This week, I quietly celebrated my third trip around the sun carrying the "RYT200" credentials. I've written before a little bit about the experiences I had in my teacher training program. That October graduation day seems simultaneously like a lifetime ago and like yesterday. I realize now that this week I am celebrating what is, essentially, a label that I've earned. It is an invisible badge that has helped me derive purpose and meaning out of the past three years of my life.
In three years time, I've questioned everything, felt all the feelings, wondered "why", and felt like quitting. I've held myself in comparison, told myself all the stories, questioned who I am, and sat with defeat. I've felt shame and unworthiness. I have lived through what I now recognize as the 'Rising Strong' process: I know what it's like to reckon, to rumble, to be a part of my own revolution. This process has changed me.
In three years time, I've learned that asking for help is the bravest thing a person could ever do. I have embraced the warm and uncomfortable feelings associated with reaching out and falling down. I understand now what it really feels like to be heard and validated. I have taken these lessons and applied them to this yoga instructor 'label' that I carry. In this role, I have felt empowered to share this real human experience, where there are no expectations and you are encouraged to show up exactly how you are.
In three years time, I've questioned the importance of status and danced with my ego. I've been reminded in those uncomfortable, raw, open moments, that this gift, this "label", that I've worked for, is not about me at all. The whole is really a lot more important than the sum of it's parts; and I am just a small part. When I step into the front of the room, my intention is to invite you to experience a glimpse of that real-humanness that I have felt. I want you to know that no matter where you live, what car you drive, what choices you've made, how much money you have, or what cards you've been dealt: you are deserving, you are worthy, and you belong. You choose to step onto your yoga mat, like I do mine, and together with energy and intention, we can choose to rise to a level of consciousness where we are existing in our bodies, together, with our breath. In those moments, no other things matter.
In three years time, I've of course grown as a yoga instructor, but more importantly, as a living, breathing, human. I have the opportunity to share the gift of yoga with our community, and I will be forever grateful to that. In looking at all of the "parts" that make up the "whole" of my story; I see that I have worn several hats and played several roles. When the day comes where I decide to hang up my yoga instructor hat, I'll know that what I've gained from sharing this gift with others wasn't the credentials, or the extra cash, or the notoriety, if you will. Sharing this gift, sending it outward, that's the reward.
In three years time, this credential has taught me more than I could have ever dreamed about humility, vulnerability, courage, and commitment. These lessons that I've learned on and off my mat, within and outside of this Marquette yoga community, have brought me to a place where I'm able to stand strong in my roots, feel my foundation supporting me, and share the light that shines within me.