So everything was going swimmingly--In one weekend, I had my birthday celebration(s) including a beautiful dinner with my parents and Robert at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens [they make the food WITH the stuff from the garden! Now that's local] and a lovely dinner at Grub on Main Street with some particularly goodlooking friends, 3 different workshops at the Vancouver Yoga Conference and Show [Anodea Judith, Sadie Nardini, and Maria Garre], AND finished a recording of a spoken word track inspired by/including a poem I wrote for a real live yoga CD, and BAM! I got sick. Big surprise, right?
Well, finally it is Monday, and I spent the day in my pajamas doing yoga, drinking a huge pot [literally, a cooking pot] full of cinnamon tea with white tea flowers, watching NetFlix [which is an amazing technology, truly] and working on that thing I've been hearing people talk about: "resting."
Have you ever noticed that yoga teachers tend to teach what they need, not what they already have? Sadie Nardini, a beautiful, magnetic, charming woman who obviously works ridiculously hard [185 youtube videos!] at giving as much of herself to as many people as she possibly can, is a woman with a very specific "core message." Distil down the coal, she says, to the jewel that is inside you. Stop trying to please everyone and just be who you are. Create boundaries. Stick to your message and stick to your voice; the best teacher, lover, friend, parent, etc. that you can be is who you already are. One of the things I love about Sadie is how honest and down to earth she is: and with that it is quite clear that she is a giver, a pleaser, a wanderer, and a freedom fighter against the boxes the world and she herself have created around her. She teaches core integration so beautifully because she has so clearly struggled with it. I think I resonate with her teaching so much for a reason: I, too, often teach "feet on the ground!" because I am often trying to remember to do that.
Lately I have been theming a lot of my classes on change--the fall can be a stressful time, and things tend to shift with the seasons, sometimes in ways that are not so thrilling. My [business] partner's [life] partner's business [I know] was trashed and set fire to recently, and then her SHOES were stolen off her porch. Two different friends had their guitars stolen this month on separate occasions, and a friend and student of mine got stuck in the hospital for almost a MONTH with blood poisoning, unable to do yoga for probably the next six months--and this is someone who practised often more than once a day.
But change, as they say, is good, though not always easy, and here I insert the requisite Wayne's World reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoPiJOubR-4. Sometimes getting sidetracked gives us a chance to think about where we are and what we are doing when it is the LAST thing we really want to do. And when that sidetrack goes right off the rails and something breaks, we have a chance to put it back together in a new way. Hard times make us better people--I love this quote I heard the other day:
Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.
I know, I know, I know I need to rest more, I work too hard, I am too hard on myself, and whenever I do this too much or for too long, I get sick or I twist my ankle or something else goes horribly wrong, as if my inner buddha is whacking me with a big stick. My friend in the hospital said to me: "Some people have a mid life crisis and they buy a new car. I'm having it here in the hospital." What an amazing human to take a month in a horrible little hospital room as an opportunity to meditate and face who he has become and who he wants to be. He has a whole new life to come back to on the other side. I'm not sure I'll get that far this Monday afternoon, but I do understand this illness as a message.
Rest is a beast I struggle to master, and while my students teach me to be smarter, stronger, cooler, and wiser, I try to collect their lessons and my own and watch as they come out of my mouth while I'm teaching. Sadie asked us in this conference: if you could write a message in the sky, and everyone in the world would read it and really think about it, what would the message be? It's a good question, and I think for many of us the answer would be a lesson we had to learn the hard way. My message would be: "Think for yourself." And it takes stopping, sometimes, in the middle of the mad flow of life in this world to do that, and look at what you are doing and judge whether it aligns with who you really are. And when you stop, everytime you stop, you have the chance to start again. Starting again is an adventure everytime, but maybe then so is the stopping.