It has been a busy few days full of some pretty fun stuff. One of the highlights for me came in last night's advanced class. Kim S. (after a fantastic foray into hanumanasa at 4:30, BTW) was in the advanced class and did a transition from eka hasta bhujasana to bakasana for the first time ever and shocked herself at what she did. She exclaimed something along the lines of "You amaze me, Christina!" (Which is always great to hear, I mean, I love to be amazing...don't we all? But I digress. Sort of.)
I looked back at her and said, "I amaze you?"
She said, "Well, you help me to be amazed by me and what I can do!"
And that is really the point. We practice a yoga of empowerment. We really do. Hopefully. As Anusara Yoga teachers we are not dedicated to being the amazing ones in the room when we teach. We are dedicated to pointing people in the direction of That Stream which reveals to each individual their own intrinsic amazing-ness. As teachers we are as good as we are able to point people there in a reliable way.
Years ago I was in a therapy training program and I was very disillusioned by it by the end of the two years I was involved. Very near to the graduation, while I had had many breakthroughs and insights and transformations along the way, I found myself staring at the dark underbelly of the organization, the facilitators personal shortcomings and so on. My mentor sat me down for a long talk and explained the nature of how transference and projections can work.
More or less, the guy told me: "You see, Christina, when we get started at all this we project our Gold outwards. For instance we think the process is amazing, the other people in the training are amazing, the trainers are fantastic and insightful in ways you never dreamed another person could be. All the things that are great about you, ie:your Gold, you see manifested externally in others. Simply put, you gave away your gold. You projected it outwards.
"But keep in mind, it is your Gold. You deserve, it is rightfully yours, and by now, of course you want it back. This is healthy. And it is the trickiest stage of all. It is as though you projected your Gold out onto an external screen just like a movie and now that you want your Gold back, you are tearing the screen down rather than just turning off the movie and simply taking your Gold back. In fact, you just recognize it has been yours all along."
It is hard to do sometimes, just turning off the movie and claiming what is great about us. I got this lesson in my early 20's and I have watched myself and many others go through this process with greater (and lesser) amounts of skill and grace for close to 20 more years now. I have been on both ends of the dynamic, projecting my Gold and becoming so disappointed when I see human fallibility and frailty and fault arise externally. I have been the movie screen for many and have been torn to shreds when another person rightfully wants their Gold back. Both sides are hard on both people. Truly, none of this "yoga of empowerment" stuff comes cheaply.
But what was so inspiring to me on Tuesday night was the skill and facility with which Kim claimed her Gold in the moment. She honored my offering and kept her Gold in the process. I think this might be way harder to do than that arm balance sequence she nailed. I could go on but it made me really think about the importance of Good Company and called me to ask myself if I am keeping the company, the help, the advice, guidance and feedback from those people who help me recognize my own amazing nature? Or am I around people and situations that reinforce the movie that says that greatness is scarce and limited and only one person can be great and amazing at a time? In what ways am I projecting my Gold and how might this Good Company help me turn off the movie and not rip down the screen?
So like that.