I am still working to ‘find balance’ between the great joy of teaching workshops and classes where I am ‘the star’ and the times when I feel isolated and alone. There is a growing comfort inside of me that accepts these rather drastic opposites and I am growing more and more comfortable with the shifts.
When the loneliness arises, it is fairly easy for me to remember the moments after a workshop or Kirtan where students generously offer praise and gratitude. It is during those moments that I am also working to consciously recall the feelings of loneliness that I know will arise when everyone leaves.
I had a great talk with my friend Marcynha who reminded me of what I already know, but it helps to hear it from an outside voice. She reminded me that I have so much to offer people with my work and my energy and when there is safety for people, they are more then willing to open themselves to an exchange of energy. However, there is an awareness on both sides of my lifestyle of traveling and my comitments in other places that prevent them (and me) from opening up completely. This results in a connection that is based in our divine Interconnection as spiritual beings and an understanding of trust but at the same time remains fairly surface. With my passion for my work and my current schedule, I am fully open and accepting this as my path and as I just wrote, finding more comfort with my ‘shadow’ side that is often times totally hidden by the joys that most of my life is full of.
Judgements and Comparisons….
I’ve just returned from a great (but very wet and rainy the whole time) weekend on Ilha Bella. I went with my dear friends Nivea and Luigi who host me annually in Sao Paulo and have taken me to their island home several times now. We had plans with several other yoga teachers to have the weekend together and two of the three cancelled at the last minute, but still two other friends were able to join us.
Firstly, it was very nice for me to get out of Sao Paulo (where I am back again listening to the constant waves of airplanes and helicopters) to be back in nature and away from the noise pollution that exists here. In my final days of living at Yoga Flow, I was having twitches in my temples during my practice because I was awakened EVERY morning at 7AM to the sounds of very loud banging of construction literally 15 feet from my head and the beginnings of the planes landing at Congonhas (Latin America’s busiest airport). The studio is on the approach to the airport….so being in Ilha Bella was an initial delight just to be where the noise polution was minimal. It still was there in the sounds of boat engines and neighbors music, but that was much more bearable!
Nivea and Luigi have built a beautiful yoga studio in the back of their home which was a treat with all the rain. I was there fairly early on Saturday morning by myself and NIvea soon joined me. We had a great practice and then breakfast. The other friends who were spending the weekend with us had arrived and were very cool and young Iyengar Yoga teachers.
In the afternoon, we went back to the studio for practice and I played some mantras for them and while the other 2 friends were practicing, I found myself comparing asanas and yoga experience with them. They both had very developed ad beautiful practices and the precision with which they practiced (and their strength and flexibility) amazed me. It was really interesting to catch myself first judging them and then comparing myself while we all practicing YOGA! Whew…am I glad I am friends with ‘the observer’ or else I could have really been in a challenging place with that situation. This morning, much of the same as we spent about 3 hours practicing together in the studio. Their Iyengar practice was really beautiful to watch and the two of them were incredibly flexible and strong. Much more so then me. And so my mind went at it again…”WOW, you’re traveling around the world teaching people yoga and these two teachers have more developed asana. Well yes, but I teach more then Asana….well I bet they do to because they are both extremely nice and intelligent people…well yeah but maybe you should have their practices….and I bet if you dedicated yourself more you could practice like that…but maybe you should just sit and meditate….oh, thank goodness you can sing well….but they sang last night and sounded great….and on and on and on….”
Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodah – Yoga is the conscientious science and ability to observe and release the self limiting thought form in the mind
Thank goodness for Patanjali! Soon after recalling Sutra 1.2, I felt much better and although the comparisons didn’t end right away, I was much more at peace with my tight hamstrings (in relation to theirs)….we even did some poses together where they helped me and I really enjoyed that. The rest of the afternoon was much more peaceful with a nice long breakfast, boat ride and then easy trip back to Sao Paulo where I am until Wednesday.
All this got me thinking too about the self limiting thought forms that take the form of judgements and comparisons really do snowball in most peoples minds and when they go undetected and are allowed to carry on, they can really carry some serious emotional weight. Of course, even in realizing that I observe my thoughts and others subscribe to theirs and accept them all, I have jumped into another comparison and judgement. But I can let that one go for the sake of self-inquiry. So now, I sit and type and keep coming back to the fact that I believe that contentment and gratitude are the keys to overcoming these two self limiting thought forms. For when I really look at the incredible life I live, I am truly grateful for every experience and yes, every emotion be they joyous of not. Other then great strokes to my ego there’s not much that increased strength and flexibilty will bring me and I know in my deepest places that I will always continue to learn from the applied philosophy of life. So I drop into my heart, take a breath and say thank you…especially to Pedro and Marina!