Was written over a week ago.
The play with the urchins was on Thursday, and they did a GREAT job!!!!! The yoga workshop was yesterday, and it was fan-flippin'-tastic! Probably the most fun workshop I've ever done, and the most challenging. Especially since I'd taught my mat Pilates class in the morning.
The best thing was that it wasn't about sitting at the feet of a guru as he imbued us with his vast knowledge. He swore a lot, and he told us to not take it so seriously, and kept us laughing even as we sweated, fell out of poses, and fought a constant battle between the body and the ego.
It was, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of what I was expecting. TRULY non-judgmental, consisting of folks of many ages and body types, and so, SO much fun!
I've been processing it today. It was, again, a message from the Universe. Or part of a message. I recently re-read 4 novels that I originally read about 16 years ago, and got a different take on them this time. About being unique and reveling in it. And then I (finally!) saw "The King's Speech," which is SOOOOOO good, and I especially loved the bit where he got angry and said "I have a voice!" And his speech therapist said "Yes, you do."
It reminded me of when I used to teach Voice. It was very empowering; helping people, especially kids, to find the power of their voices. Not just so they could be heard in the back row of the audience, but so they could be heard, period. And they learned that, yes, they have a voice. Something I often forget, myself.
My favorite quote from yesterday: "Yoga doesn't want to make you strong, or flexible, or thin. It really doesn't want to keep you young. Yoga wants you to do what you do, and do it consciously. Yoga wants you to wake the f*** up."
For the first time in a fitness class, I didn't feel self-conscious about my body or my lack of ability to twist my leg around my neck. I didn't feel I had anything to prove. I didn't feel envy for the younger, prettier, leaner bodies. I DID feel appreciation for my experience, my wisdom, my ability to back off when I needed to, or to know when I could go forward safely. I felt grateful for my strength of mind and of purpose, my ability to take the class even when I was feeling under the weather, and even though I was a nervous wreck beforehand.
I think I'm finally beginning to practice yoga: not the physical practice, but the mental, emotional practice. It's really NOT about how far I can go in a pose, or how thin I am (or am not), or whether I'm a vegan or a carnivore, or something in-between. It IS about how I think, what I believe, whether or not I judge, or gossip, or say nasty things to myself or someone else.
How dare I believe that the most important thing about me, or anyone else, is the physical? What business is it of mine if someone is fat or thin, muscular or pudgy, hirsute or clean-shaven? So what if a girl dresses like a boy, or vice-versa? Why do we care so much? How does it affect our lives?
I saw a terrific documentary the other night called "Naked on the Inside.' The filmmaker talked to 6 people about body image: One is a man with no legs who is a professional dancer, one is a young woman living as a man, there's a wife and mom whose body is riddled with cancer, another is an obese woman who performs with a synchronized swimming group, and another young man is a former gang member with scars and tattoos that tell quite a story, and the last is Carre Otis, the former model/actress who finally left the biz and lives happily as a gorgeous size 12. It was amazing and inspiring, and brought home the fact that we make such harsh judgments about people while knowing absolutely nothing about them. That seems to be our favorite pastime, and some people make a lot of money off of it.
Finally, I re-watched the series finale of "Extras" today. In which Andy finally realizes that fame isn't really a goal, after going on "Celebrity Big Brother."
This world we live in, the world of celebrity gossip, fashion, diets, reality shows, the worship of wealth and youth, of ads telling us constantly that we are lacking, of politics, of "winners" and "losers"... It's not real, is it? I mean, there's so much more out there that is so much more important. There is so much to be grateful for, yet we spend all our time thinking about what we don't have, or how we ourselves are lacking.
The night before the kids' show, I was awake & worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong. Finally, at around 4 AM, I mentally kicked myself: I reminded myself that this was supposed to be FUN! Yet there I was, lying awake (for the second night in a row) obsessing over all the ways I wasn't a good enough teacher, or thinking that the parents would be disappointed, or whatever. I had to remind myself that most of the parents would be thrilled just to see their kids up onstage. And seeing them performing Shakespeare? That's cake!
This wasn't Broadway. We weren't betting millions of dollars, and the livelihoods of hundreds of people, on a positive review from "The New York Times." This wasn't, in the end, about the performance at all. It was about the kids. Helping them to develop confidence, to have fun, and, oh yeah, to find their voices!
Oh yeah, that.
So I hope I can keep all of this with me. It's a practice.
And now, I must go to bed. need some rest. :)