Therapist Days Hidden in A Treasure Box

At times, this therapist’s work can be lonely. And it’s a rare occasion to experience the kind of positive or negative feedback even a formal performance review may offer. We are instead stuck with the ever constant looming audit from insurance companies and oversight boards. We fret as the “not good-enough” barfs on us sometimes.Tiny letters carry threats to return “their” money in an act of shame for our lack of paperwork perfection. Time and again I want to call my my faceless-nameless overlords and demand they spend time with me and my people before they lay down their box checking judgement.

Yet- the alternative is to become pretentious and only see those who can afford to care for their mental health out of pocket. And for that reason alone- I refuse. As a therapist, I am responsible for serving my community- ALL OF IT. So, (per usual) I own my giant rebellious size 11 personality and do my best work and say, ‘Just Bring It.’

We are good at what we do. But the outcomes are elusive. Did I truly have an impact and participate in my client’s meaningful change? Did I have anything to do with that lifting of depression and anger? Did the examination of profound loss lessen after being carried for years?

What’s even more tricky is that if done well- the work MUST ALWAYS be theirs. And so the gratitude that may show up cannot be gobbled up like you’re some damn super star! My people must revel in their own pride because they are the ones in it for the long haul.

I tell my people that the goal is to no longer be needed. Those are sad days for me. Good! Wonderful! But still sad melting right over the top. It’s not my job to see ‘til the end of the story- but I still wonder. I sometimes still want to hold their hand when the moment is rough shot with pain- but I shouldn’t. And I won’t.

No matter our presence, sometimes dark days will turn bleak and then to death. We have lost many in what would be a seemingly short career, but we are all too fully aware that if we genuinely sit with the shame of abuse, deprivation, rape, domestic violence and not just the exaggeration of life taking but the real fear of being killed; there isn’t always a simple answer out. These are breath taking days, ones where even this avid yogi forgets to breathe. I want just one more chance to tell them that they mattered to me and in my less enlightened moments, believe that somehow my words would count to create a change and the darkness might share a moment with the light.

On many of those dark days when I ache and I am certain the imposter police are coming for my precious credentials and perhaps my whole career, I turn to my treasure box. As many of my people have grown—taken in sweet deep breaths of happiness and moved on, many have given me small gifts and cards. In full disclosure, one did give me a pair of shoes (which is beyond hilarity) and I still wear them when I need to be brave with this often alone world.

I will find a quiet moment, open my treasure box and read my cards and am reminded that although I may feel lonely, I am not alone. Perhaps in that moment I have forgotten that I can do good work or even that my work matters. Reading love notes of kindness allows me to come back home again to myself, taking deep belly breaths.

Even more elusive is this space- my writing. I could just jot my wild thoughts in a journal and leave it just for me. But I have just kept figuring that if I can and do feel alone – Can I possibly be the only one? I cannot be the only human that worries that their work will just not matter? I don’t care if you are the up and coming Mother Teresa or local hired hit man, we all want to believe the work we put out into the world matters! So I write. I write to the masses of crickets chirping but I mostly write – and love – and be my own therapist. The entirely altruistic act fades quickly on me. I am well aware of the deep interconnectedness we experience and just the chance for good will trickle down towards my daughter who I love more than anyone.

My performance reviews are found in watching someone emotionally wake up to their lives and from time to time in a card found in my treasure box.

In those notes I cherish, I will return to my breath and rediscover my way. But like my brave face shoes, there have been a few things that won’t fit snugly in my treasure box. I cherish not the thing or even the card, but the words and sentiment in the giving. If I cared for things, I would have been a banker and fretted over my money rather than people.

Those words are reminders that just perhaps we matter. Perhaps the daily grind does have a purpose. Perhaps I am not alone and I have and can continue to use my transformation in the service of this one little world we inhabit together.

In my previous armored up and angry Mean Self life, it was easier to be confrontational than it was to offer gratitude. It can still be difficult today. So when I receive it or give it in my own words, I relish the bright red glitter magic it brings.

Absolute – PURE – MAGIC.

And for that, I am Grateful.

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My 25 Truths

My 25 Truths, Challenge Accepted

  1. I believe in Love and relationship. The deep messy ones where we are left with grime on our faces, but we can say without doubt; we have loved fiercely. It seems to be all we have when everything else washes away. And for me, it is the only thing that makes all the other pain of life worthwhile.
  1. I am not in love with children. I like the idea of them, but they seem so grabby and handsy that I get anxious and worried they will just slide through my hands like Jello. It’s not polite for a woman to say she would rather not hold your kid or gush over its smooshed up face, but I would rather not. Now, when they are mine- it’s different. I experience this electricity in the bond. That seems to override the fact that I feel like I am holding a gigantic chicken nugget.
  1. My body is a vehicle not an ornament. I love how strong and graceful it can be. I get excited by the experience of owning power in my bones, like there’s hidden magic I can unlock by building muscle. I am not impressed by corporations selling me skinny and I am certainly not interested in people who judge me by some odd made up standard of beauty.
  1. Vulnerability is beautiful and sexy. Breakdowns are beautiful. I know it seems the opposite of sexy, but we were not meant to line up like drones in the “I’m fine” crowd- that is made up crap to keep us sterile and lonely. Being vulnerable will mean taking risks and making mistakes. It will mean being bold with our love and daring ourselves to have the kind of relationships we deserve. It will remain as superficial as jam on toast if we don’t dig deep and share the guts of what we’re made of.
  1. Food is the most amazing gift! I love to eat and although not entirely true (see #3), I do exercise, in part, so I can eat. Given that women are supposed to be small and invisible, it’s generally wrong for a woman to even act like she likes food! We are supposed to pick at it and pretend we aren’t starving. I get hangry if I skip meals so, not to worry, I will enjoy EVERY bite!
  1. Being judgmental is a kind of toxic venom that we slowly inject ourselves with. But I am still guilty of it. Just noticing when we are sizing another person up and sending them kindness instead can change your entire perspective on yourself. I realize when I am super judgey, I am simply caught in my mind with MY junk taking up precious real estate in my head.
  1. I am truly silly and love to laugh- especially at totally inappropriate and clever things. Like REALLY inappropriate things. And given that being happy is the most rebellious act, I love to be silly in public and make others laugh- or worry.
  2. Practicing yoga is the one thing that keeps me from committing murders. It would be nice if I were as even toned as my husband….but I’m not. The price of passion is getting fiery mad at shit you don’t like. Yoga reminds me to come back to my center, sit and be quiet.
  3. There are some people who are just more lovely and special than others. I have the distinct pleasure of loving many of them.
  4. Writing cleanses my soul. When I am not doing that in some way- I lose sight of the observer in my own life…..and am likely going to be in trouble.
  5. I like my music loud and to drive my car fast. My husband rolls his eyes so far in the back of his head when he gets in my car, I swear they roll into the back seat. In the recent years of spontaneous dancing, I have turned into a pop princess. Sometimes the bass in my Prius (yes, you can laugh) is up so high the back window bounces!
  6. I think my choices in cussing are simple. It’s my daily ‘Fuck You’ to the patriarchy that continues to attempt to tell me I should remain a silent bystander to some other man’s life. I even have a ring to go with it. I like to point at it when my trainer tries to tell me what to do (although I do pay him to do that).
  7. Although I readily sunburn like a mutha-fucker, the ocean is a healing place. It’s a sanctuary in the blistering oppression of people.
  8. I like things. I don’t generally have issue with things. I like to shop for things- especially shoes. However- I am not attached to them. They can come and go- if you need it, it’s yours. I value the expression and meaning behind those things much more than stuff itself.
  9. I don’t believe in soulmates- but I am a complicated bird so I do believe it’s tough to really get me. Not because I pretend, but mostly because I don’t. Men generally appreciate confidence only if they can capture and box it. It takes a special human to take the risk to love a wild bird. I believe my spouse is a rare soul who can weather the death and rebirth.
  10. I am a most tender soul. I will cry at commercials and cuss you out for an injustice. Both are an alert that I am hurt and I may get stuck in those painful feelings for days at a time.
  11. My daughter says she believes I could beat someone up. I half palm plant my face and am half impressed with the astute observation of my 11-year old. I am happy she can see women who are self-assured and are not afraid to take a stand.
  12. I believe in equality. ……. every kind, without borders or exceptions. My middle class white mind continues to need to learn. I find listening with an open heart serves this conviction.
  13. I believe we are both human and divine. The many stories we hold precious speak to this desperate desire to know the divine within. We struggle instead to worship others rather than follow our own divinity.
  14. I believe in therapy. Next to being a mother, it is the biggest privilege to be in the presence of another person’s emotional sanctuary. Given that we are all feeling humans- we should not do this alone. Having a special person to walk the journey who will have your interest at heart over EVERYONE else is an experience we should all have in this messy life.
  15. I believe in kindness. Given that I still struggle with my judgey pants and my daughter is aware of the asshole prowess, it is always a work in progress.
  16. Life is stunningly harsh and joyous. I’ve learned that when people are seemingly “fine all the time” – they are truly not showing up in their lives. If things don’t fall apart a few times, I am afraid you are just not doing it right. Rigging it all together with tethered strings makes for one holy monkey mess (as my friend would say) when the shit hits the fan.
  17. I am a trauma survivor and I know I’m not alone. I know that so many of us carry the deep shameful burden of a past that haunts us. If we only gave ourselves the freedom to speak our most breath taking truths, shame would die and the war we rage on inside of ourselves could wave the white flag of surrender.
  18. The need to stop and reflect is like needing the breath. Therefore, I believe in therapy. And Yoga. And Writing and pajama days!….and whatever allows you to slow it down, and watch the wind. We need all the kinds of self-compassion our minds can muster. I try to speak to myself with kindness and give myself the same kinds of breaks I do to others I love.
  19. I accept ambiguity and change. I try to hug them like old friends and offer them a seat at my table, give them warm food and yummy treats. Occasionally, I want to starve them out with stubbornness. It never works and is a clear reminder that growth’s invitation can’t come without them.

 

Regret is a Bitch of a Teacher

Remember when that teacher just stayed and stayed on you to work through a task feeling like a hot sticky hell only akin to the deep south? And perhaps there was a part of you that just wanted to reject what they were saying for the sake of being a rebellious pain in the ass (and a heaping side of avoidance)? And then you did just that? If this has ever been your experience, this is what regret can feel like. Sometimes I stay stuck in the awkward yoga position until I chew down through all the pieces of the puzzle my brain has not figured out.

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And if I have ever had regrets, its in my friendships that suck the most. I find that trying to be a friend can feel like endless attempts at recognizing that I need to be brave and say stuff I am struggling with….and I just don’t. I have come to realize that when I decide I want someone to like me, I will break rules in order to be liked. I will also do the opposite; when I need to NOT forge a relationship and I know it. I will push down many of the signals that are saying ‘there is no glue here, what ARE you doing?’

I have some REALLY incredible friends, ones that love me with a kind of generousity that surpasses any expectation one can verbalize. Occasionally I say to myself that since I have these friends- why would I need more? And truthfully, I don’t. I guess I am an adventurist and want to not shut out the possibility of someone fabulous, but when it doesn’t work out…GAWD! The gremlins are unreal and I hop right down that rabbit hole of ‘who do you think you are, someone who needs 100 fabulous friends? You should be so lucky to have three?’

Once again, I am learning and regret is a fabulous, albeit a taskmaster of a teacher. We have not lived if we have no regrets, but I won’t lie, rumbling around with them is my least favorite part of being an emotionally awake human being.

So here is what I want to live better: I want to take a deep breath and say out loud the struggle I see in front of me without judgement or unkindness and not allow it to build or stuff it down. Brené Brown talks about different ways we can off load hurt- chandeliering can sometimes be a terrible favorite of mine. There are many kinds of ways we can vomit up all the tiny cowardices we did not speak. Each have the potential for devastating consequences in relationships. We wait to long and well, we may have just waited too long. Chandeliering just leads us to hang from the ceiling screaming (I imagine you get the crazy here.) But what if understanding that reality of hurt is just unavailable to us until many? Many. MANY. Moments have passed by? What then? Will that other person be willing to stay present with you and work through that recognition, still owning their part of the story that may have led to the disaster that is before both of you? Unfortunately, my experience is that this does not often happen and makes me terribly sad. If you realize that you have been stuffing and stuffing and attempt to express anger around that- do you deserve to be shunned or turned off? I genuinely would hope not- but there it is, a cranky, invisible demon living inside of you that you had no idea was eating your lunch- like a bully. And now you just got to talk about the pain that has been building, but its like a fire cracker to the other person who may have been sleeping when you let the vomit out.

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I believe this is a space where courage beyond grit rests. If we discern that the pain is real and sit through that, even if it still means the end of the relationship, new growth sprouts. When we shut down or shut out the conversation the moment for growth can get lost. And perhaps every relationship is not worth this, but I can say that WE are worth the work. So if I have to be fully honest with myself, the suck lies in knowing that I don’t get to work that all the way out with another person. I am left doing that on my own and at times, can only be left with questions unless I want to make up a confabulated story with more holes in it than the Eiffel Tower.

One of the wonderous places I have the privelege of witnessing this very experience of everyday courage is in the couples I see. Often, the regret is like a sea of green sludge that is above their eye balls, making it feel almost impossible to even witness their partners actual presence. And yet, it is possible to get yourself dirty and sit in the filth that has been mutually created in that relationship. It is possible to wake up to our lives and dig our way out of the mountain of regret. It is painful and so excruciating at times that most will not.

One of the leading researchers in the country on couples,John Gottman, formalizes the threshold of regret and trust that a relationship cannot return from. It is true that some cannot make their way back and so I do not want to apply some false hope that with just enough courage every relationship can return to glory and beauty. I, however, wonder sometimes if the exercise, even if it ends, is not worth the immense growth? I inform couples that if they are not willing to do the work here, they run the risk of simply finger wagging at their partner as the problem and then run to the next relationship. They often believe their problems are all solved because they left that son/daughter of a bitch and now are free from the conflict. What really happens is that we are clumsy and fall into the lap of some chump who has a different name, smiles at us brightly and we start the pattern all over again. Once we realize that…..That is the real Bitch. Or as my beloved Dad would say, ‘Isn’t that a biscuit eater?’

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So here’s a potential pattern to chew on. For some of us, we spend an inordinant amount of time trying to undo the patterns of intimate relationship failures of the past. As I have fessed up to before, I come from one very long pattern of marriages and divorce- each three times going back three generations. As you might imagine, I had little thought that I could undo a wicked curse, but so far, 19 years and counting with my partner. However, what I did not realize was that the struggle would ooze over into another area of my life. So, I continue to battle the pain of poor choices in relationships, just in another area of my life. Consider the person who grew up in an alcoholic family that vows to never be nor marry someone who has an addiction to alcohol…..Oops, they wake up one day and realize their partner has an equitable addiction, but perhaps to work, pornography or the internet. The depth of the necessary work to break from patterns is daunting. Discovering this makes me half relieved because I know I can change it and the other half wants to say ‘Fuck It!’ and crawl under some big squishy covers and NEVER come out again!

Whether in an intimate relationship or friendship, when the struggle to maintain connection gets lost, the threshold of trust can detrioriate at such a staggering rate, it cannot return. A relationship is just that- an awkward dance of emotions and one must attempt to stay emotionally aware of both ourselves as well as the other. Lots of toe stamping and perhaps dancing alone on the other side of the room can occur. I imagine myself sometimes a little like Elaine from Seinfield. I want to dance, I want to get things started, but LAWD!- there are not many who will dance to beat of that drum! If we are lucky enough to find life long friends/partners who will, keep them. And know that sometimes, there will be regret, the teacher like no other. May the regret not outlast the courage to try, try, and try again.

LIVE.OUT.LOUD.  AGAIN & AGAIN ❤

Why I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions

It’s February, and aleady many of those New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs) have gone out the window! Have no fear, there is another way………..

Please don’t get me wrong; I totally get the desire to improve and be better. It’s when the ‘Not Enoughness’ drives these resolutions we continue to perpetuate the self deprecating behavior that feeds our inner hatred. Be Thinner. Be Fit. Work Out Every Day. Eat Perfectly. Sleep 8 hours.

Stop Whatever. Start Whatever. It is this kind of dangerous mind game we tend to play that makes a resolution just another way to emotionally degrade ourselves and the inner voice (I call her ‘The Bitch in the Back’) gathers fuel to corrupt our future ability to try much of anything new- potentially even healthy changes that can be beneficial to our overall well-being.

Instead of listening to the dark voices, there is a little wisdom I continue to come back to time and again. If we spent more on Self-Acceptance and less of badgering ourselves with endless self improvement- all that Start Whatever, Stop Whatever stuff would just organically show up in our lives and not arbitrarily because the date flipped a number or two.

I am not in the habit of pretending one just flips on a switch and Wha-La!- SELF ACCEPTANCE BABY! (You must say this to yourself in a burlesque dancer voice). The process can actually be long and at times painful. But there are meaningful aspects of our makeup that can transform the fabric of what it means to be You. Let’s try on an example.

I will never hang back so far in a work environment that I won’t be asked to take on some project. It’s in my DNA to get in and get messy (in my own way). Even when I fall back and be quiet, I just don’t. I am still learning and leaning into accepting this as part of me.

An even better example is how I will never be a physically small person. Even my head is Amazonish in selfies next to the little people! As part of my self acceptance, I train 3 days a week at the gym, teach yoga two days and try to take one or two classes a week. Has it shrunk my pa-dunk-a-dunk ass? NOPE. Not even a little. Secretly, my trainer has been working on making it hold a glass like it’s a side table I think?! Despite these things, I have learned what keeps me motivated is not some strange ideal that I just will not be- but instead, loving myself as I am.

So this year, I will remain focused on what matters. I don’t want to be a better mother, spouse, teacher, therapist (pick a hat, any hat). I want to enjoy the fact that I love and am loved. I wish to remember to appreciate all the joy and gifts I have in my life. I want to remember more often to stand back and relish in all the growth I have done. And for me, most importantly, it’s growing in love with the person I am. I want to recognize myself in the mirror as being the person I choose to actively reflect in the world.

And this is my wish for you. We will not be redeemable with a better body, nicer children, more friends or stopping whatever crappy habit we picked up. You already are the most magnificent beautiful human created from the dust of stars.

Let Me Repeat Myself………

YOU. YES-You are ALREADY the most MAGNIFICENT BEAUTIFUL Human created.

The trouble is we often don’t believe it in our bones. We may say in our head, ‘I am a good person’ but it does not translate into the core. I believe that if we inched towards the acceptance of ourselves there would be many things that would naturally fall out and change within us in just a season of our lives.

Here are a few:

  1. Bitterness would die. The plants- or perhaps trees of hardness that force you to drink vinegar while you are not looking would disappear like a red solo cup at a party. That bitterly scowled expression expecting to be rejected and hurt could begin to wash away and perhaps for once you could choose which well to drink from.

  1. Anger would slide off your body like an oil slick. Of course, it would continue to show up, but you would see the fear and pain that anger piles on and not allow it to be covered or cower from the struggle that honest emotion brings.

  1. Judgement would no longer belong to you. If you were naturally not judging yourself- it would seem all the more inconsiderate to judge others. We could recognize more and more that acting like others are “doing it wrong!” is just another form of self hatred and an honest reflection of our own lack of self acceptance.

  2. We will become more accepting of others. It becomes so much clearer how we are ALL just doing the very best we can. Perhaps someone else cannot escape the patterns of the past and all of the so called help and judgement will not change this. But more love for ourselves will.

As we continue to barrel down 2016, I wish you health and happiness. I am confident it will show up in all our lives as we grow in the connections we make towards the acceptance of US. May you love deeply, especially the sweet gift of You.

                                                          LIVE.OUT.LOUD.

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This Weather is Trying to Murder Me

I cannot decide, but I think this weather is trying to murder me in my desire to constantly be still or stay asleep. I recall putting in my southern weather order that it not amount of multiple days like Seattle, Washington. I would say I feel almost stabby (props to Jlaw for that one) but it would be more like one of those dull knives at the bottom of your grandma’s cluttered kitchen drawer. I am sure someone would try to tell me this is my shitty first draft, but really, drive with me at night in this crap and we would all wonder how it was legal.

I am not sure how many of you struggle with the darkness that flows into winter, but it can truly take me out for a bit. No amount of light therapy, vitamin D or new lipsticks seem to slow the negative thoughts in my brain. And if you only knew the level to which I wear my judgy pants, you would realize how crazy I was, slowly back up, hands up and say, “Okay, lady, how’d you get to be a therapist?” And I swear I’d wonder it too for a few moments……and then I have to constantly remind myself that just because I would like something to hijack my brain today, perhaps tomorrow will be better….or the next….OR the next…..

So while I wear little to no emotional armor and make better attempts at staying clear with my values, I realize that some of my past emotional armor may have not been quite as detrimental as some choices I could have made. I continue to try to integrate them into my whole Self and use them wisely rather than just stay stuck in being raw and judgy. It’s ugly up in here- promise. Let me give you some honest examples to illuminate (while the sun continues to hate on me and run off with another woman).

I can compartmentalize appropriately. Although at one time, it was a choice type of armor that was used like a daily chore, today I can struggle and still have the capacity to say to myself, “Allie- you can and will return to this, but for now, it’s time to put it away and be present with someone else’s struggle.” I dunno, perhaps being in someone else’s head and getting out of mine helps in of itself.

I will spend the time allowing myself to have all the feels I need. The past looked like weeks of a sticky hot mess only Madonna could master. Now, it does come with the weirdo consequences of the Imposter Police (Gawd, I hope they are not reading this) but, it does not last like it once did. I worry that sharing my real Self just makes me look like a weak and ineffective therapist, mother, partner and certainly writer and all the I.Police will come and strip me of every title I have been gifted. Still, I will stay there and work it out. Most of the time it means journaling and emotionally throwing up on my BFFs -but thankfully they love my kinda kook and live in my world with me.

I will yoga. It makes me feel like some new agey weirdo when I talk about how much yoga has saved me, broke me and rebuilt me…..and yet that is exactly what it has done. I have managed to move through some of the most difficult mountains in this last year with the help of one rubbery purple mat and great yoga teachers. I also have a yoga trapeze for funness and have some plans for a yoga circle thingy (they call it a wheel) just to up the play and joy. There is just something sacred about getting my mind and body to connect and reconnect in a way that feeds. I can do nothing but be in my breath and listen. It brings a kind of quiet I just cannot achieve anywhere else.

I will continue to practice Acceptance. I am a feeling being who does not always do the best job in getting back in my thinking brain. BUT…..I have a much better map than my original. It is likely in the Snow Leopard phase of life, with new upgrades to come, I hope. I do my best to love the me as I am. It is not uncommon to find me grumpy and weepy for no reason and I accept that its part of being me.

So although my dull stabby self would like to crawl under some blankets and hibernate for the winter. I will buy a few lipsticks, watch some My Little Pony episodes (highly satisfying in 25 minutes or less) and work it out in my head and on my mat.

  What works for you?

Until the sunshine returns my peeps…..LIVE. OUT.LOUD. ~and Big LOVE to You ❤

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On Becoming a Yogi

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The truth is, show up to yoga and you can set yourself on the path of the Yogi. My own path began some eight years ago when I showed up to my first yoga class with fear written all over my face. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing and well, frankly that remains true at times, but now I feel prepared for the next leg of this journey. I believe that becoming a Yogi is much like becoming a Mother or a Therapist. There is no end, but instead simply a journey that gets woven into the path of your life. Some days I feel lighter because of the awareness of how my feet make impressions in the earth. And some days I am acutely aware of how I am stumbling around in the dark……

Six months ago, I began the path of the yoga teacher. It was such a joy to be in the position of student once again. I recall Swami telling us she would rather be in our position and reflected on missing that with her guru. I am still unsure as to how it has changed me, but I am quite sure the process continues to unfold like the thousand lotus petals of the crown chakra. It has been a whirlwind of asana (physical) practice, anatomy, coloring, writing essays, answering questions and practicum. Yoga pop quizzes like get in front of the a class of 3, 5, 8, and then 50 yogis and do this pose sequence, practice this meditation and breath work and remember to breathe yourself! I sometimes just couldn’t help it, but had to make things a little silly to amuse myself and not turn into a wreck of nervousness. Other times, I just made mistakes and was grateful for my teachers to help support me in my growth. We were ‘chick peas in a pot’ of boiling water and we just had to hang tight (although we all readily ran out a few times) until we were ready to sprout wings and fly.

There were many times when I wondered what in hell had I done! I felt so fearful of considering teaching that I resigned myself to just remaining the student. However, the process of learning with Kashi ATL is so balanced and well thought out; I believe they knew when we hit that dark moment and then fed us a little more (with an extra side of confidence) to keep us going. Leaning into the process was at times exhilerating while others utterly petrifying. I would wax between my heart exploding with excitement to share all that I was learning while other moments feeling sure I would get hung up somewhere and forget something, maybe everything and everyone would be hanging out in downward facing dog while I fumbled with my new language.

And just when I was sure I looked like I was just rolling around in yoga hell, in walked words from my people. I remember practicing in front of my first group of eight (that was soooo many at the time) and I was teaching dancer’s pose incorrectly. My teacher was attempting to show me another way saying, “Try it with your hand on the inside of the back foot instead.” I had to clarify that she was trying to tell me I was doing it wrong because I could easily interpret it as a suggestion. In a very small class room, I then mistakenly jutted my arm into someone else’s space/face and we laughed about it while I gently pushed her over and said, “Okay, don’t do that when you’re the teacher!” More amusement and giggles. After class, my fellow yogi (the one whom I had pushed) said how much she loved the ease and confidence I held in the space of teacher and how much she appreciated from me. I GLOWED. I thought it was my worst moment but instead there were the little lights of yogis shining with me.

And I could just go on and on about the people! My fellow yogis in the cooker were the thing that kept me going, sometimes more than myself. This phenomonal group would astound any human. From a neuroscientist, executives, coaches, entrepeneurs, college and grad students, recruiters, attorneys, a pediatric opthomologist, professional carpenter, company buyers, artists, psychologists and professors. This is just naming a few! What my fellow yogis do in there every day lives is just incredible and I felt so honored to be in the pot with people who are daily rocking the world upside down and then shaking it out a little more. And talk about on the move! When we began, I was the person coming from the farthest away, but before it was over- Virginia, Kentucky, another in New Hampshire and another in Connecticut! I just imagine little love dots of my fellow yogis spreading out over all of the U.S.

Then came graduation day and it was a holy day. I did not well up at the thought of my graduating, but as I watched my people scooch there way ever closer to their moment to receive their gifts with Swami, I was in awe of what we had become. Do you sit an revel in those moments that will not show up again? We sang and sang and sang Kirtan until my voice was sore and I would have sang some more if I could have held the space just a few moments longer. It was so Big and Full, I just wanted to melt into the moment and ride the bliss.

And I did….and We did. And my people who love me no matter what showed up from different places and hugged and loved and ate and shared in the joy of my fellow yogis, getting to meet each other for the first time. My beloved- the Shiva to my Shakti- gave me a beautiful gift to commemorate the moment and the bliss just kept growing.

It is so difficult to say if that kind of moment will show up again in our lives. Yet I can say it just won’t happen for any of us if we don’t take risks, if we don’t fail-even just a little, and it certainly won’t show up with out the vulnerability of connection. I carry with me so many new things, new people and young friendships. I most importantly carry with me the reocgnition that what I will share as a teacher does not come from me, but from the many who sprouted and grew along with me. When I teach my future classes, I will take with me my picture of Swami and my graduating class picture of my fellow yogis. Without you, there would be no yoga teacher in me. I look forward to (and am scared as hell) sharing in the tremendous gifts that have been shared with me. May you always see my grateful heart and the many yoga teachers that share the path with me.

~Namaste

                                                                                      LIVE.OUT.LOUD.

                       CYTTClassPic