master teacher

Ying_Yang_Koi_by_who_stole_MY_nameSome realizations I’ve had while working with chronic pain.

1.  An ‘aha’ moment during the 21-day meditation series I’ve been doing:  Can you see whatever part of you is in pain as a dear friend, not as something that is ‘wrong’ or needs to be fixed, but as a part that deserves love and is there next to you on this journey?

2.  When you are in ongoing, daily pain, you are vulnerable, grasping at straws for teachers and healers. This is how people find the madman in the desert and become his disciple. This is how people punch in their credit card number in the middle of the night to buy the exorbitant, untested elixir that glows on the computer screen.  You hope that the teachers you find have integrity; you try to improve your barometer so that you can tell when they do not.

3.  “You have permission to create, to speak up, and stand up. You have permission to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable. You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help. No need to wait.” – Seth Godin

4.  After a session with a fellow yoga teacher who also guides Pilates:  “What would it be like not to do yoga for awhile? Maybe a month?” I remember a therapist who once asked me what it would be like not to write. I realize how much self-identity is wrapped up in yoga; how much daily habit of the body is involved. This awareness is my present yoga.

5.  Sitting on the floor of the studio of a longtime teacher, I talk about a polarity that resides in me. On one hand, a part that wants an Answer. She is seeking someone who can lay hands on this pain and make it better. She’s a very young part who wants to be taken care of, who wants to believe it can all be fixed, and she works opposite – yin/yang like – a more teenaged part who rolls her eyes and picks at her nails and shrugs, “There are no answers. No one is that good.”

My friend and teacher nods, her eyes kind with recognition. She reminds me that I’ve been doing this – this being yoga and meditation and movement and going inside to listen to my body/mind – for more than 20 years. “You are a master teacher,” she says simply. This undoes me. Part of me squirms, hoping that this is not true because if it is true then I can no longer seek the Wizard. If it is true, I am here with me. But firmly, my friend-teacher is telling me that I have the answers I need. Firmly, she offers me my Self.

6.  “It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.” – Wendell Barry.

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