Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bring it.

The process of teaching, for me, aside from being lots of fun, is always an opportunity to receive as much as I give.

Years ago, I observed Ross Rayburn training teachers on what to do when you don't feel like teaching.  Maybe you're sad or distracted.  I remember that lesson because today, as I walked in to teach my first class, I was in a fun, a nasty little viper pit or depression, worry and negativity.  I'm not prone to these moods, so I can get pretty far into them before I can recognize them.  So as I grumpily drove to teach, I just wanted to go home and go to bed.  I also knew that the best thing I could do was to teach.  I remembered Ross' clear advice to the trainees.  Buck up and bring it.  Leave your stuff at the door and serve your students.  Right.  And away we go.

Fast forward an house and a half later, and 8 people are on the floor, absorbing their practices and my teachings.  So was I.  I had taught on the power of our core.  That we should seek to know what is true for us when everything else is stripped away, like trees in winter.  What is it that holds up, like tree trunks, when everything moves around us?  With the students in savasana, and nothing more to say, I had time to contemplate just that. And then, by the process of my own contemplation, I opened the floodgates and in rushed powerful remembrance of the truths of my heart.  I am held up, as as we all are, by Shiva  and Shakti, by the creative power of the universe and the very power of existence.  Oh, right.  Isn't that what I wanted my students to get?  To know intimately the power of their own existence?  I needed that lesson, too, I guess.  I'm so glad I followed Ross' advice, brought my best, and left all the other stuff at the door.  I feel better and am endlessly grateful for the teachings of Tantra that remind me that I am never without.  That I am never alone.  And that showing up for life is always the right choice.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's so Painful about Sparkles?

I have a student that I will call "Sparkles." Anyone who practices at my studio immediately knows who this student is. There's no missing her. She's tall, blond, has two giant full moon blue eyes, and is about the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet. It's almost hard to believe she's for real, under all that generosity, concern and fierce loyalty. But she is. And the best part is that she really does sparkle. Everything she wears has a touch of bedazzle on it. People have, on occasion, applauded when she walks into the studio. Resistance is futile. She's about the brightest spot in my field of vision whenever I'm lucky enough to have her around.

A few weeks ago, Sparkles told me a story about a colleague who intentionally pissed her off and behaved aggressively to her. When Sparkles confronted this woman (I was so proud of her for standing up for herself), said colleague explained that she was glad that she was the one to make her mad because she was too cheery all the time. She didn't believe Sparkles could be that happy and be for real. Now maybe we all live in a sheltered yogic paradise where we find this motive unfathomable, but really—WTF? Someone went out of her way to dampen the light of a sparkle-y star and was pleased with herself about it. Proud even.

So here's my question. Why would a person want to dampen something that illuminates their surroundings? Why are there people like that? What's the deal with that? So I've been thinking about it.

What I've come up with is that for residents of twilights, greys, shadows and darks, the light is actually painful for them. It's like turning on the overhead light when you're dead asleep and being momentarily blinded. To feel compassion for these folks is the yogic way, of course, but for me, it doesn't stop there. That's the easy answer (although not necessarily easy to execute.) What I find most interesting was the response of Sparkles. She refused to be diminished by that woman's efforts and stood tall in her own light.

Because it's her truest nature to shine brightly, she can only do that. When we reside in our own personal truths and light, even darkness cannot dampen us. There will always be people who find the light of truth and beauty to be painful. It crops up as anger, pettiness, jealousy and avarice. Through world history and through our own personal histories, I'm sure you can find no shortage of examples. But I take Sparkles as my own example. Shine with authenticity, no matter what, like a lighthouse reaching out into the darkness. That kind of light is so bright that not even the darkest intentions can dampen it. I might even have to bedazzle something as a reminder.