Wednesday 7 November 2012


    This week, I experienced discomfort and it was very good medicine!
    I went for dinner with a good friend and friends of hers, whom I'd never met before.
   As a yoga teacher, you come across many types of people everyday, which provides great practice for feeling comfortable amongst strangers. However, this evening I felt thrown out of my yoga bubble and into a world I forgot existed. I watched as I crawled into my socially awkward turtle shell where I stayed for the remainder of the evening.
     Back in the day this foreign world was not so foreign to me. I worked in foodie land for years before I lived, breathed and ate yoga; how quickly you forget! Although I faked my way through my wine knowledge (and oh so much more), serving still kept my brain tuned to society's current song, and I had a general idea of what was "in". It allowed me to see all walks of life, all with different tastes, moods, behaviours, sized wallets, styles, and manners.
     So there I sat in my hippie clothes, tripping out on the sparkles scattered upon the stunning woman around me, sipping expensive wine and eating beautifully presented food I couldn't even pronounce. The conversation skipped from one hip thing to the next and all I wanted to do was a handstand in the corner.    
       Thankfully, I actually had two moments of relief!
      One occurred when the elevator music morphed into a slightly more Indian sounding elevator jam, and I actually sprung out of my chair to Shazam that shit. I think I even announced to the table how amazing the song would be for Surya Namaskar. That was a proud moment.
     My second moment of relief came from a grounding conversation with our waiter. He was from India (thank GOD), so we talked about his homeland and the meaning of OM. When the girls wanted to be included in our banter, I jumped at the opportunity to explain the Universal vibration of OM. It started with enthusiasm and then I trailed off and off and off, until I was mumbling to myself and staring down at my Sunchoke Soup; they lost interest FAST!
   Cue yoga now! Where did my practice go? Where did all that work disappear to when I needed it the most? Why was I categorizing these woman, the restaurant, and myself?  I hadn't felt this out of place in a long time, and I honestly hadn't judged or compared myself to others like this since Performing Arts School (surprise surprise).
     Funny enough, I had to teach that evening so I left early, almost running back to my yoga bubble where everyone looked and talked like me. On route I meditated on what had just occurred...and without a doubt completely overanalyzed it, as yogis often do. I became quite grateful for the experience, because I discovered I rarely push my edges anymore.
     Risks allow you to take your blinders off. Even if you're convinced that you are an open person, we are only human; We are bound to categorize and judge. The more comfortable I become in my safe schedule, the deeper I slip into the illusion that everyone thinks and sees as I do. Being uncomfortable with a situation, a realization, or with the stirring of the pot is an incredible exercise. Its difficult to remain curious and interested in what seems separate from you, while still remaining supportive of yourself as your mind is being blasted wide open.
   However, this exercise will guarantee personal growth and learning. It will keep you from slipping into ignorance and to be honest I believe bliss can be found in discomfort.

My Discoveries

1) I wanted to run to my cozy yoga community to be told that I was the one in the right and in the light. I wanted comfort and familiarity. Don't look to external sources for instant validation. It's the easy way out and facing the "in house "boogie man is way more interesting.
2) If you feel like you're being judged or if you feel out of place, chances are it's because you are the one doing the judging.
3) Make it up differently. See uncomfortable situations as exciting opportunities to learn from.
4) Its good to be reminded of your insecurities. We'll probably always have them to varying degrees. These moments are humbling, especially when you've been feeling almighty. They reveal what you need to work on.
5) You are never too enlightened to learn lessons.

..."one should be completely satisfied with whatever situation arises and not look for entertainment from an external source."

" We are not afraid that smog and dust or people's hatreds and passions will overwhelm us; we simply open, completely surrender, give. This means that we do not judge, do not evaluate. If we attempt to judge or evaluate our experience, if we try to decide to what extent we should open, to what extent we should remain closed, then openness will have no meaning at all..."

" This is the selfless action of the bodhisattva (one who is awake). He is not self conscious; 'Am I making any mistakes?'; 'Am I being careful?'; 'To whom should I open?'. He never takes sides. The bodhisattva will, figuratively just lie like a corpse. Let people look at you and examine you. You are at their disposal. Such noble action, such complete action, action that does not contain any hypocrisy, any philosophical or religious judgement at all. That is why it is transcendental.... It is beautiful."

*** All quotes by, Chogyam Trungpa.