Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Questions That Should Not Go Away by David Whyte

Part nine of ten. 

I think this one is especially good.  I've re-named it in my mind: Can I live without fear?  It's not so much can I be courageous, but can I live without the fear that holds me back?  Without the fear of always questioning the ramifications of my actions?  Either way, courage or lack of fear, a most powerful question.  

9) Can I live a courageous life?
If you look at the root of the word "courage," it doesn't mean running under the machine-gun bullets of the enemy, wearing a Sylvester Stallone headband, with glistening biceps and bandoliers of ammunition around one's neck. The word "courage" comes from the old French word coeur meaning "heart." So "courage" is the measure of your heartfelt participation in the world.

Human beings are constantly trying to take courageous paths in their lives: in their marriages, in their relationships, in their work and with themselves. But the human way is to hope that there's a way to take that courageous step—without having one's heart broken. And it's my contention that there is no sincere path a human being can take without breaking his or her heart.

There is no marriage, no matter how happy, that won't at times find you wanting and break your heart. In raising a family, there is no way to be a good mother or father without a child breaking that parental heart. In a good job, a good vocation, if we are sincere about our contribution, our work will always find us wanting at times. In an individual life, if we are sincere about examining our own integrity, we should, if we are really serious, at times, be existentially disappointed with ourselves.

So it can be a lovely, merciful thing to think, "Actually, there is no path I can take without having my heart broken, so why not get on with it and stop wanting these extra-special circumstances which stop me from doing something courageous?"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh! The embarrassment!

Oh! The embarrassment!  You've just run into your yoga instructor (who does know you by name) at the local coffee shop.  Greetings are exchanged and s/he exclaims that they've missed seeing you in class.  You stammer out an explanation as to why you haven't been around for [insert time period here] and promise you'll be back soon.  You hastily add that it's been good to see them, and flee with your iced mocha latte.

Sound familiar? 

As both an instructor and a student, I see both sides of this dance.  As a student, I know how difficult it can be to balance work, family, evening events for the kids, home, pets, and, well, life in general.  As adults, our time is frequently not our own. 

As an instructor, I've made a committment to be at class to the best of  my abilities.  I'm holding the space and opportunity for the students.  I think I'm unusual as a yoga instructor - I do work a full time non-yoga job.  It is not unusual that I have to find a sub for my noon classes due to a work conflict.  I have only so much control over meeting schedules and locations.  (I HEART my subs very much!)  But! My current instructing schedule has been the same for the last 3 1/2 years.  Pretty good, eh? 

What I want to emphasize here is, when you run into your instructor out and about town, don't be flustered or embarassed because you've been missing!  A good instructor, the one who knows you, will understand and accept where you are coming from or going to.  When I see someone from class, I'm just happy to see that they appear to be well.  They will either come back to class, or they won't, and either way is lovely.

So please, don't be embarassed when you run into your yoga instructor, or any other instructor for that matter. Come back to class when you can! It will be lovely to see you again.