)  There were at least 4 other people in my 6 person class that were better teachers than me, better students, better yogi’s.  Heck, probably better people too.  I didn’t feel the need to embarrass myself by trying to teach something I wasn’t sure I’d really gotten a handle on myself in Virginia.

But here, in the middle of Texas with no one else around to do it, I am starting to feel the irresistible pull to put myself out there.  Maybe my yoga studio won’t want me to teach.  Maybe no one will show up.  I don’t think those things really matter though, I think it matters that I get myself ready to show up.  I have to look at it that way because the whole thought, of me in front of a mostly empty yoga room pretending to be an expert and trying to teach this practice that I love…is a little terrifying.  Ok, a lot terrifying.  It’s Xanax-scary.  I have no idea how I can make that happen but I have to do it.  I have to start, at least.

Lastly, I am reading ‘Self-Reliant’ a book of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays put together by Richard Whelan.  So far it’s a brilliant ‘translation’.  He kind of mulls through the 19th century rhetoric for us.  For those of you with the intelligence and patience to weigh through the originals well, be my guest.  I've neither the wit nor the patience for such an undertaking.

So.  I have a lot of favorite new quotes but my favorite today is:

“If you would be a man (or a woman!) speak today what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls.  Be sincere or be silent.”  

I.  Love.  that.  

For someone who has spent her whole life trying to make everyone else feel better…this thought is a little profound.  Like, echoey in my heart profound. 

I always seem to fall into the role of being a mediator, seeing both sides of the issue and trying to smooth the waters has always seemed like what I was ‘supposed’ to do.  I make things better.  

In the process I make friends (You’re so nice.  You’re so reasonable…).  I seem to have a knack for seeing what people need me to be, and I just kind of morph into that, to make them feel better.  If I’m being stupid-honest, to make them like me better.  Ugh.  Embarrassing.  But mostly it’s because I thought that’s what a good person does.  They don’t ruffle feathers.  They don’t cause problems.  And they never say what someone else won’t want to hear.  They soothe.  They smooth.  

That’s what a good woman does, yeah?  We heal the wounds others leave with their thoughtlessness and their anger.  But I’ve gone too far overboard and I’ve forgotten my own voice.  

And, maybe I’m not doing anyone any favors.  Good ‘ole Ralph Waldo seems to be saying that sincerity isn’t just something we should do, it’s something every decent person must do if they are to honor the God given light and soul within them.  Maybe there would be less darkness in the world if I stood up and said what I really thought instead of avoiding conflict at all costs.

The funny thing is, that wasn’t even one of my underlined passages.  I kind of skipped over that and highlighted things before and after it.  But it rolled around in my head all day, words like cannonballs, words like cannonballs…

Completely unlike the passages I did underline.  Like ‘trust thyself’, like ‘do broad justice where we are, by whomsoever we deal with, accepting our actual companions and circumstances, however humble and odious, as the mystic officials to whom the universe has delegated its whole pleasure for us.’   This ties in with my ‘acts of love’ Mother Theresa quote.  Do good where you are, with who you see everyday.  Do it in love.  Let go of the results.

My other favorite, of course, ‘do not bark against the bad but chant the beauty of the good.’

But words like cannonballs rolling around in my head like…well…cannonballs.  The weight of the words has turned my heart, I think.  it seems to tell me, don’t be afraid to say what you know is right.  Have courage.  Be the light you want to see in the world.  

I may never be a great teacher.  I won’t know all the answers.  I won’t know all the poses or all the mantra’s.  Someone in the class will be smarter, more dedicated, stretchier...but I will learn.  And I will adapt.  I will have courage.  And I will try.  I will unfold myself into this work.

‘By doing his own work, he unfolds himself’.  (RWE)