I used to be very structured in my teaching and felt the need to stay in perfect form throughout my class. Teach from the foundation, explaining each point in the process, and don't leave anything out. And I love that I have the ability to teach in this way. That I can perhaps give those who live without structure, more structure. Those who need foundation , more foundation, because their heads are in the clouds and they simply can't access all their gifts and channel it into this life. Because they are not really 'here' earthed into reality.
Structure was a place I felt safe in for most my life. I learnt structure from the one I've been mostly exposed to in my life, my mom. Who else? Isn't that what we do? We look around, and adapt, grab things from life around us, suit up, and make it our own.
Our framework. Our environment is what we eventually embody. I looked up to her in many ways. Respected? Not sure. Feared maybe more true for me. And so it came with no surprise that I chose the exact imprint of that energy, in a mentor. Annie carpenter. If you would look up structure , effectiveness, and strive for perfection, you would find a picture of Annie. Having a dancing background and strict militant background, she used that same energy in her teachings.
So as much as some of it felt mean, strict, and scary, it also felt very familiar. Let me find another woman to tell me where I'm not perfect enough. How I need to change and become BETTER. And then the rejection would cause me to strive for an even stronger need for perfection in myself. And the more I desperately try and reach that end goal, it kept itself just out of my reach. Always in the future. And in the present, how I'm showing up, is just not going to cut it!
After 500 hours and 1 year of assisting her classes, I finally woke up one day, and said. Wow. I have officially became another identical Annie! I cloned myself. I became the one I thought I needed to be, to be happy. I sounded just like her. And in that moment I also realized that I don't like who I have become! That's interesting in a not so funny way! That sucks. After all that hard work. Trying to become THAT. 'That' didn't seem that appealing anymore. Now what?!
My goal and achievement just didn't feel so good on the inside. A new identity I just didn't fit into very well. I felt restricted. Deeply unsatisfied and just not ME. Giving up ME so I can fit into society has been a constant unconscious goal of mine.
After sitting in this new ME for a bit I knew something had to change... It was then that I stopped pre-plan my classes. And began to trust that if I don't have to have it all figured out, I won't actually die. Of course going to class with an empty mind, felt like dying. Seriously. When we let go of the illusion around control, the need to know, and the need to perfect, and you begin to empty out. It feels like you are losing control! Like you are loosing your mind. Matter of fact. You are!!
And to top that, I had to grasp at a whole new identity. Who am I? Who do I want to be? That is the million dollar question! I will have to take another shot at it. Re-create the one inside. Re-claim maybe a bette word?
I was determined that I want to learn what it means to trust myself! My own ability!! After many years, it was 4 at the time, of studying sequencing, working each one out, pose after pose, I got it down! That I can walk into a room, with an empty mind. And as I stood in front of that class, many eager eyes staring back at me. I would see a pose in my mind. And know. Ah! It's a backbend day. And so I would watch myself move through the darkness, the mystery, and see how each pose gets revealed to me, just in time, one after the other.
Without knowing where I'll be 2/3 poses down the line. And if I can fit it all in, in a one hour. Using all the elements around me, the illusion of time, music, pacing, reaction of students, or the lack of comprehension, or misalignment. There are many factors involved, that we as teachers have to be present with, and use as a creative journey for an hour. We dance through all that, and then to top that, move/teach without a clue on where this sequence and this class is going, even though a deeper part of me knew that the bigger 'I' knew exactly where I was going. TRUST is what I was learning then.
In the trust something else begins to move me. I surrender. It's not me anymore. With that I mean 'my mind' is far away. There is a flow, grace, and precision with which I move. Something far better than I can ever try to perfect or try to copy or 'remember' mentally. It's like I can feel where the class is at, and what they need next, and how long they need it for. And that is a deeper sense of timing, without staring at the clock.
And afterwards as I would walk out of the room, it felt like I was in a pure state of meditation. And in fact I was. If meditation is pure presence without the mind, then that was an hour of just that.
Then as I begin to gather myself, this my mind now, and trace back the steps of my class, I would see the most creative, smart, innovative sequence, breath, and all else. Now that was as close to perfection as one would get.
I am being guided. That is a truth I was learning then. I don't need 'to know' I just need to trust that in fact I already know!
I have always known.
Then the exhaustion of trying to remember a class mentally evaporates, and the excitement and creative force that guides me, fills me up till I feel literally high! Of course that feeling spills over onto my students. And hence the ability of creating and sharing a never-been-done-before class. I leave filled up and not depleted.
Depletion happens when my mind is super active, trying to remember a class, or stressing that I might forget.
Now I'm not saying structure is a bad thing or unnecessary. it's important. It's very important. When you have some form of structure, a space you feel safe in, you can surrender deep inside it, and start to flow...
A structure that perhaps is not an agenda from the mind, but something bigger. A connection with spirit. Let spirit hold the structure, so you then get to drop below the mind, and channel. The mystery and the darkness, the void is the fertile ground for 'birthing' your magic.
Do you dare to trust the mystery?
And your own abilities that live inside it?