So the weekend was fantastic. I made it to class on Saturday afternoon and it was so heart-warming to be in the midst of the gang and to see everyone so thoroughly enjoying a weekend with John Friend here in Austin, Texas. I realized I have been organizing my life around John Friend workshops for almost ten years now and it was so fun to have one right here in town and to watch some of my most favorite and dedicated students meet him for the first time and get bit by the bug as well.
I almost didn't go because I was pretty weak, still nauseated a bit and feeling so fragile and then it hit me- I can just go as I am. And so I did. And it really was great. It was profoundly, transformatively great.
I have a certain psychological pattern- for all kinds of reasons- that basically inform me a lot of the time that who I am is not okay, that I need to be somehow different in order to be lovable. And the reason why I know it is a pattern is I observed it for so long now and seen the incredible brilliance of its many facets and manifestations. You can fill in any blank about how to be different, this pattern does not discriminate and seems to be able to make just about anything wrong and into something that I should go about changing or improving upon. For instance, depending on the day and the situation I find myself in, the pattern might tell me I should be thinner, more voluptuous, smarter, nicer, funnier (although that one is hard to imagine. I mean, really!) quieter, more understanding, less opinionated, more direct, less outspoken, more disciplined, less rigid, more educated, more successful, richer, more frugal, more conservative, more liberal, more natural, more manicured and so on it goes. I mean really, it is a kind of brutal thing to live with especially when I fall into believing that what it says is true as opposed to observing it as a pattern that does not need a lot of attention from me. (This is where meditation is a life-saver. We really can learn not to believe everything we think.)
You would think therapy would help with this. You might even think yoga would help with this. And, yes, I think they have except I have come to the startling revelation that for me, I just added all those therapeutic self-help standards to the list of things that I was or was not doing right and that I needed to change as well. And then yoga, talk about a list of do's and don't and things to fall short of and so on! My god, a perfectionist nightmare extraordinaire!
So I had a real insight with this this weekend as I was coming off of really being stressed and sick and feeling so overwhelmed and spun out for a lot of reasons. I had several talks with some long-time friends of mine which helped a lot (Love you, meg and rakini!). And I decided to just go and be with everyone I have come to know and love here and to see my teacher and also to see my teacher teach my students and so on. In that decision, something inside me really relaxed about a bunch of stuff that I had been putting pressure on myself about and that pattern just moved to the background and lost some of its urgency. What a blessing to just go as I am as opposed to go as I think I have to be.
So while I think therapy could help (and has helped.) And I think yoga could help (and has helped.) I think the only thing that really confronts these deep patterns of doubting our worth and lovable-ness is BEING LOVED. And to take it a step further to recognize that we are being loved. And for that, we really need each other. I mean we really do. Yes, we have to learn to love ourselves and all that. But if your particular pattern doesn't assert its ugly head when you are alone, then you are going to need it confronted in relationship. In the face of feeling "I am unlovable because of ____________" to have people love you because of it, in spite of it and so on is really the best medicine. It is the magic of the kula. It is the transformational path of relationship.
So, Saturday's class was super profound for me. I practiced in both the morning and the afternoon sessions on Sunday. I had a blast. I was still not really at 100% but I managed to do do a decent viparita chakrasana demo when John called on me. And the immense delight I felt in watching my students demo things so brilliantly and competently and shout out CHIT ANANDA when John asked something was priceless. I had so many inner shifts, to numerous to name here but well, I was as always reminded of what I love about being with John.
For me, it is not that John is a brilliant hatha yoga teacher although I personally think that he is. I can do things I never imagined being able to do from his help and his method. He is awesome at therapeutics and he is incredibly well-studied and well-versed in all kinds of yogic philosophy. But it is not that that has kept me following him around and dedicating a lot of my life to teaching this method of yoga. It is that without fail, when I am with John, I feel like anything is possible. I feel un-limited by the things that I often allow to limit me. I feel the passion for serving, for learning, for growing, for listening to the secret language of grace. Time and again, I have the direct experience of my own goodness. It is really that simple. The rest...well, details.