Welcome to the lay-myself-bare portion of this blog. In this world of social media, there are a lot of folks talking about privacy or lackthereof these days. It seems like everyone feels entitled to know all about the lives of others (paparazzi, I'm talking to you). People vacillate between divulging the most private details of their lives under the heading of truth-telling and hating that people are all up in their business (it's not fun to put yourself out there only to get smacked down with judgment). Hmmmm...there's got to be a middle ground.
As much as I love the connection the internet and social media brings, I can be a very private person. Yet, I also feel it's important to be authentic and I can honestly say that there have been times in my life in which I didn't know what authenticity was or was too fearful to be authentic. My 30s found me knee deep in yoga and filled me with a yearing for authenticity. As one of my favorite quotes (thank you Rita Mae Brown) says, "...the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself." Amen.
To me authenticity doesn't mean blogging/facebooking/tweeting about my sex life or my relationships or my annual household income or my personal hygiene habits. It does mean -- to me, anyway -- sharing from my heart. It also means -- again, to me -- listening to my own inner wisdom. With that said, this is a post that is authentically me (they all are, but for some reason I'm feeling this post is a bit more personal than others that I've written).
I started this blog for one reason -- love. I was (still am) in a passionate love affair with yoga and I wanted to write about it (I suppose being an English major back in college contributed to my desire to write). Over the years I've heard numerous internet marketing experts talk about the merits of using an blog to strategically position yourself as an expert. I've listened to the business gurus babble on about blogging as relationship building and revenue generating vehicles, blah, blah, blah.
Maybe I'm the idealistic anti-business woman, but I still think it comes back to love. If you write about something because of strategic positioning rather than passion, people are going to see through it. The masses ain't dumb and they can see through the salesy nonsense in a heartbeat (or one Nadhi Shodhana breath). Often I've been questioned about the recommendations that show up on my blog -- do I get a percentage of the sales, do I push whatever product is sent to me, etc. After years of working in marketing, I am well aware of the sometimes fine line that exists between advertising and editorial. That's why I write my own blog rather than work at a yoga magazine. I probably end up recommending about 5% of what is pitched to me (sorry folks -- all of those salesy emails you send me pitching your products don't make a dent unless I feel strongly about what you're selling. And a special note to all you product pitchers out there -- if you don't use my actual name in an email, I don't even read it.).
I guess the point is that I'm not in it for the money or the free stuff (or swag, as my buddy likes to call it). Yes, I have bills and yes I do need money to live in the world. However, that does not mean that I'm going to use inauthenticity to get it. Oooookay, my rant is over I suppose.
What got me on this rant, you may ask...Well, you see, I've been thinking about writing a blog post for the last couple of days and I found myself wondering -- who cares what I have to say, anyway? Yes, I can ramble on about the number of hours of training I've had; I can inundate you with testimonials and "success" stories from the folks I've worked with; and I can give you all sorts of impressive numbers in regards to numbers of workshops I've attended and number of years that I've practiced. And none of it means diddly. It doesn't make me an expert -- it just makes me someone (like so many of you out there) with a number of experiences and stories that she'd like to share in the slim hope that it will have a positive impact on your life. If just one sentence in one of my posts gets you to find a resource or try something that makes a difference in your life, then I'm a happy camper (or, in this case, blogger).
My goal isn't to teach my blog readers or my clients anything. Rather, I want them to have an experience so that they come up with their own lessons. I can give you directions on how to get into a pose, but I can't force the experience of being in the pose into your body -- only you can do that. There's a big different between knowing something logically (in your head) and experiencing something. It's sort of like the Bible example of being given fish for a day's meal and being taught how to fish so you can feed yourself for a lifetime.
So what the heck does fish have to do with yoga, and who the hell cares about my ramblings...
Here's the thing -- I once heard someone say that all you can get from teachers is excrement. The teacher has the experience, it runs through their body, and then they give you their s*%t. This person went on to say that we, as students, shouldn't settle for someone else's s%*t. Rather, we should have the experience ourselves. Oooohhh, this is quite a controversial view in the world of yoga, no? I spent a great deal of time studying with a school of yoga who stressed the importance of having a teacher and the role the teacher plays in the life of a student. It all seemed very...serious, important, necessary, even.
I've had many teachers in my life, so I'd be the last person to say that we don't need teachers. What I will say is this -- at the end of the day, it comes back to you. A teacher can give you information, guidance, etc. but you are the only one who can use the information. You are the one who has the experience. And this, in a nutshell, is why I teach yoga. It's not to help someone achieve Crow or Headstand -- it's to give them enough space so they can get in touch with their inner wisdom.
Yes, I'm a blogger. Yes, I'm a yoga...educator (after what I just said, I hesitate to call myself a teacher). Yes, I have experiences thanks to the amazing things that have happened in my life and throughout my yoga practice. What I am not is an expert (GASP! Tomorrow I'll probably look at my blog subscriber numbers only to find that 90% of my readers have unsubscribed and internet gurus all over the world will chide me for this very post.). I suppose my message here is that YOU are the expert. You already know what you need to know -- it's just obscured by all of the busyness and nonsense we all get caught up in.
That's what started me on my yoga path -- a desire to make space so that I could figure out what authenticity meant to me. I think my heart has it all figured out, while my mind is forcefully trying to convince me that I don't have a clue. Although I'm sure some expert out there knows. Yeah, I was being sarcastic.
Perhaps I'm not better off than I was a few days ago when I found myself coming up empty with a topic for a blog post. Yet somehow I've written all of this. I sure do hope that it's useful. As I've come to find in the years considering what authenticity means to me -- I desire to be of service. That's why I share my experiences with you in this blog -- because I want to help you learn your own lessons. Your lessons aren't my lessons. I don't want to sell you my s#%t. I just want to give you a little space so that you can find your own way.
And I'm going to go against every piece of advice I've ever heard about creating a thriving business and acquiring more clients and the like -- I ain't no expert. Amen.
If you've actually hung in there to read through all of my ramblings, you deserve a little reward. I found this excellent blog post that offers a "heavenly stretch for back pain" and I want to share it with you. This is actually something that I tend to do after I've been sitting at my desk for a bit too long. Give it a try and see how much you can let go.