Desiderata

Desiderata: plural of “desideratum” (origin: Latin, 1650s), meaning “something for which desire is felt” from the past participle stem of “desiderare”, meaning “to long for” (see desire).

Figuring out your true desires can be quite the daunting task. I’ve always thought of my life like this big contraption, with lots of moving parts. I generally lump the parts under the umbrellas of: work, extra-curricular and interpersonal. I was saying just the other day how it seems like right when I get the wheels spinning really well in one or two parts of the contraption, invariably a monkey wrench will get thrown in elsewhere. Desire comes into play in the pontification, because there will always be things that catch our eye along life’s highway; but our job as the driver is to pay attention to the signs, keep our eyes on the road, constantly assess which detours to take, and then be willing to admit when we’re lost and stop for directions.

Lately I’ve been feeling this feeling like I haven’t been exactly sure what my desire was, as far as what to do with my yoga “career”. For me, yoga has turned into this weird hybrid of work and extra-curricular, as it’s a passion and hobby (of course it’s actually much more than that – it’s a philosophy and lifestyle), turned revenue generating enterprise. I’ve been walking around for a while now saying that I’ve been in a “yoga rut”, which I hear is a common phenomenon amongst budding yoga teachers.  I’ve been saying that because after a considerable amount of time of consistent practice, I reached a place where I felt that I couldn’t find a teacher I wanted to learn from, a studio I wanted to practice at (within a thirty minute radius of my home at least), or the dedication for a consistent at-home practice.

I believe we (in conjunction with some possible combination of life, circumstance and happenstance) place ourselves in the places that we need to be in life, but I also believe that the only thing constant is change. Many relationships last a lifetime, others are much more transient, but all leave the parties involved forever changed for the experience. So it’s with a lot of mixed emotions that I report my decision to resign from Get Yogafied.

Get Yogafied has most definitely been my baby. I came up with the name during teacher training last fall, before I knew that I would ever be involved in opening a studio, thinking it would be the name of my personal yoga business (which is now “Operation Yoga”, FYI). Since the decision to join Kimberly in opening a yoga studio, I’ve had to dig deep, reflect on my intentions in wanting to operate a studio and teach yoga, and figure out what it all meant to me. Logos, mottos and slogans were created. Schedules, what to offer and instructors were selected. All of the usual things. Get Yogafied, and all of the amazing people involved, will always hold an incredibly special place in my heart. I will forever be changed and beyond grateful for the experience. That said, at least for right now, it is time for me to move on. I’ll keep everyone posted on what that continues to shape up to look like in the weeks and months to come. In the meanwhile, you can find my current teaching schedule at the tab on the top of the screen under, well, “Teaching Schedule”.

When it comes to desires and teaching or practicing yoga, I’m ever increasingly aware of the necessity to remain constantly selfish and vigilant on your path. I originally went to yoga teacher training not to teach yoga or to run a studio, but to learn more about it, because of all of the powerful things it had done for my life. The opportunity to share that gift through the vehicle of teaching is a gift in and of itself, but in the wisdom of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I believe that the best way to help the world is to work on yourself first, for the benefit of all selves.

Part of that effort involved taking advantage of my health insurance’s “Fitness Program” (My health insurance = Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas). It’s so awesome it’s worth sharing. Basically for $30 a month, participants of the program get memberships to every 24 Hour Fitness, Bally’s, Gold’s, and Curves Nationwide (plus LOTS of other local and nationwide gyms). One of the local gyms is the Dallas Jewish Community Center (AKA = JCC, also affectionately referred to by members as “The J”). I was psyched to see it on the list, since my dad and bro and lots of other family members go there. When I looked at their yoga schedule, I was even more psyched to see that they had 11 classes a week, at great times, including 2 with Adam Miller, 5 with an Iyengar teacher (which is a style of yoga that I’d been wanting to try for forever), and 2 with the Studio Director of Tsada Yoga, Chinook Wusdhu (who I had heard nothing but great things about).

When I took Chinook’s class last Monday at the JCC, it was the first time I had participated in any type of activity there in years. To be honest, I couldn’t really imagine anything going on there ever again that would warrant my membership, despite having practically grown up there. My grandfather played bridge there. My dad has played basketball there several days a week for my entire life. I went to summer camp there every summer as a child. I performed in plays and musicals there. My first slow dance was there. My first job was as a scorekeeper for their basketball leagues. My second job was as a camp counselor there. The youth group that made up near the entirety of my high school extra-curricular activities met there. It’s just funny. You never know when you’ll wind up right back where you started, yet you (nor the other animal, vegetable or mineral involved) will ever be the same as before.

This past Friday night Dwayne and I were having a discussion on point and he showed me the following prose. The title is the name of one of his former bands. Super cool.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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