These summer months are filled to overflowing with yoga retreats and teacher trainings. In June, I guided my first retreat to Hawaii and joined the courageous ones, for as I found, teaching a retreat is an act of courage that transforms the teacher, student and community in profound ways. Truly, teaching anything takes heart and trust. No matter how much you plan, the Universe plays through you in mysterious, frustrating and inspiring ways.
Days before flying to Hawaii, I woke at 2:45am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I was filled with an uneasy restlessness. I tried to meditate, but kept peeking at the phone, and soon fell into a full-fledged Facebook drowning of self-loathing to the tone of:
“Wow, here I am, about to guide a retreat…yet so mediocre compared to these amazing people-teachers-healers…What am I doing thinking that I have anything of value to offer?”
Do you know that inner diatribe? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a resounding yes from most everyone. Mediocrity and self-sabotage are shadows more dangerous than anger and rage. They are bedfellows of inertia and threaten the hope of transformation.
As teachers, we must be able to alchemize both the physical and mental dross. We are skilled at realigning bodies, so asana transforms in strong clear ways. We are also capable of reforming thoughts.
Here is a Blessing practice I use to create the inner and outer alchemy:
Step outside, go for a walk, and bless the beauty of the natural world. In blessing, our words become offerings – precious golden drops in the ocean of consciousness.
Bless the rain nourishing the parched earth. Bless the flowers feeding the bees who make the honey and serve the Queen. Bless the fruit tantalizing passersby with sweet juicy ripeness. Bless the golden sunlight and silver moonlight supporting life and dreams. Even bless the vehicles and roadways transporting people to desirable destinations.
I invite you to practice Blessing when you feel the old miserly thoughts pulling you down into despair and mediocrity. Do not be swayed thinking you will somehow benefit from self-abuse. Picking at yourself is a distraction from the work you are born to do.
There are men and women who long to hear your original voice. Teach and the teachings will come. Bless the world and make an offering of yourself. This, my friends, will change everything.