So-- I am in Seattle and just read that the forecasted high temp is 68! Tomorrow a high of 59! Well, I am certainly not in Maryland or in Texas anymore. Wow. And another thing you just gotta love about Seattle is that the coffee in the hotel lobby is excellent- rich, full-bodied, tasty and strong. Yum. (yes, for the most part I drink tea but when in Seattle...)
Denise picked me up last night and we had such a fun time reconnecting. I am so happy to be here with her. Denise is not only the owner and director of Seattle Yoga Arts she is one of the first certified teachers and the co-chair of the Ansuara Yoga Certification Assessment Committee. She is one of my heroes and inspirations, kinda like Suzie. She has a deep commitment to yoga, meditation and self-inquiry and has served her community for many years. Denise is not only funny, smart and creative, she is compassionate, insightful and honest. Spending time with her is super fun and always expansive and she has been a great source of personal support to me over the last few years. I am psyched to be here and we have a wonderful turn out for the workshop which is great.
I have been off the grid a bit the last few days with a sinus infection. It was not terribly bad- I caught if before it truly put down roots- and I have been resting and sleeping a ton. I really needed the rest and the down time gave me a chance to reflect and examine some of my intentions and goals. I got a chance to honestly review what I love about my life right now and what parts have been "pricking me" gently from just underneath the surface of awareness. Perhaps you know that feeling- a subtle nudge from within that can actually be easily ignored, explained or justified and yet does remain somewhat persistent and tends to get louder and more symptomatic when not addressed? (If you do not know it, start being on the lookout for it- this is your intuition and inner guide talking to you!)
I have had that little nudge lately about work and travel and how I want to organize my schedule and use my time, energy and knowledge. A few nights ago, it all kind of came together for me and I have the seeds of a great vision and plan now. Nothing major will change on the outside of my life for a while but I have some plans to offer some specialized trainings and seminars and to reinvent The San Marcos School of Yoga (the studio space that I own south of Texas) as a training center that I can work from regularly. I still want to travel and teach- that is part of what I love right now- but I am going to create a home base for myself (that is the part I do not like that I do not have) and offer some intensives and trainings for experienced practitioners, teachers and people wanting to go deeper into the practices in an intimate setting.
As l gave honest review to what I have and what I want and as I talked with Kelly about what he wants to do, it became clear that I totally love what I do AND I want to refine it and expand it. Where I would get stuck in "expanding my vision" was that I do not believe that bigger is by definition better. I think it can be better, but in the field of yoga I do not believe that it is always the case. So I realized I wanted bigger AND I wanted deeper and I wanted ways to do both.
Also super important to me is living a sane and wholesome life that is conducive to practice and deepening my sadhana and so I wanted to step into a paradigm of work that supports what is at the foundation of my teaching. I will put practice-based intensives into place and create retreat time and longer stretches of time home without work. So I have a vision and a plan. Stay tuned because it is going to be amazing. I actually have not been this excited about something in a long time.
I think that is the thing about vision and goals. So often people tell me they do not want to write goals because they feel like they would limit themselves. I think the process of review and inquiry involved in goal setting is what is important. The goals itself is not some rigid, set-in-stone- outside-imposition that limits our creative possibility. Over the last year I have been putting a lot of conscious intention into this process and I have found that just setting a goal or direction puts a valuable process into motion. As I work with a goal, I get information- either from the outside or from these inner pricks of intuition that tell me "refine more" -and then I do. Sometimes the goal changes from the information. Sometimes the pathway changes. Sometimes my mind changes. Its not about being rigid or perfect.
Its like in asana. We cannot refine a pose we cannot do. I am not of the belief that everything on the mat has to be perfect from the git-go. If I teach my beginners shoulder loop for the first time I am going to have to let go of kidney loop that day. The first time I teach them kidney loop I am not going to make them lift their chest fully or they will be stopped before they start. Its teaching 101- get the general form first, then infuse the actions, then refine further. Life, to me, is a lot like that. We set a course, we pay attention, we infuse our direction with as much skillful action and heart as we can and then, as we go along, we listen to inner and outer guidance and refine as we need to.
And like in asana, sometime, we can make a small shift while in the pose and radically affect the alignment and experience of the pose. Other times, we have to come out of the pose entirely and start all the way over. Life is like that. Sometimes a subtle shift changes everything. Sometimes, we have to scrap the situation entirely to get back on track. So, how this all looks can vary significantly.
I think there is such a cultural samskara around making mistakes that many of us get paralyzed before we even start. Or we don't set a goal for fear it is not the right one. So often I watch myself and others ask questions about living consciously that boil down to "How can I make the right choice and not make a mistake along the way?" Lee used to hate that kind of thing. He would say, (often at high volume) "Making mistakes is fine. Just don't make the same one repeatedly." He talked a lot about the childish psychology that lived behind "not making mistakes." The main point he said was that we need to realize that we made a mistake (or someone we love made a mistake) but we (or they) are not mistakes. That recognition and perspective can free us up a lot and free up our relationships a lot.