Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hard day, good lesson - GYT day 6

What was it I said about enjoying the things in life that are deceptively difficult? Sometimes I think I am alone in that thinking. I’ll come back to that…

I had considered canceling the remainder of the tour when I got the news about my father-in-law but decided to keep going through the final days, hoping that teaching would be the medicine I needed during this sad time. Like all medicine, there are sometimes side effects and the first dose is usually the hardest to swallow. This evening was a challenging for me. Initially it felt like outer forces were against me; my train from Münster to Düsseldorf kept getting later and later, and moving slower and slower. That is the kind of situation where I start to get CRAZY. It’s out my control but I can’t let it go. Not a good start. I made it to the studio with more than enough time to let the train experience drift away. However, I arrived to find out that the attendance for the evening was to be significantly smaller. Why? Many people were sore from 54 rounds of surya namaskar. That is not completely strange. Simple movements repeated several times with real attention paid to every moment is certainly intense, and if someone is used to glossing over their movements and not really being present in the practice then the body will feel it. When I have that feeling, all I want to do is move. The movement, like teaching, is powerful medicine. Again, maybe I’m alone on that one. Those who weren’t sore (or maybe they were) had, for some reason, expected that there would be something other than surya namaskar the first night. Some big flowing vinyasa, perhaps. (insert head scratching) That’s curious when the title of the master class is In The Sunshine: A Salutation to the Source. So there had been a desire to really move and flow. Great. This was the plan for the second night. I love when a plan comes together. (insert the sound of tires screeching to a hault) I applaud the desire to do something, but a creative flow was simply not possible. And that’s fine. We all start somewhere, and in that starting place we often have big dreams that are beyond us. Also fine. However, in my mental and emotional state I needed to maintain some semblance of what I’d hoped to share. So a lot of the plan was there but a lot got dropped too. The difficult part of the evening for me was that there was disappointment expressed that we did exactly what we were meant to do the first night. And then when that wish was fulfilled for the second night, it was beyond the wisher’s ability. It was frustrating and challenging because this was time when I could have been with my grieving family.

That being said, it was a great learning experience for me. I went there thinking that the community would be similar to the one at the Couch in ability and curiosity and hunger and spirit. The first night was more straight forward, and so it wasn’t possible to see that this is not exactly the case. And the actual similarities or lack there of, are in consequential. The situation was a product created completely by me and my mind. So the second night was jarring. But it was a chance to remember that every teaching situation has to be a blank canvas, and that the colors on the palette have to be chosen in the moment, not before. It took me back to something I have said to YS students and mentees more times than I care to count: “pretend we’ve never heard of these things you’re talking about, and teach them that way.” In the end, every teaching experience is an offering. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So, it’s gone. I left with no hard feelings or ill will. I got to be the student for a couple hours, seeing my miscalculations and emotions, and noticing the dance of my mind around those things.

Moving on, upward and inward.

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