I have mentioned before my all-encompassing love and devotion of the coconut. I believe it is the world’s perfect food, nut to be exact. Yet, not until this weekend did I notice that if I were a food, I would absolutely be a coconut too.
This past weekend was another yoga teacher training weekend. We studied the Bhagavad Gita and applied Krishna’s teachings. It was enchanting in so many ways. It was a weekend full of bhakti yoga, chanting, and meditation; reflection, journaling and connection. We all sit in this big room for the entire weekend on bolsters and blankets just taking it all in. Some sit quietly the whole weekend, others may share their ideas and thoughts but we are all absorbing the same thing and it is powerful. The energy in the room this weekend was electric. More times than I can count, I got goosebumps after a group meditation, tears streamed down my face after “Hey Bhagavan” as I chanted a shaky “Om”. And it was unexpected, that is the beauty of it all. You cannot plan when you will begin to crack open, it just happens.
It is old news what happened to me last year. It is even getting stale in my mind, yet I have held onto my experience like an old wooby that needs a good washing. We journaled this weekend about three big events from the last year and then used a variety of adjectives to describe those events and how they felt and were perceived at the time. Then later, we used another set of adjectives to describe the same events but how they feel now. Wow. When the flood happened, my adjectives to describe it were “enraged, confused, alienated, resentful, nostalgic and yearning.” When I wrote how I feel about it now, I surprised myself as my hand took over and wrote the words, “grateful, open, trusting.”
At that moment, I felt this gush of gratitude toward one of the most powerful and difficult times in my life. It was a turning point, it broke open the shell that had only a crack in the outer layer. I never knew that I desperately needed to be cracked open, but apparently the universe did. Not to say that the flood happened soley for my growth, but maybe it was the biggest opportunity I have been given to date. And I remember the exact moment that it happened. I remember floating on a paddleboard feeling complete reverence for what was bigger than me and also inside of me. That was the moment the hammer hit the sweet spot.
My practice has struggled, I won’t lie. I started teacher training with enthusiasm and hope and a powerful practice. Then it took a different form and I believe it was due to that first layer of my coconut-ness beginning to open. I began to doubt and question the whole practice. I saw anger, judgment and frustration show its very ugly head. Self-doubt made a big appearance and it is still something I am grappling with. But it is part of the cracking open. I am no longer completely sheltered within myself and that is a good thing. Truly opening up and being vulnerable is very difficult, more for some than others and being a somewhat open person, I noticed that I very much had limits.
So, here I am, this partially cracked open coconut. The next layer is softer but still pretty tough. I know what is required to get to the wonderful sweetness inside, courage, just as Arjuna needed.
Bhagavad Gita 16:5
Divine attributes lead one toward complete freedom; the demonic attributes lead one to bondage. Do not worry, Arjuna, you are born of Divine attributes.
**I did this video as a way to break out of my mold a bit and be vulnerable. Its a first take, talking slowly, trying not to stammer and say “um” but without any script, just speaking from the heart.
**P.S. If you would like to create your own video on what yoga means to you, that would be awesome! It would be great to make the documentary a global project. It is really easy through the iMovie app. Message me if you do one!