Why is it we always wish we could be something we are not? Advertising is based on this simple fact. If you were richer, better looking, smarter, thinner, had better dishes. If you were all those things you would be a better person. Not true!!!
I too fall into this, I wish I could be... for me it is more about people. Things I admire. I have several friends or acquaintances who I really look up to and love. For me it is not the wanting of the material. I don't want a bigger house, a nicer car or better clothes. I'm not interested in tons of money (although that might be nice), a high powered job in a great office. For me it is the inside stuff. Some of my friends are so beautiful I sit back and think, why not me? Then I take a second look and say but that is me. If we recognize the light in others, the kindness, the love, the good stuff then that light we recognize must be in us too? If like attracts like, then those people that we befriend who are beautiful in and out must be like us too right? Then if we really start to believe it instead of wanting to be like them we can really learn to love ourselves.
I think we've put such a bad name on loving ourselves. Even myself. I have often started a sentence with - "I don't mean to blow my own horn but..." Why should pride sound like you are blowing your own horn? If there is something about yourself that you are proud of, something that you believe in why is that sometimes seen as conceit? If you say to a room full of your peers yes I know I'm good at this, the judgment is that you are full of yourself. Why? In a world where so many people wish they could be... when they are whatever it is, if they share it, they are often made to feel shame. Shame for pride? It just doesn't make sense. As long as your pride is humble it is OK but if your pride is gushing then not so much. The humble pride comes with an apology or you will be judged.
I have several friends who are amazing at what they do. One in particular. I know because I have been a client of hers. She goes above and beyond and still never feels like what she does is enough. She is amazing and I've told her over and over. She falls into that category of always wanting to be better, never feeling like it is enough. She is beautiful, smart, funny and extremely talented. What makes me sad is that she is not alone. There are so many people out there just like this. What make people wish they could be... Something happens early in our life where we are told we aren't good enough and this sticks. But why? No matter how many people tell you that you are amazing and beautiful it just never feels true. Even people who are told over and over still wish they could be...
If we can look into our hearts and start to love who we already are. If we can look at our successes and the things we are good at. If we can accept all the great things that we are. Would be be able to stop wishing we could be something else? Is this mind set so ingrained that we are unable to accept who we already are? Can we start standing up in front of our peers and say we are amazing at something without apologizing for it? Maybe with this start we can look at people and say yes, she/he is smart, funny, beautiful and all those things. Notice it and then notice those amazing qualities in yourself. Recognizing the light in others is the same light in you.
Namaste (the light within me recognizes the light within you),
Ha - made you look. I am most definately not having another baby. Well not in the literal sense. I have been thinking lately though that if I had of decided to have another child I would probably be embracing new motherhood again around this time. Instead I am creating something physical and it is taking time.
My studio and growth of a new expanded business has become like a new baby for me. I have created a business plan with a full 5 years for growth. It did remind me of the fantasies of being pregnant and wondering what each year might bring. The what will it look like, what will it feel like, will I be good at it. Many of the same fears that I experienced in anticipation of becoming a parent are the same things I am feeling as I prepare the studio.
The preparation of the room has been ongoing and one wonderful surprise after another. The furniture moved out, some given away some sold, some donated to charity. What an amazing feeling of cleansing that was. An amazing experience in non-attachment to things I have owned for however long. I practiced with joy as I cleared and it felt great. The next phase of the project was to peel off the baseboards. If this was not smooth I would have had to purchase new ones. The first one I pried off so easily and the other 15 sections all came off like butter. There were a few sections that needed some extra prying and a little more of my sweat but it was all so worth it. The next task now that the baseboards were off was to pull up the carpet. Who knows how long the carpet was there or what kind of shape the floors were underneath. I had budgeted a possible refinishing of the floors if needed. Well what a surprise, it felt like Christmas as I peeled back a section of the carpet. The floor beneath has been basically un-touched and they are perfect. The nails and staples from the carpeting and the under padding need to be removed but most of that will be covered up when I re-install the baseboards.
My next job will be to pain the space. This most of all reminds me of preparing to give birth. Will pregnant with each of my three children I have had to prepare a room. This is a task that I love and take great pride in. I love testing different paint colours on the wall. Seeing how they look in the day and at night. Finally falling in love with the perfect colour. I can't wait until I start putting the paint on the walls. I find painting therapeutic. The rise and fall of the roller, the brush skimming along the edges and of course following my breath as I work. Stepping back when it's all done and being proud of the great job you've just done. After that a door needs to be installed. That separation of momma and baby from the outside world. I envision spending plenty of time alone in my new space, away from anyone else, quiet, falling in love.
Once the preparation is done and my space is ready I will finally be able to fully give birth to my project. Starting slowly with classes on the week-ends and then moving to classes in the evening and one day classes during the day. Then hopefully in a few years a rented space of my own where this process can start all over again...
I hope to see you when she is born so I can introduce you to my new baby... we'll call her young4ever.
I do love that every year my family gathers and we have an amazing time. My aunt (our family matriarch) cooks enough stuffing to feel an army, her turkey is always massive and her candied carrots delicious! Among other delicacies that we all contribute to bringing. Our meal represents the true meaning of Thanksgiving, that being giving thanks to the end of the harvest season. Even with my cousin and I being the true gardeners in the family there is often home grown goodies in and amongst the bought and baked.
As much as I love our family gatherings it always makes me wonder why Thanksgiving is only celebrated once a year. I understand the true meaning behind thanksgiving but shouldn't this be celebrated every day? As our culture changes so should we. The majority of us are no longer farmers, needing to give thanks to god for a grand harvest. The majority of us live in over the top housing and buy our food at the grocery store. We don't often think about where our food comes from. Whether it be from a local farmer or a hot house or another country with opposite seasons to us. We should be thankful that each day we have food on our plates.
Thanksgiving should be a question that we ask ourselves every day. For a long time I was in the practice every evening of being thankful or grateful for the little things in my life. A practice that I enjoyed and made me feel really good. One that I think I need to reinstate. I would be thankful for the roof over my head, my amazing family and children, loving what I do and if anything else was special I would give thanks to that as well.
So today and every day I will say thanks. I am thankful still for such an amazing family, a wonderful home, good food to eat that nourishes my body, my yoga practice and I am thankful to be alive. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving day and every day?
As a yoga teacher I would say that a big part of my job is reading my students. For example if you walk into a room and everyone is buzzing with chatter and acting very excited and you are about to teach gentle yoga, you might want to bring them down a notch. The other is often true if you are about to teach a power class and the group seems to be needing a more gentle practice a teacher needs to be able to adapt to that.
I teach a gentle class on Wednesday nights and it is just that. They sometimes arrive and are all a flutter, chatting noisily and not even realizing that I am in the room. I have on occasion had to yell out to them that we are ready to start. I don't normally like this approach but I can only sit still waiting for so long. They still seem fidgety after a small philosophy teaching so I will sometimes have them lay down on their mats. The simple act of laying in a resting position and allowing them to notice their breath and center themselves always does the trick. They sit up from the mini sivasana and are ready to practice. The puppy mind slowly calmed, the breath acknowledge and the body ready to move.
I am very fortunate to substitute classes. This is something that some teachers don't really like to do. I love it. I walk into a room and get to teach about change and about finding teachers that are different. Exploring what you like or don't like about a specific teacher or teaching style. I am able to rise above the disappointed look on students faces when an unfamiliar teacher shows up. I too have been that student, expecting something and getting something else. It is a life experience that happens all the time, one that is hard to accept. Nothing is permanent and everything is changing.
This week-end I was fortunate enough this week-end to sub two back to back classes for a teacher that I highly respect. I always love to teach at Rama Lotus as well. My first class was a prenatal class. I thrive teaching prenatal it's what I know best and I know that I am good at it. I normally teach for the city and classes are only an hour. The nice thing about being in a studio is I have that full hour and a half. Allowing students to fully experience a practice and a nice long sivasana at the end. I had one woman at the end tell me that she was not pregnant but was trying to become pregnant. That she really enjoyed my class and was hoping that coming to prenatal yoga would be just the trick to help her out. I acknowledge this and told her that she was setting such a wonderful intention for her body and her baby. I've had women tell me that my yoga class was exactly what they needed to prepare for childbirth. I love to hear that they find what they need and can use these tools in everyday life, being that birth is part of the every day.
My second class was a beginner class. You have to be careful with beginners. I've heard many people say that they tried yoga once but didn't go back because it was too hard or too spiritual or they felt out of place. I honestly believe that yoga is for everyone. I tell my students that I am the optional teacher in that everything in my class is optional. If they don't want to do what I'm doing, sit, stand,lay down, go into child's pose or any other posture you like - as long as you're breathing it doesn't matter. I am also huge on trying to help new students establish a home practice. This is whether or not they are my own students or a class I am subbing for. I will often break down a sun salutation and show them how that can become a home practice and it's not a lot to remember. I tell them that a home practice doesn't have to be a luxurious hour and a half and if all they have is 5 minutes to practice, 5 minutes to sit an breathe, that it counts! If they have the 5 minutes they should take it. Waiting for a pot to boil... do a few half sun salutes in your kitchen. Most seem to smile and I don't know if any of them do it but at least the seed has been planted. I like beginners to know that you can't screw it up. As long as you are breathing you are doing just fine. This type of class does not change whether I am subbing or teaching my own regular class.
It was after one of these classes that I was subbing this week-end that a student came up to me and said "it was like you knew exactly what I needed." I said to him that he gave himself what he needed and I was just a guide. Perhaps it was part of how I read people. I am able to see and feel what they need and if they are open to it they get it.
Go out there and get what you need. Ask for it from the universe. Whether it is the universe that is your teacher or a person like me
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.