The Unknown, We Meet Again

I recently got laid off from my nanny job, which created stability in my life. At the same time, I found that I have been hiding behind this job, in other words, I have been using it to hold me back from my true path. From putting yoga as my number one priority and sharing that and all that I have to offer with the world. It has kept me in a bubble where I’m playing it safe, playing small. That cliche phrase comes to mind, everything happens for a reason and I believe stepping into my power is the reason.

I feel like I am being nudged to put more effort into what I do, yoga and energy work. To really step into that role I have visualized is foreign to me. It’s not something I do often, put myself out there for the world to judge, critique, and or admire/respect me. But there are a lot of different elements that come up when taking on this responsibility. Having the ability to be vulnerable is huge while incorporating self-compassion, neutrality, and last but not least having humility are some of the core elements that pop up while traversing through this unknown journey. That is currently my life.

Being vulnerable means that you have to put yourself out there regardless of what others think of you. Other peoples perspectives do not have a place when you are claiming your role in any area of your life. Keeping in mind that people will always have their own point of view but that should not affect your actions in moving forward. I am currently just starting to make more of a presence, all while feeling uncomfortable but still coming out on the other side. Like hey, everything is still ok, I’m still alive, thankfully those feelings don’t last forever. I keep telling myself that, the more I keep doing it, the less icky it will feel.

Self-compassion is another key quality to have on this journey. Knowing that failure is inevitable is something we should all come to peace with. I won’t always do what is best and what is right and as hard as I am on myself, creating that space where I don’t self-blame and begin the pity party. I can be one to dwell on things and hold on and this is giving me good practice to accept things I can not control. I am beginning to practice along with this receiving failure in a lighthearted manner, again it’s not easy but it brings me back to this game called Life we are here to play. Seeing life as a child, with an open mind, and not taking everything so seriously.

Being able to hold a space of neutrality is important and follows self-compassion. In order to be in a neutral headspace, we have to have some sense of self-compassion. That self-love creates a great foundation for being ok with the outcome. Self-compassion/self-love organically leads to being gentle with yourself and knowing that maybe sometimes our learning will take a couple of times until we can master a life skill and or lesson, and being neutral with the outcome. In this case, the outcome of putting yourself out there can only teach us how to refine our presentation. The idea of neutrality is being able to dissolve the expectations, being ok with whatever arises and having the humility to embrace a great outcome.

Humility is a great teacher. Have you ever noticed that you begin to slack off a little after receiving positive feedback/praise? Humility has a funny way of letting us know that’s not quite the case. I’m sure being in any field where you are around a lot of people exposes you to compliments and praise. But having the ability to receive compliments and at the same time not let them get to your head. The ego loves compliments and praise and this can be a slippery slope for some of us teachers to get stuck in, meanwhile closing off those compliments we don’t like BUT we do need to work on. I think humility sets everybody apart, just look at the different celebrities that are out there.

In one hand we are encouraged and prompted to put ourselves out there, to show our unique approach not only yoga but on anything we are passionate about and on the other hand, our responsibility is to navigate through this journey of integrity, love, compassion, vulnerability, confidence, softness, neutrality, and humility. We learn to create a healthy balance of it all. Welcoming the scary unknown and all of the elements that come with it.

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Responsibility What’s That

Before becoming a yoga instructor, I noticed how impactful teachers are and can be to others. What led me to yoga initially was the mindfulness and philosophy aspects and then it opened up to how my body could benefit from it. Back then I read a lot of self-help books that instilled developing a broader perspective and how life isn’t just a bunch of mistakes. I was drawn to the esoteric world at a very young age. I guess it is in part because I was exposed to it with my grandmother, who was in a sense a curandera. I remember she used to cure me of the evil eye with a raw egg, fan parsley over my body, and always have a home remedy for everything. As a child I used to get annoyed at all of the “crazy” things she used to do. Little did I know how much I would grow to love this about her. But yoga was always an action to me and I got turned off by teachers who pushed their views and ideas onto others. For me I focused on how they showed their yoga through actions, how they exhibited it.

As a yoga teacher, I now have a huge responsibility. When I teach, not only do I make sure I keep bodies safe, but I also have to make sure I don’t push my own views and ideas down peoples throats. Being a yoga teacher comes with a platform for which you are given to communicate the beauty and life of yoga BUT this platform can also get tricky. With this platform comes responsibility and humility. Unfortunately more often than not I feel that this platform gets abused. With the rise of social media and free advertising I’ve seen the ego being the forefront of yoga. The ease of followers like never before, doing just that, people out there following without questioning. Following every word, every routine, diet, and philosophy. I used to work at a yoga studio and I witnessed a lot of this. I saw how people quickly accepted everything that came from their teacher they admired and looked up to. Its understandable, you trust this person, you’ve learned a lot from this person and then suddenly your perspective starts to dim and embody someone else’s. Don’t get it twisted, I am not in the least excluding myself of this. I’ve slipped up in classes too, explaining philosophy can get sticky, teaching with conviction can come off as arrogant and so on. Becoming aware of this is key, almost like when teachers say, “Check your egos at the door”, teachers should do the same.

A big myth people hold true is that yoga teachers have it all together. One can even say, that it’s complicated as a teacher having the “I should’ve known better syndrome.” Yoga teachers are still human with judgments, ideals, perspectives, bad days, crappy attitudes, etc. As a yoga instructor I personally have a big problem with this ongoing urban legend. I am not enlightened, I experience struggles, and I make mistakes too. I want to proclaim this from the tops of the mountains and debunk the myth. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly with people. Life is an ebb and flow, we have highs and lows and I feel like authenticity is important. I feel like we need more of the real, raw, vulnerable aspects because people can relate to that. I try to be as authentic as I can and honestly even writing what “I” do bothers me because that’s not what this is about. This is my opinion, and its ok if others don’t have to agree.

At the end of the day my goal as a teacher is to provoke students to go within, to question everything, take that which resonates and make it your own experience.

 

 

No Means…

What does “No” mean to you? Most importantly, what does the word no mean to the person you are being intimate with. Ironically the word, sometime has little to no effect when used in the bedroom. People will push limits to see how far they can go, ignoring the word completely.

Its interesting how I still have conversations with people who have strong opinions about rape and or sexual allegations as a whole. These conversations prompted this blog post

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Whats constantly questioned is how the victim allowed the situation in the first place. I’d like to start off by saying, we all at one point or another make an initial decision. Initial decisions are influenced by emotions, hormones, ideas, standards, or even expectations. But at any given point, we have the right to change our mind and say “no” and or use body language which implies a no. The problem arises when our voices are not heard. Maybe when the word no is said, it sounds playful to the other person. However when the word no is said, the result should not fall on the victim. A lot is involved in this encounter and these situations often are judged, the victim is blamed because she didn’t fight or use other tactics to enforce her words. But what is the point of our words if we are not heard? And from a young age little girls are told not to fight back, and be a lady. Body language plays a big role as well, the body shows when it’s closed off and vice versa. I believe that at any given moment anyone is allowed to change their mind. There are many different reasons why the victim may not have acted forcefully in the beginning. We all come from different socio-economic status, cultures, backgrounds, upbringing, and religions. Which means, some people were raised to speak up for themselves while others were not taught to assert their rights and instead were forced to ignore. Some grew up with people not listening to them and have gotten used to such dismissal. Many factors are involved in this ever so controversial interaction, but the big idea is if a person expresses denial in any form, there shouldn’t be a hesitation to stop.

I also dislike hearing people say things like, “well look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it”. Do you really think people ask to be dismissed, disrespected, hurt, mistreated, and undermined? Again I believe no matter the outfit, a woman has the right to wear whatever she pleases. A short dress, a bra, no bra, a v neck shirt, or whatever else she desires assuming the outfit is not hurting another. As women we experience so many double standards that keep us limited and are kept in old social ideals.

The word “no” is powerful, heavy, and important. How about instead of blaming the victims, we teach our children to speak up for themselves and let their voices be heard. It is more than ok for a little girl, lady, or woman to use her voice without being labeled bossy, controlling, emotional, unbalanced, rude, or uptight. Society has pushed these ideas upon us, which explains why so many females have quieted their voices and gotten used to being dismissed. In Malawi, Lilongwe they teach girls the power of consent in classrooms throughout the country. Simang’aliso Domoya teaches girls from ages 11-16 self-defense and self-empowerment classes. She has the girls repeat mantras like, “I am beautiful but I am powerful” and “Don’t touch me, respect my body”. Domoya teaches both verbal and physical self-defense in order to reduce sexual violence and assault but most importantly empowering them.

On the other hand, as teachers, parents, and or guardians we also can make an impact on teaching our boys, young adults consent. This goes both ways and at an early age, we can make an immense impact on how males interact with females. Teaching respect and boundaries early on and teaching our children the meaning of no can make a meaningful impact in our society. I hold an immense amount of respect for those gentlemen who do listen to the word no as they continue to make a difference in the world.

So why don’t we create a movement like this? Lets raise, guide, encourage the feminine development. Rise up and speak out even if people judge you. The more we all speak our truth the easier it is for everyone to get used to. Get used to what? Get used to women having a voice no matter what. As you can see, there were many aspects discussed in this one blog. From sexual violence, consent, culture, upbringing, socio economic status, and feminism. Experiencing any lack of consent, changes you as an individual. It takes away your power and changes the way you view yourself. As a woman who has gone through lack of consent, I went through the 5 stages of grief. I didn’t tell anyone because of all of the stigma that is attached to the word. I didn’t even label it until a decade later. I learned through guidance and therapy to reclaim my power and fully accept what happened. As the #MeToo movement unfolded I started to realize how much this was happening to so many people around me. As women we hold the power and I believe we need to know this as young children so that we know how to express it later on in life. Women empowerment is big and in your face now, I want to help keep it going. Lets see more Serena Williams out there and reclaim the Devine feminine power.

Atypical

Isn’t it funny how when we greet people, we say, “Hi how are you?” But rarely do we want to know, how they really are. The response we want to hear back is the typical, “Good, how are you?” We want to keep it moving and get to where we want to go. In other words I’m just being nice and saying hi without much regard to really trying to understand what you may be going through at this moment. I won’t say that I’m void of this type of interaction because I would be lying if I did. Most days I can barely keep up with my own emotions, circumstances, and stories to take on someone else’s. But what happens when you get the truth? When the person is honest, and opens up to you about how they really are feeling.  I’ve noticed that people don’t know how to react, it gets awkward and nobody knows what to do or say or you get the complete opposite. The person answers back disregarding all of your feelings. This happens to me often, sometimes I am in over my head with my current situation, I feel like if someone else asks me how I am doing I can’t look at them with a straight face and feed them the, “I’m good” lie. Unfortunately even when feeling safe with someone it doesn’t mean that person is ready to hear your story. Its really hard to understand feelings and or experiences, everybody feels their emotions and experiences differently, the way I feel can be so foreign to the way you feel. I realize how uncomfortable people become when you are open and honest. I often think of the sketch from The Chappell Show, that is called, “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”. It showed Dave Chappell in situations without any filters. The social filters we place everyday so that we can present ourselves as a “typical person”, when in reality we are far from that. Most people don’t know how to respond to another human going through struggles. When I share, I almost feel a hit of regret, oh no, I’ve shared too much. When I share I guess I seek understanding for who I am, I know I am confusing, and its more of an explanation to why I am the way I am. I know sometimes I say things that don’t make sense and I forget a lot of things, but by opening up I also seek a deeper connection. I know at the core there is no need to explain myself and I am who I am but something inside me wants to. I want to show my vulnerabilities so that we can connect on a deeper level and you can share yours with me. I like to go straight into it and cut to the chase in a sense. I know we are all people, we all struggle, love, laugh, get angry, sad and so on. I like the raw version of people.

Because I am still purging, accepting, and healing my near death experience (I suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was 16 years old.) I struggle to relate and connect with others. Often times I feel like a little alien roaming the streets. Even though the accident was many years ago it is apart of my existence. It turned my world upside down, I process life in a totally different way. starseedsIronically, I crave a connection but find myself retracting socially all together because of my struggle to relate. I am noticing that when people don’t reciprocate the same advanced intimacy as mine, I get bored and I lose interest. I don’t do well with surface talk, I want to connect on a deeper level. The brain injury affected my social filters, which explains why I am confusing at times, say things out of order, or easily forget things. This all makes socializing and communicating interesting for me, thus making connecting a task. Most often than not, I retract because its easier. I don’t have to work it all before speaking, its kind of a task to when communicating. Other times I just go for it and take the plunge. I feel out the energy and if it feels safe and accepting, I continue but if its the opposite I take it personal. What I am learning the most is that not everybody will align with me, the craziness, the rawness, the weirdness and thats ok. Learning to love myself each day is a continuous practice, its easy to place blame on oneself but the more you accept the person you are nothing else matters. You see what don’ts align with you just as that. We are all on a different path, some may cross and some may not want to and again that is perfectly ok.