Now and Forever

I have been remiss the past few months in not writing my stories. I apologize to those of you who have been so supportive. I have many more stories lined up, but kept stalling out when trying to write them. The thing is, I think I was out of juice.

For over 15 years I have dedicated myself to becoming a better and better teacher. I have been an unwavering entrepreneur. I have furthered my education and been on the cutting edge of my field. And then, my partner died. In the wake of his death, I was faced with an enormous tidal wave of lessons.

Mick had defrauded me: he embezzled tons of money from me, he had lied to me about our/his finances, he betrayed my trust and confidence. To make matters worse, his best friend and I ended up in a terrible battle where she kept the house that I contributed to for ten years; She felt as though she was entitled to it, but in the end, she was villainous and unjust. The end of the story is that I lost my partner, my money, my home; like the remains after tidal wave……..there was very little left.

Slowly, I did the thing that I thought would serve me best: I worked. It’s not to say that I wasn’t in therapy or personally digesting the grief and immeasurable change, but work was very helpful. I love what I do: as a teacher, as a therapist, and as a retreat director.

I have been teaching 26 classes per week, all over the West Side and South Bay of Los Angeles for almost 10 years. I am 42 years old (soon to be 43). I do not have the same energetic and emotional resources that I did in my 20’s or 30’s. And to be completely honest, considering the last two years, sometimes I think it’s miraculous how well I’m doing.

I often make the joke, “if you like nice things, you gotta work.” And for a very long time, my work has fed me. And for several years I have wanted to work less, drive less. With my relocation to Palos Verdes, all of my free time (the time I would dedicate to creative endeavors, the time I would dedicate to my personal yoga practice, the time I would dedicate to self-care, the time I would dedicate to new relationships) would go to my commute. For two years I’ve been driving 100miles per day.

Fortune smiled and change came again, I have accepted a new position that will bring me into management and reduce my teaching schedule by 65 percent. It’s a scary and terribly exciting opportunity. And in truth, to say that it’s a turn in fortune makes it seem like it “just happened.” Not true. I have been working on this opportunity for several years.

I have/had a few powerful reservations about taking this new position. And finally, this is what this post is all about. It might seem like I was complaining for the past page or so, but I promise it was just to provide context.

My great reservation was in leaving my beloved classes in the Southbay. As I contemplated accepting this new position, I was greatly surprised by how emotional the end of this chapter was for me. For several weeks, every time I would teach, I would become emotional. Sad and silent tears would roll down my face as I was teaching. My heart ached at the thought of disconnecting from this class.

It was then that another wave of lessons seeped in. My class is not just a class, for me, it is a resource. In the lowest moments of my life, at the time when I was drowning in grief, I found support, love, and compassion in my yoga classes. Actually, I found these qualities all over the place, but this yoga class was/is special.

I have had this class for almost 9 years. I teach it regularly three days a week. I am friends with a great many people in this class and to be included in their lives. I have had the privilege of working privately with many of these yogis. The individuals in this class are a perfect magical combination of intelligence and intuition. Together we honed our skills as practitioners: each of us teaching and each of us learning from each other. Somehow, together, we built a container that was truly a safe space; where we could each explore our inner process privately and feel entirely supported by sangha (community).

It has been a true privilege, an honor, and one of the greatest joys in my life to teach this class. By being in relationship, we each walked down our own path to heal the injuries that were neglected, we strengthened our conviction in mutual strength and respect, we engrained the patterns that support our truth and best selves. It is truly miraculous how this sangha has come together.

This group of individuals is wildly different; the class populated with moms, dads, democrats, republicans, straight, LGBTQ, students, teachers, beginners, and every other possible category you can imagine. None of that matters: when we practice, when we are together, when we are present…..there are only perfect beings in the room. It has become a place without separations, borders, limitations. It is a place where our diversity, our weaknesses, our strengths, our assets and our liabilities are all safe to coexist in working harmony.

For me personally, I can proudly say that it was the very first place that allowed my inner voice to be spoken. Where in my teaching, I became a vessel or a channel. It was not my wisdom that was being transmitted during class. It was the wisdom of the teachings and the power of our relationship that allowed the deepest truth, the things that we needed to hear and know, to surface. Where the subtlety of our engagement produced in me the ability to see and feel beyond this plane. I know how hokey this sounds, and that’s ok. If you have experienced what I am describing, then you know how rare and powerful this is. I will be forever grateful for having this opportunity as a staple in my life for so long.

Yoga is progress. Yoga is change. Yoga is development. In my heart, it is time for me to grow in a new direction and to develop new paths. Although I am very sad to let go of this gift, the deepest truth and power of it will always be with me and with my students. I am hopeful to stay in relationship with all my incredible students as I continue on my path. I want every single one of them to know that they matter to me. That you changed me. That you helped me heal, you helped me grown, you helped me become the person that I am today.

To my students, with all my love and respect, Thank You and I will miss you.

Today’s musical tribute is one of my all-time favorite songs. I shared it with the man I love and I share it with you now. Please enjoy. Now and Forever by Carol King.


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