"you realise you hit rock-bottom, when people are standing over you, to scrape you off the floor"
Hello my Possum-friends,
(warning, there is a fully opinionated rant coming your way!!!)
So here we are, six months into the Corona/Covid19 - madness, which to be very honest
is just the icing on a cake of global madness, that seems to be still rising,
despite it being "out of the oven" and in the open.
It seems the world is turning a bit too fast for my taste…
not turning, actually, but spinning on top of a pole, like a circus act,
and kept there with the continuous effort of opposing camps.
“It’s a matter of opinion” I hear a lot these days, or “I’m in a different camp”.
Yes, we are neck-deep in dualism and it seems the only thing we do is trying to push other heads completely under.
So, in true yogic spirit, let’s sum up the external & the internal world of the last few weeks:
I had my annual “political” rant on social media!
( I only allow myself one per year, ‘cause who has the time to deal with the back lash. Plus, I’m rarely that involved, staying away from current news & propaganda…
IF there is still a difference between these two in 2020).
I’m sure there is more to it, than I made it out to be.
People standing up out of their confusion & discontent with the current safety regulations.
But when you hear the “main” voices (like little Miss Femke Louise, YouTuber/self proclaimed Influencer) ranting some nonsense like ‘I have respect for Corona and those that lost loved ones’ but ‘something gotta change’ and ‘free the people’, without offering any ideas or solutions, it just seems like populistic pandering to me.
Does it make sense to close bars at 22h instead of midnight? I doubt it, especially when all guests leave together in one big group. Does a piece of fabric "that goes with your outfit" in front of your mouth protect you? Well, invest in the real thing, though any barrier is better than none. But to be "all mouth" in this country, where there is/was close to NO participation in the safety-regulations from the very beginning of the pandemic? Where so many (not all) happily stayed at home with pay and went on holiday to any country they damn well pleased this summer? Where at the testing facilities (considered you go to get tested because you either show symptoms or because you were in contact with somebody who tested positive), f.e. the RAI in Amsterdam NO ONE, who walks in wears a mask???? Most of us are struggling with the crisis one way or the other, some of us lost job and income, but the constant complaining about it all sounds to me just like a temper-tantrum of a privileged few. Especially in comparison to our European neighbours in Germany, Italy or the UK and the heavy rules they have to follow, let alone the rest of the world.
If you still want to read my short but “angry” response to it:
Was it skilful? Not in the slightest.
Was it kind or compassionate? I guess then I shouldn’t have used the word “wanker”.
Was it in accordance of who I want to be or reflective of what I wanted to say? Nope.
I heard screaming and I screamed back.
I felt like how I imagine an exasperated Mom of seven small kids who lost her patience (or her shit) for a second feels. But hey, what do we expect from a ”debate” on social media. How can you keep your feet dry while standing in the ocean?
See now why I do this only once a year?
Do I do the research? No, not really, because what is painfully obvious to me is that any “camp” or YouTube-voice can apparently find some “Doctor”, who will happily collaborate their specific opinion or point of view.
Especially in the Yoga-community (and I use the “c-word” here sarcastically) I find all these posts like “stop washing your hands, just take cold showers in the morning for your immun system” and I have no idea how to feel about this. Well, actually, I do:
when YOU say Yoga teacher you think of yourself in terms of “ambassador” and “influencer” (which requires it’s own entire blog or podcast), but for me the word ‘teacher’ means ‘educator’ and therefor should be approached with care and respect,
but ok, that’s neither here nor there for now.
So let’s talk about the internal world of yours truly, (ME, ME, ME) not the “yoga teacher”, but the person: These days I feel more anxious than a virgin at a prison rodeo.
I’m 14 months into not having one single week off teaching and I do feel that now.
Despite the fact that teaching is not a 9-5 job, energetically speaking its a marathon, especially for a slightly over-animated full-time teacher like me, not even counting the whole constant self-promotion and branding yourself and what not. This distinction is sometimes lost on my students or even friends, which I understand very well. When I was a professional dancer I always had people telling me “Oh, I love to dance”, meaning that it is hard for them to grasp that “something fun” for them, could actually be a professional job for someone else, coming with all kinds of problems, issues and aggregations, as any work usually does.
Despite my general proud motto that my spirit-animal is the “Duracell-bunny”,
and that I could keep going like this for yet another year (which is probably true),
I now had to come to the realisation, that by then I would be the completely "unbearable remnants" of a human being; having lost all my ‘Markiness’, that little obnoxious sparkle you came to appreciate over the years. Yes, I would still teach all my classes like a good little soldier, but I would be completely stuck in complaining and finger-pointing and general depression and unhappiness…
and who needs that from their “yoga teacher” who’s chosen brand is humour and joy!
Even MY ever-going battery has to be recharged. When a car’s battery is low its enough to do some extensive driving to recharge, but when its empty you DO need a starter cable.
Now, as lovely as it would be, there is no one else to blame but myself.
I shoulda/woulda/coulda have made the choice many moons ago to teach Yoga just on the side, as a lovely hobby. Rainbows and roses, unicorns dancing around the yoga mat, being free of the pressure of “having to teach” or of “having to teach a certain way” and not depending on the money to pay the obscene rent-prices of a city like Amsterdam.
But it isn’t anybody’s fault but my own that I don’t line up retreat after retreat or that I wont join the capitalistic wellness-trap of offering yet another yoga teacher training that the world doesn’t need (and believe you me, I have plenty to say to the blossoming yoga teacher).
No. It’s me alone. I'm not only complicit but at complete fault of my own situation and I do take responsibility for it now. I worked these last months too much to qualify for the government’s financial help during the crisis but I worked not enough to live off.
The great cosmic joke.
Maybe its because I’m not the brightest pin in the cushion. Maybe its because my parents taught me to work hard, shut my mouth and keep my head down. Maybe its because I have met and sat at the “lotus” feet of (in my opinion) TRUE teachers with 30 or 50 years of experience and see myself as not-knowing-enough?
Or maybe, just maybe there is a hard wired chip within me that says “How can you ask lots of money for teaching something so obvious and simple, so self-explanatory and most of all so personal and intimate in its experience?”
(while I myself still invest every year so much in further trainings…. )
Coming back to the image of the Duracell-bunny:
I guess, you realise you hit rock-bottom when enough people are standing around you, with figurative spatulas in hand, to scrape you off the floor.
I apparently didn’t know. I didn’t have the time to notice, because there was yet another email to answer and another video to be made.
And really, this is not another of my passive-aggressive poor-martyr-me posts. I swear.
Its just what it is right now… “see reality as it is”
I made now the decision to take a break from the Yoga school I’m working for and find some time to focus on what and how I want to continue, which apparently sent a little shock wave through the ether, with people thinking I’ll drown myself in the next available gracht of Amsterdam.
I jokingly said to a friend this week that if our students would know how very fucked up so many of us Yoga teachers are, nobody would ever step back into class.
But then again, I was always the first to admit that I have never taught from some exalted height, all wise and patient, but that I teach “out of the mud”, right beside the ones that struggle, in the trenches, working on myself the same as you are.
But all that work and introspective has to eventually lead to some action.
To admit that in a way I’m part of the problem I’m seeing for a while in the Yoga world, like the cultural appropriation of Yoga, the absence of critical thinking about todays modern Yoga business-boom and the prevalent ego-driven & very public self-obsession & self-promotion, to name just a few.
Now I have to start acting on this, cause Yoga is about walking the walk, not talking the talk.
Everybody babbles about flattening the curve; it seems I applied that only to my own learning-curve.
After I received so many ideas and wishes from my students and friends, of what I could offer to them in terms of work, and me not getting into action, I thought I’m just my usual lazy self that doesn’t get to it, being the eternal poster boy for procrastination.
But no, there is a bit more to it than just being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas (by others) and the constant pressure of what a yoga teacher “needs” to serve up these days to survive. I have to understand that I can’t deliver it all. A friend asked me to join her for a Bhakti weekend full of chanting at an ashram, and I told her I would rather crawl through broken glass. I guess, I start to pick up on my own hints now.
I’m lacking some clarity of what it is, that I am comfortable enough to offer.
And in a more personal way, what it is that I want from my life and to create a space for that. Please understand that I’m not devaluating Yoga here, or any ones chosen path, but criticise the problems of the Yoga business world and my problem to find my place in it.
I learned that loyalty doesn’t mean much these days, or showing up week after week, year after year. At least not if there is a cheaper, shinier thing just around the corner… or behind you, pushing you down the stairs, like in the cinematic masterpiece "SHOWGIRLS".
Gosh, I would have rocked social media in my twenties! No worries! No shame!
Being self-effacing doesn’t work well these days, not in my trait anymore. Being authentic is not enough if I can’t translate to the outside world what it exactly is, that is important to me. So this is where I am at, and it feels fairly monumental.
People keep telling me to stop teaching, but after over 20 years that’s a scary thought, especially because I love teaching, as hopefully most of you know and always felt in my classes.
In that way, I am grateful for the pandemic. I’m like that frog that fell into a bucket of milk, kicking & struggling now long enough to turn that milk finally into butter and to get out of the bucket. And I had a lot of support this week from some very, very wise women in my life, to whom I’m eternally grateful. I call them affectionately “The Council (of wise woman)”, though in my imagination they look like the Muses in Disney’s Hercules.
It’s a slow journey into my own worth and even though one is very tired of travelling,
one will not give up just yet.
But enough about me, how are you doing?