(published April 3rd through my newsletter)
It is a chilly morning in Joshua Tree. The windows of the Scamp are fogged with condensation that’s just starting to glow gold with the rays of the rising sun.
Waking up before the sun is one of the happiest practices for me. I don’t set an alarm, I just let it happen if it should happen.
Being present for the sunrise is the practice of bearing witness to the promise of a new day. A new day means new hope and new possibility. No matter how trying yesterday might’ve been, there is surely a miracle or two on the horizon today…
Speaking of trying days, many yoga teachers I know are in a tizzy right now, and have been for several weeks.
It is a justifiable tizzy, but a tizzy nonetheless. And tizzies are not comfortable to be stuck in for very long. (Especially when one has a taste for all-pervading peace and oneness!)
Many teachers have gone along leading live classes over the years. But they haven’t built the infrastructure of connection and communication to the students who rely on them, outside of the studios and gyms where they work.
Then, a few weeks ago, when Coronavirus hit and both teachers and students were thrust out of those gathering places, the teachers have been faced with a giant dilemma.
How do I do what I do without the space to do it in? And without the usual system that supports it and delivers students to the foot of my mat?
Yes, this is a seemingly big dilemma. But I want to show you how it is, potentially (or should I say, Patanjali) a blessing on your path as a teacher. It is giving you the opportunity to handle your gifts with much greater care and reverence.
Let me explain.
Some of you have not been handling your gifts with care. You’ve shoved them in a reused cardboard Amazon box, taped it shut, tucked it under your arm, and carted them around town like something you’re going to donate to GoodWill.
There’s not even padding in that frayed box! You can probably hear your gifts rattle around as you plop it down in front of your class and open it up to show the students what you’ve got.
Yet, you have been masking this careless handling with proclamations of humility. Which sounds kind of like this…
“Oh this little gift? This calling to help people find peace, truth, awakening, strength, love, health, joy, embodiment, coherence, liberation…? It’s nothing really. I picked it up somewhere back in my 20’s after my life crashed and burned around me, but I don’t need much money for it, and I feel weird about sharing it on social media, and it’s kind of awkward to invite people to be on my newsletter, so I just let my Guides just show me where to go next.”
Well, these are your Guides, communicating to you through Ariel’s fingers on a keyboard in the high desert on a chilly Friday morning saying WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE THIS GIFT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN ISN’T THE MOST PRECIOUS GODDAMN THING IN THE WORLD?
What do you think people need right now?! Toilet paper? NO THEY DON’T NEED TOILET PAPER. Humans have survived for millennia without TP. But they are hoarding toilet paper because you are hoarding your damn gifts and they can’t get access to what the human spirit is actually nourished by in times like these.
The human spirit is nourished by the gifts that YOU have been called to hold and share. Those very same gifts that you regularly say, “Who me? Little old me?” About being the keeper of.
Look, I get that you are shy and scared about all this.
I know that it’s fricking weird to be a carrier of these inexplicable gifts that your family doesn’t understand, respect, or take seriously. They might even think you’re a little batshit. Wanting to shrink back into the comfort of your eco-Snuggie is a totally legit urge.
But now’s the time to own that YOU WERE NEVER TEACHING POSES. YOU WERE NEVER TEACHING MOVEMENT. You were teaching something much bigger than your instructions.
The second you own this is the second that your students can actually RECEIVE those gifts.
Because if you don’t acknowledge and own, fully, to yourself, that your work is so much bigger than a yoga studio or a gym, you are withholding that permission to your students.
You are not letting your students own their realizations and their power to access the peace that passeth understanding… and the bravery to be in their humanity and live their values even though they’re scared as fuck right now.
So stop billy-dicking around (as an ex-boyfriend of mine would say)! Rise up!
Pack those gifts with the utmost care and ceremony into Instagram posts, blog posts, newsletters, FB Live, Tweets, and videos.
If you haven’t put the effort in over the years to invite your students to follow you on social media or sign up for your list, do you damndest to become visible to them now.
Make it easy for them to sign up, to join you.
Because we both know that they didn’t come to that studio for the studio, no matter how pretty the murals were. And they didn’t come to that gym for the gym, no matter how nice the lotion in the locker room smelled.
They came to receive your gifts. They came to enter a field you’ve been called to tend to that is not available in other places. And now you are free to open that field to them directly – it can now become a direct exchange.
Being struck by the lightning of yoga is the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ll offer the teachings that come through me to anyone who puts their hands out… now more than ever.
I am not shy about the gifts I carry. You can tell because I offer them on a regular basis, publicly, despite the vulnerability of it. I will not apologize for them and I will not withhold them.
They thrive on being shared.
This is how I bow down and kiss the ground for the gift I have received. In the words of Bob Marley, I pass it on.
My offerings have shifted some since the arrival of this pandemic. But the essential message I carry remains exactly the same. This message is all the fuel I need to keep going; to design new forms, new ways to connect, and to co-create the miracles I will certainly encounter today.
Now, I know this was a big-ass rant-er-oo. Thanks for coming along on it with me. And I understand if this message isn’t the medicine you need right now. Especially if you’re directly dealing with sickness of you or a loved one, or loss of someone close to your heart.
Take care of yourself, and take your time. Come back to it when you’re ready.
But please see that what I’m saying is YOUR GIFTS ARE AMAZING. YOUR VOICE IS SO IMPORTANT. WE NEED YOU.
And I want to give you a practice to help you free your gifts, so this isn’t just theory.
I’m leading a totally free online workshop called “Owning Your Essential Message” on Saturday, April 11th at 1pm PST / 4pm EST.
This workshop will help you anchor yourself in your unique gifts and realize they never lived in the brick and mortar buildings you taught in… and there are infinite new forms they can now stream through now.
You know, it’s not actually humble to withhold. The most humbling act is to listen deeply to what’s happening with the people and world around you, then open up and share…
Warmest wishes always,
Ps. You might find that this entire message applies to you even though you aren’t a yoga teacher. Especially you artists! Please also join for the “Owning Your Essential Message” gathering. And share it with friends too.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: “Owning Your Essential Message” on Saturday, April 11th at 1pm PST / 4pm EST. Make sure you’re on my list to get the invite.
Ps. If you want to receive notes and news and join upcoming free online classes from me, be sure you’re subscribed to Ariel’s List