Saturday, October 6, 2012
So, I've spent the past three mornings before work attempting to make another video and failing miserably. I wanted to talk a little bit about the quote I shared - what it means to me and how it's relevant to becoming a yoga teacher. So if you missed it, here's the quote again - it comes from Valerie Claff, a art professor at Clark University who became a mentor to me and has been a huge source of support and inspiration since I graduated:
"Don't limit the definition of yourself by saying, "I'm an artist". You are, of course, but that puts the pressure on. I think its more helpful to keep all your options open, even if what you tell others is that you're an artist. Let your vocation find you by doing everything in your power to move TOWARDS what inspires you. Labeling ourselves can be limiting as it can potentially keep us from moving towards something that will be useful for our growth. If you've ever listened to a person who is doing something really interesting in life, they usually say that the path they took to get there was not straight, that they just kept moving from one thing to another until eventually, and usually quite surprisingly, they found themselves doing this thing they never could have imagined. One mysterious step at a time got them there."
I could really just copy and paste the whole message - there is so much wisdom in it. But this particular passage resonates deeply with everything going on for me right now. I have spent the years since graduation struggling to figure out what I want to do and who I want to be. It wasn't until I embarked on this journey to become a yoga teacher that I realized that for years I've been beating myself up for not living up to my own expectations - I kept telling myself I wanted to make a living off of art, but putting that pressure on myself made it almost impossible to make art. And because I locked myself into the idea that I'm an artist, I resisted diving into all of the other things that I was interested in - neuroscience, anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition. Somehow I convinced myself that an artist can't be interested in science. And I also convinced myself that I had to choose one thing, one path, and stick with it.
It's taken a lot of internal work to understand that so many of those beliefs and expectations don't have to be true, that I've been the one limiting myself. Many people talk about the transformational aspects of yoga and I can definitely say that returning to a regular yoga practice has changed my life and changed the way I think about who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to contribute to my community and the world.
Becoming a yoga teacher isn't just about a career change - it's about changing my whole life, sharing the benefits of yoga, and hopefully helping other people change their lives.
I know watching a video is easier and maybe more compelling than reading, so if you've made it this far, thank you. I feel a huge, deep sense of gratitude for all the support I've received so far - I come back to read your comments whenever I start to feel discouraged and it makes me feel better every time.