I just returned from the Yoga Journal Live conference in NYC. This was something I was looking forward to for many months, and was one of those situations where the whole time there, I couldn’t believe I was actually there.
Seeing so many yoga greats (up close) was a HUGE geek out moment for me, and I am at the point of my life where I proudly own my geeky nature after trying to squash it down for so long.
I am kind of lumbering and awkward and I laugh too loud and I spit when I talk. I am talkative and inquisitive and wear my vulnerability on my sleeve.
And I go to yoga conferences now and I cry when I see my favorite yogis in person.
OK – now that confession time is over, I will move on.
It was humbling as well as refreshing to go to yoga classes, seminars, and workshops and see that there are yoga instructors and long-time practitioners struggling with the same things I struggle with.
I am a bright-eyed newbie in this crazy chakra om shanti world trying to master a handstand just like the long term veteran next to me with gorgeous legs and 200 dollar kickass leggings.
That alone helped me ease into the conference since I don’t even practice this stuff with other people. I do my yoga thing alone, in my tiny yoga room, with my iPad streaming a class from the Gaia app or Cody app.
However, the thing that REALLY knocked me on my ass (besides bakasana) was this one presenter who I was not expecting to wake me up and reflect on something other than tightening my core a little better.
When I was choosing which classes I wanted to take at the conference, I literally based my classes on whether or not there was a DJ playing music for the class (I have never experienced yoga to live DJ music and was looking forward to that the most). The classes themselves were almost icing on the cake. I simply wanted to rock my downdog to crazy mixed up chanting and Milky Chance rifts. And… I got my wish.
But then I met this wonderfully stunning amazonian named Sadie Nardini. I never heard of her before (this world is still new to me – there are rockstars in every universe, aren’t there?) She is totally a rockstar with a huge blonde mohawk and pleather mesh leggings and tattoos and perfect makeup. I was intrigued by her. Not gonna lie. She appealed to my superficial aesthetic that I don’t think I will ever, ever lose.
But then she spoke. And I realized that she was more than a pretty woman who was good at yoga. She actually had something to say. And I actually was relaxed and seated and present enough to finally listen. She got through my white noise and my chatter.
She spoke about the internal dialogue we keep in our “basement.” The words that keep returning to us at the most inopportune times – when we are at our weakest, or when we may have the most potential for good change.
It is that same script over and over again that never goes away no matter what we change about ourselves. Our jobs – our partners – our bodies – our geographies. No matter where we go and what we do and where we take ourselves – we also take along the core of who we are and what we were taught to believe about ourselves. This core consists of all the stuff we were raised with and told about ourselves that we believed as true.
We can stuff those words down. We can try to drown them out with distractions. But those words are embedded into every experience. If we were raised believing we aren’t enough of SOMETHING – anything – no matter what that may be – those words will always follow us, repeating the lines again and again and again.
Sadie didn’t say anything new or different. Anyone who has studied psychology and the mind and the brain and behavioral patterns (raising hand) knows this information. But there is a difference between knowing information and then truly embracing wisdom.
This was wisdom I was never able to embrace before.
I knew it and knew it and overthought it and tried so hard to control and fix that knowledge and insert it like a flashdrive into my brain – like a program I could just download into myself and have at my fingertips.
But really, I didn’t.
Because anyone who has studied psychology and the mind and the brain and behavioral patterns (raising hand) knows that this is not how any of this works.
Not that I know what DOES work, but maybe knowing what doesn’t work anymore is a start.
I know those “words in my basement” never worked for me. And yet there they were – being recited over and over again. This script I am reading from is as well written as the script from Cop and a Half. And it is just as useful to me, only I don’t have Burt Reynolds reading any of the lines.
I have my father reading those lines.
I have my mother reading those lines.
This script my mother installed into my young developing brain, with her limited abilities and minimal understanding of herself, has been my ONLY guide through my growing up. My adolescence. My young adulthood. My relationships with other people. My schooling. My jobs. Pretty much every aspect of my life, there was that script.
And the writing SUCKS.
I should know – I am a writer. And I know what sucks out there and this script sucks BIG monkey chunks and I am fucking done with it.
But – chucking a script that sucks is kind of like chucking a map you can’t read anymore in the middle of a forest that you are still lost in. I can improvise and adlib but I know I run the risk of just sculpting those same words into different shapes.
So, I am trying to grab some blank pages for my basement.
I have the paper.
I have the pen.
But… I also have a wicked case of writer’s block.
So, now I need to rewrite this script with my own limited abilities and knowledge of who I am and what I am about and what will work for me.
But, knowing what doesn’t work is a good place to start, maybe.