Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shaped by Sparkling Gems

{flowers on the porch}

When I started practicing yoga, I knew immediately that I wanted to teach it. How I knew this, I am not entirely sure, but I think it had to do with my teachers. I saw something in them (a sense of calm, peace, wisdom, confidence, courage) that I too wanted in myself.

So without much hesitation, I signed up for the first training I came across, emptied my savings account, and headed up to Toronto, Canada for a whole summer. What I know now (and didn't know then) is that there are many, many, MANY styles of yoga out there. I blindly signed up for a yoga training and ridiculously, didn't even know what style of yoga I would be learning to teach. Even as I write this now, I feel a little embarrassed about how naive and silly it was of me to not know ahead of time.

But I was eager and I was young, excited and determined.

I arrived for my first day of the training and experienced, much to my surprise, my first Kundalini Yoga class.  I found myself in the class and in the training, learning and then learning to teach, chants and rapidly repeated movements called Kriyas that I had never done before.

Even though it wasn't what I had expected it to be (I'm slowly learning that this is usually the case with most experiences), I had some breakthroughs. I had some profound experiences. I came to better understand forgiveness. I cried, I cringed and I cut through a lot of old bullshit.

But I didn't finish the training.

I had completed 300 hours of the 400 required to graduate from the program, but I didn't finish. My heart had cracked open enough to know that I wasn't ready, that it wasn't the right time, place and fit.

For awhile I was really disappointed in myself. I felt like I was the kind of person who wouldn't or couldn't follow through on things. After a few more start and stop experiences, this feeling of being the kind of person who was unable to commit to anything, hung over me.  Sometimes, it still does.

Now, with time, distance and the perspective of being closer to where I want to be, I realize how valuable the experience really was, regardless of the fact that I didn't finish it. In fact, it was probably exactly what I needed at that point in time, nothing more, nothing less. All the crying, cringing and cutting were part of my shaping. Even the guilt I felt about not finishing had its place in guiding me to where I am now. It helped feed the fire that empowered me to try again with another teacher training when I was really ready, one which I did indeed finish!

I understand now that my experience (and so many life experiences that feel like stumbling blocks) was a stepping stone, just another sparkling gem to make my path more glittery.

How have your experiences shaped you? 
How does your relationship to them change when you see them as stepping stones vs. stumbling blocks?


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