My name is Keri and I am a yoga teacher. I am perfect and I do not have a care in the world. Yes, that’s right. It probably appears I have no problems, fears, or worries, that I have reached enlightenment. I mean, why else would someone become a yoga teacher, or any kind of teacher for that matter if they don’t have “it all” figured out? And because I have achieved enlightenment, I can teach others all the wisdom I have acquired over my years of practicing yoga and practicing this thing called life. I know I sound older than I actually am. The truth is, I’ve only been practicing life for three glorious decades now…and what a ride it’s been. Now, as well as sharing my brilliant insights into this carefree world I’ve created, my laughter comes easy and my days are filled with sunshine and rainbows because all I know is happiness, peace, and contentment. I am problem-less and therefore, I can NOW teach you how to erase all your fears and worries.
Unfortunately, there is one problem.
This. Is. False.
What is Enlightenment anyway? According to the Buddhism, and Dictionary.com, Bodhisattva or enlightenment is the awakening to ultimate truth by which man is freed from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/enlightenment) “Personal reincarnations?” What the hell…
Again, the previous statement referring to “yoga perfection” is false. I have skeletons in my closet and baggage I am desperately trying to lose. I have scars too and some run deeper than others. Perhaps my Ego has created all of this, but they affect me nonetheless.
They even paid me a visit this week. Without any warning or sign, my insecurities, my worries and fear turned into anxiety creeping back, seeing if they still had a key that can unlock my Spirit. The “should haves” and the “could haves” sneaked up quietly, and like a surprise attack, I feel confused and frustrated with the outcome. So, what’s the outcome you ask? It is this – I am writing. I am looking for a release. I feel tired this week. I feel unmotivated and confused about my path. I feel less inspired than usual. I feel sad… and all for not much of a reason.
Turns out, I am not a perfect, problem-less yoga teacher.
I am imperfect.
Now, just to be clear, no one has actually ever said to me: “Keri, you are a perfect yoga teacher with little to no fears or worries in this life. You must live the happiest life ever.” No, no… nobody has said this outright, but I think there is a stigma attached to a person who inspires and heals others for a living. I also do this kind of healing in my full-time day job. I work hard to support and provide comfort for my wonderful, amazing and “full of baggage” students and their families. There was a time in my life when I saw my own yoga teachers, my mentors, as incredible humans with not a care in the world and thought they had all the answers for Life’s challenges. It wasn’t until I started teaching yoga myself that I soon realized I was right, but yet also wrong. I was right in thinking that they ARE incredible humans, but my old mentors and teachers are certainly not incredible and amazing human beings with absolutely no insecurities or fear or worries. They ARE perfect and heroic and inspiring, but that is because of their own wounds and scars. That is because of the journey they have traveled; because of the path less traveled that they CHOSE to walk. I admire them more than they will probably ever know. All the moments they showed strength and resilience and then all the moments they showed honest and raw weakness that exposed their own deep, deep wounds. To my teachers and mentors: if you are reading this. I love and respect you deeply.
A yoga student of mine once told me after class, that I had an incredible ability to heal. “My touch” she said “was so healing and beautiful.” Okay, I kind of believed her; but what was she thinking? How could I have possibly touched her with a healing power when at that time I was healing a very broken heart from my first ever break-up, and damn, my heart hurt like hell.
My scars are there and they sometimes feel more open and raw than I would prefer. My boss (from my day job) once told me that myself (including the amazing co-workers with whom I work along side) are all wounded warriors. We come to this position of working with such “challenged” boys and their “broken” families because we too have our own wounds needing to be healed. We have stories and we certainly have scars.
So, tonight, when I got off of work, I unrolled my old green yoga mat and stood in that Warrior Pose. If I am a “wounded warrior”, then tonight, that is exactly what I will be. I stood in Warrior II until my legs shook and my arms burned, as my favorite Beatles song played in my head over and over.
“And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me.
Shine until tomorrow, let it be” – The Beatles
Oh yeah, my light is still bright and brilliant. So, I stood still and let it all just be.
Earlier in the day, I was perusing the internet and I fell upon an excerpt from one of my favorite people I have ever met. A yogi who is near and dear to my heart. She speaks wise and brave words that are conveyed without filter, and most importantly, without fear. “This is the year of looking our fears square in the eye without running away. This is a moment of no escape. It’s time you step into the fire. Sit with your fears. Feel the pain. Let it pin you to the wall but not paralyze you. Let it break you open but not into pieces. Let it shake your ground but not your core. The universe will never give us anything we are not ready to deal with.” – Rachel Brathen/Yoga Girl
Okay, Universe. I am listening. I am open.
So, back to Warrior II. I stood tall and strong and powerful. Because that is who I am. I am a perfectly wounded and perfectly complete yoga teacher with imperfections that I believe are irresistible and charming.
How lucky am I to be an imperfect, perfect yoga teacher.