I wrote this piece for Blue Osa Retreats in Costa Rica in 2014:
Today I am contemplating what it means to be a student. I've been teaching yoga for about ten years now, and I still feel I know very little. I feel so blessed to have chosen a career that continues to bring me the gift of growth and transformation. It's a never-ending always growing, and an always learning experience. For the most part I've always seen myself on this journey, clothed in the fabric of being a student. No matter how long I've taught. This way, as teachers or humans on this planet, we are open. We are open to receive. To receive more and more of what life has to offer, more lessons, discoveries, wisdom, and intuition.
Yes, there are days where my ego runs the show, and I would sit in a circle with my spiritual teacher, assisting him. A class I've taken at least 12 times in the past three years. And I would find myself sitting in resistance, showing up reluctantly. I'm there physically, but my energy is somewhere else. “What else can this man teach me about this class,” I would ask myself.
As you know, each experience is uniquely and different. Just like each yoga pose. Every downdog is new. YOU are new and different every day, so your relationship with this pose is difference each time. You're receiving it differently. Your body and breath is different day in and day out. Each new breath creates a unique never before experience, if you allow yourself to quiet and notice it. So even when we repeat things in life, you must ask yourself, are you truly repeating? From the outside things might look the same, and on the inside it is profoundly different.
Inquire within yourself! Study yourself. Your energy! Watch. Notice. Feel.
So I've learnt, showing up in lots of resistance, keeps the heart closed, blocking anything from coming in. We must believe that the work we are doing, studying, and receiving... is going to heal us, educate us, and enhance our lives, otherwise it won't! It's that simple. For all the times I sat in that circle, closed of, I didn't fully exchange with the content of that training. And so the healing I received was about 50% of the 100% available to me. There is always a constant flow of energy, wisdom and healing flowing towards us. Are you willing to open to it?
Are you willing to remember you are a student, and can be open to more information flowing your way?
The past few months has brought on a big shift for myself in how I feel on the inside. I went from being a teacher, feeling strong, sitting in the space of authority, to feeling a lot smaller. Having a desire to take a backseat and be a student is strong again. A student in the sense of how I felt when I taught my first class, this eight years ago. That age old anxiety, of feeling small is back. It's an interesting thing as I know I am too big to be small. LOL. And so I must simply learn to stand tall in the space of being the teacher I am, while having feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.
I have to permit myself to have both these energies residing inside me. And remember this simple truth. Life is meant to be experienced. Not perfected. We are never going to arrive at a place where we are completely whole, perfect, or have all the answers.
I learn. I teach. I heal. I teach. I study. I teach. I grow. I teach.
It's a never ending circle, that spins us round and round. We are up, then we are down, up, down...
So perhaps we can give our minds less space to judge our evolution as a teacher, and allow our hearts to stay open, even in the face of these inner judgements. Just love the hell out of the judgements. I feel honored to call myself a teacher, and I'll give myself the title of being a student of life.