On my second to last evening as a 32 year old, I have some things to say.
This year, my yoga practice changed profoundly.
I consistently dedicated time to self-study. In the beginning of the year, I remember talking about how I was looking for the “next step,” but wasn’t sure what it was. Looking back now, I believe the act of recognizing and surrendering to this, was in fact that next step.
What I’ve found is each time I show up in this practice, I experience greater clarity of how I connect to my students, friends, and the world around me. I’ve started to notice the parts of me I yearn to learn more about, and the parts I am prepared to move on from.
My teaching has changed, as my priorities have. I continue to be true to my vision of caring for others, the world, and myself in a manner that is not separate. I understand my job is not to preach to people about what to do and not do. The way I look at my work is as a guide who opens the door for students to find their own path of self-study, connection to themselves, the world, and to others.
The way I run my business has changed. The way I partake in relationships with friends has changed. My confidence in what I stand for and believe in has developed real, tangible strength. There have been so many positives, and before this next paragraph, I want to preface it by saying: while it may seem heavy or negative, please know this has been life changing for me.
In an honest moment, I want to say that one part of this year and my self-study has been particularly painful: the realization that I must be ready to lose friends at any moment due to antisemitism. There are many differences I can see past, and I’ve always been friends with a variety of unique people. This isn’t one of those differences. I often spend time wondering who out of my friends would say something antisemitic if I wasn’t around. I often wonder who will be the next one to say it when I AM around. Sometimes I hold back from posting things that are important to me because I think to myself, “am I ready to hear the opinions on this from people I considered friends?” Then I think to myself, as a mother, can I really afford not to know? And my wheels spin. This wasn’t how I expected this year to go. This wasn’t the “next step” I had in mind. But I think it’s a necessary one, and though it has brought hurt, it has been eye opening. I sometimes think about moving. I wonder if I can stay in the valley as a jewish woman raising jewish kids. I wonder how my mom stayed here. I wonder if I’ll always have to email the school and explain that the Jewish holidays can be called by name instead of, “these two dates.” I wonder if I’ll always feel like I am screaming at a crowded concert where no one can hear me trying to tell them that they’re putting me in danger. I wonder how I’ll screen my kid’s friend’s parents to find out if they are the type that compare every perceived inconvenience in their lives to the holocaust. I have more to say, but this is one of those times where I’m going to hold back because I know I’m not ready to hear all the opinions.
Last thing I learned this year, is that I will always give myself room to change my mind. I am not at all the same person I was 3 years ago. I was a drinker. I was lost. My priorities were nonexistent. But as a good friend pointed out to me, I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life, and I managed to keep my business going. I am not a perfect person, but I am not a weak person by any means. When you see something in your friends that you find significant, make sure to tell them. If I didn’t go through some difficult times, I don’ think I would have ever had the confidence to become a mom for the second time, or to switch courses and have a homebirth. I truly think everything in our lives is somehow connected.
There are people out there who will only focus on who you were when you were down. That is a reflection of them, not of you. There are people out there holding a lot of anger in their hearts, who cling to gossip, filing it in their brains for a rainy day when they need to take a jab at someone. This is a them thing. There was a time I would have sought out someone for saying something about me. Now I laugh it off, and honestly, I feel a lot of compassion for them. If taking a hard look in the mirror and challenging my views and way of living makes me a snowflake, then so be it. That’s a name I’ll wear with honor.
I close by saying… thank you for the lessons, thank you to those who have been a part of my story. Looking forward to year 33 😊