Time seems to be flying by, filled with the details of living. For the most part, I feel settled in to our new circumstance here in Colorado and the process of adjusting to a more involved family life is well underway.
On the practical side of my life, the Texas property is under contract, we have unpacked most of the boxes, we have planted a vegetable garden as well as some flowers, I confirmed a venue for my 2017/2018 trainings, I taught two great workshops in June— one here in Buena Vista, CO and another in Santa Fe, NM, I updated my website, and, in addition to my current webinar on Finding Depth in the Basics, I have been back in my filming studio working on new classes for my online channel. (think lots of new flow practices to enjoy!)
Added into the mix of all that activity have been bike rides, hikes, doctor visits, cooking, cleaning and so on.
(Oh, and my napping practice is going well.Maybe not #nappingeverydamnday but #nappingmanytimesaweek.)
Like I said, the activities of daily living.
And on the inner life front, I am thinking a lot about how all my time with formal practices of asana, meditation, mantra, puja and the like, have brought me to place where I feel I am living my life rather than practicing for it.
Years ago, on a pilgrimage trip to India, my spiritual teacher, Lee, gave a talk about how eventually we would stop seeing our work as practitioners as something different or apart from our lives. He said, “What you want is to find yourself living your life and simply folding these perspectives and vantage points into your day-to-day activities with a kind of relaxed discipline.”
Seems to me that some of us in his company were better at the relaxed part while others were better at the discipline part. I tend to be a bit of a “clamp down and try to control it” sort of person and, while that temperament had some positive outcomes for me in terms of time on my mat, on my cushion, writing consistently, etc,, clamping down and always trying to do everything “better” also had some downsides that surfaced after about fifteen years. (Nothing like a good mid-life passage to help clarify patterns.)
So, here I am in my late forties glimpsing what it might mean to be a tad bit more relaxed in my approach to my life and growth. Relaxation, in this case, has less to do with outer activities and more to do with relaxing an internal grip that is held in place by “not good enough” and “I am different and misunderstood” and “It’s all my fault” and so on. (You know, the Big Ones.)
And, as the process is unfolding, it seems to me that the more I stop the incessant self-improvement strategies—even when said strategies are dressed up in yoga clothes and called practice or sadhana— the more I can allow myself to be who I am the more I can allow my students to be who they are, the happier I am, and the more effective my teaching becomes. Imagine that.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped worrying about whether I was a “good yogi” or a a “bad yogi” or if what I was teaching was “real yoga” or “athleticisized new-age hooey.” Somewhere over the last few years, I stopped worrying about why someone walked into my classroom and why they didn’t. I stopped paying so much attention to what other people where teaching and doing and stopped giving quite so much attention to what I thought about it all. After almost 20 years of teaching, I have finally realized I rarely know anyone’s motives for practice, how the seeds of the teachings are being planted within them or exactly how they are living them once they leave my class.
I even began to realize that what my teachers think of me and my studentship is really none of my business. I mean, it is nice when my teachers seems to like me, but, in a way, their approval—or lack thereof— is just another distraction away from the task at hand.
The task at hand remains the same as it always has been for me— Love. For me, practice as an expression of Love will have at its heart, the mood of relaxed discipline. For me, practice as a means to earn Love will always carry the tension of fear and inadequacy. Everything may appear the same on the surface, but the interior experience is radically different. And truth be told, when I am in fear-based inadequacy, there are always tells. But at any rate, I think the older I get, the more the truth of the interior becomes my priority over the perceptions of the surface, tells or not.
I told Kelly that I couldn’t face writing a blog on “freedom” today, but it seems that I did just that after all. For me, freedom from the tyranny of that internal grip of fear has come— not all-at-once-and-forever— but in glimpses and glances, in sips and swallows, in both fleeting insights and sustained perspectives that allow me to Love a bit more fully.
Enjoy your holiday.
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."