The Paradox of Becoming
This month, I spent two weekends in a row at Wanderlust Yoga Festivals - the first in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, and the second right here in Denver, Colorado. There is always a lot to choose from at these festivals and it's easy to overschedule yourself in FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). There was a day in Whistler that I was registered for seven activities/classes, when I could realistically only make it to five, and still have time to eat meals and walk between the venues where the events were being held. I mixed it up by attending a variety of activities such as hikes, talks, SUP yoga, meditations, yoga nidra, ELDOA and of course yoga classes (acroyoga, Aireal yoga and traditional vinyasa). There were two days in Whistler that I didn't take any vinyasa yoga classes. On my first day there, I did an immersion with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. On my second day, I hiked and then took a SUP yin yoga class. These weekends away always reinvigorate me and re-inspire me for teaching yoga. I walked away with lots of ideas for things to incorporate into my weekly classes, my coaching program and my retreats. One nugget of wisdom from the immersion with Strayed was the idea of a rite of passage. She talked about the fact that we are all born whole, but that it typically takes the journey of life and all the related struggles to truly tap into our power within. Strayed talked about how the youth in many cultures were (and some still are) required to go through a challenge of some sort to become an adult. She said that "the paradox of becoming is that we have to nearly die along the way."
For many of us (myself included), it takes a major struggle or life event such as a tragedy or a serious illness in order to grow and come back to an understanding of our wholeness. This was a similar sentiment shared in the talk I attended in Denver with Gina Murdock. This all reminded me of the saying "No mud, no lotus." In the same way that the mud helps the lotus grow, the suffering we experience in muddy times (such as a major loss, illness or conflict) provides the opportunity to dig deeper into our spirit and discover our strengths. In this process, like the lotus flower, we emerge from the mud and bloom. We find ourselves by facing the challenges along this journey of life.