The cool thing about the mentor group is that there are no set meetings times- the classroom is open 24/7 and the lessons are posted so you can watch them at your convenience, post about them and we have a great online forum to discuss, clarify and grow together. And the classroom stays open for 3 months after the group ends so you can access the lessons and teachings if you fall behind, etc. Anyway- let me know if you want info about that. It's gonna be great. Also, there is a PDF on my website under Teacher Development you can download to learn more.
The other thing I worked on was some marketing materials for the programs in Corpus Christi, TX with Manorama. She will come three times- to present on Luminous Shabda (Intro to Sanksrit), The Bhagavad Gita and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Come for one weekend or come for three. If you want to dive deeper into some of the most profound traditional teachings of yoga, these weekends are for you. Seriously, it will be way worth the drive or flight to Corpus.
I am enjoying my time here in Lavonia, Georgia. It is very beautiful and relaxing, although it feels as hot and humid as Texas. Like I said, I spent a lot of time today on the computer-other than a few hours to do some hip openers and forward bends which felt really great after our back bend practice yesterday in Athens. I am enjoying having a few days of down time in the midst of my busy schedule and having some time to get some things done on the computer is down right luxurious.
Dad and I were having an interesting talk tonight about inner changes and outer changes and how many times one affects the other. Mom and Dad are really in the midst of closing down a big chapter in their life- life in Lavonia, Georgia- and moving even more fully into their life in Austin. I think the closing down of a house makes for a natural time of reflection and review. We got into an interesting discussion of our life stories and about what happened, what didn't happen and what we wished had been different and so forth. One thing I have been feeling a lot lately is how, even though there were, and still are. challenges in my life, I do not have a lurking feeling or wish anymore that it had been different in some way. I used to feel that way, though. Often.
I used to wish I had a different childhood, a different personality, a different body, a different- well, you name it. But lately--maybe it's the therapy or maybe it's just turning 40- but lately, somehow, the perfection of all that happened and all that did not happen is all just so stunning. I think teaching has healed me in this way. I think writing has also been part of it. I think having a tangible way to make use of my experiences has been huge.
I think this is so important for all of us to remember. I mean really, saints are pretty inspiring to some people but to me, the part of their story that is most inspiring is not the times when they felt totally connected to the mystical Heart of Reality. More often than not, I am inspired by the stories of their doubt, their struggle, their gut-wrenching, heart-breaking attempts to live up to their vision and to stay in place while they were in the dark night of the soul. I mean, really, when I am hurting, I rarely go to my saintly friends. I generally check in with those people who have shared with me their struggles and failures because I know they will, at the very least, be understanding and compassionate. And I really do not think our best gift to one another is our perfection anyway. I think the best gift we can offer each other is humble understanding and sincere compassion.
A few years ago, a biography came out about Mother Theresa that exposed her doubts and it was a really scandalous thing in some circles. I read a fair amount of the critiques that suggested she was less saintly somehow because she had such doubt. I think people missed the point with such criticism. The point, in my opinion, was that she stayed in place in the face of doubt. That alone makes her a saint in my mind. I mean, it's no big feat to do what she did if she was "feeling it" all the time. But think about what a True and Real sacrifice and teaching her life was if, like this book suggested, she was not "feeling it" much at all for many years and she still did her Work.
So often people I know feel like they have to be perfect or finished or evolved in order to be of service or in order to teach yoga. I do not think that at all. I think it helps to have some of the big stuff out of the way but seriously, we are who we are and sincerity and honesty is generally as inspiring as anything else. For instance, I remember way back in college when I was first going to 12-step meetings for compulsive overeating. At the first meeting I went to there was a woman who shared that she had wanted to binge-eat that day and she didn't do it. I asked that woman to sponsor me that night. I didn't relate to the woman in the group who said, "I never want to overeat ever." That was way too hard for me to imagine. I actually needed a different kind of help. I needed to know how in the world I might be able to NOT binge if I really wanted to. Up until that moment it never occurred to me that there was another option besides wanting to and doing it. So it was not her "perfect recovery" or "overcoming the thing entirely" that appealed to me. It was through the grittier reality of her real life struggles that she served me.
So- there is certainly more that could be said on the topic but this is already long enough. One thing I do not believe in is some perfected, final state. I really don't. I think many people realize something Essential about Life and a rare few stay anchored in that understanding but still, they have a life to live full of challenges, responsibilities and growth nonetheless. I believe, samadhi or not, that is the Way of Things. Seriously, this thing called Grace is a moving stream and it will carry us in its currents, around blind corners, over rough rapids, into various eddies and sometimes stagnant pools. There really is no way or reason, as I see it, to get out of the river. Best that we learn how to paddle.