Look Ma No Hands!

Often in class I teach my students a sequence to strengthen their core and build balance. I call it  “Look Ma, No Hands!” because we squat and roll back to the tip of our heads and use only our core to roll right back up to standing without the use of our hands. As serious as I am with teaching yoga I also like to have fun, and this is always a good time.

What I woke up pondering today was, when was the last time I really felt proud of myself? Not because others are proud of me, but that deep, rich, satisfaction of knowing *I* did well. If you have been reading my words for any length of time you understand that I come from a life of no Atta Girls.  Distorted perception is the familiar. This is why so many addicts can duel function as hard-core perfectionists. I know I have a few of you reading this right now.

I am proud of myself for completing one of the most challenging Super Spartan’s in the history of the race this past April. This fucker almost did me in, but I completed it!! I have never considered myself an athlete, I turn 50 in 2 months, and I loath to run. So yes, I feel really good about this achievement. Holy shit!!

May brought the amazing opportunity to be hired as a professional yoga model for an international magazine. Now, if you know me personally, you know how incredibly shy I can be. Yes, I have a gorgeous, strong practice (which I am proud of), but I don’t feel the need to force it down anyone’s throat. I believe there is quite enough of that on social media right now.

In June I successfully completed leading 13 groovy people through a Yoga Teacher Training. This was an enormous amount of work on every level. Labor pains for six months, draining as shit and overflowing with love.

I write about this today not seeking Atta Girls from anyone. I’m writing to encourage myself to see ME in a more balanced way. There is a difference between arrogance and confidence. Perfectionism continually raises the bar higher so there is never any place to rest. There is never a time to see clearly through the distortion. Even taking the challenge to write every day stirs up the Samskaras (habituated patterns).

“Wow you really put yourself out there”, my partner says to me, about my writing. And to that I say “Why not? What is there to hide?” I certainly am aware of which posts my students stay away from, vs. the general WordPress audience at large. To each his own yes? Right now it feels healing, soothing, productive and slightly scary to write, thus, a sutra to pursue and unravel. This is for me, and if others resonate and vibe then all the better, just as I feel when teaching yoga.

I’ll be honest, which I always am, and admit that I yearn deeply for my parents to see my achievements, to see just how very fucking far I have come. I wish others who have low opinion of me and my life choices would now see just how successful I am. I hold space for that truth while simultaneously being aware that seeking external validation is an exhausting, losing battle.

So I pose this question to you: When was the last time you felt really proud of yourself, just for you?



The withering quadrant

I teach students who come to see me to dig deep, to inquire, to delve into the murk. Some students hunger for this while others fidget and don’t come back to my class. It takes courage to do this work.

We have a quadrinity of selves inside of us that make up our unified Self. When we feel off our game, out of sorts, it’s because we are not addressing something in one of our quadrants. Before we wake up to svadhyaya, self inquiry, most of us are habituated to hang out in one of our quadrants. For years I hung out in my physical quadrant and completely identified my sense of “Me” with my outermost layer, in yogic terms, the annamaya kosha. We see this running rampant in our culture today, but that is a writing topic for another day.

On any given day one of our quadrants will be slightly out of whack.  It’s part and parcel of this human shindig. The work is to begin to understand self/Self and become aware, honestly, truthfully, practicing Satya (yesterday’s post). Think of an equalizer on a stereo system trying to harmonize, balance and sync up.

How are you feeling today? Not just the cursory “I’m fine” bullshit, which we all know the meaning of “fine” anyway, right?  Fucked up-Insecure-Neurotic-Emotional.  I mean, how ARE you? How’s the body feeling? Are you mindfucking and over-analyzing? Are you bleeding-out emotionally? Do you feel a sense of tether to anything bigger than you?

I’ll start, to help get us going. As I look within I for sure know I’ve been mindfucking and bleeding out. Moving and leaving everything I know is a huge adjustment. I’ve felt tremendously hurt by others in my life recently and confused by their actions.  In addition to that, the time frame of August through October is the anniversary of my mother and brother’s deaths. In general, I have processed, but I certainly can feel the over-arching vulnerability.

My sense of tether? My spiritual connect? Let’s just say it’s been sporadic like a sputtering ignition. In relationship lingo “It’s me, not you, God”. I so very much want and need a soft place to land right now. I’m trying to find it.

I know the work I need to do. Do you?


IV drip of love

Leave me alone but don’t leave me. Does this ring a bell with any of my fellow addicts in the house?

“This would be a good topic for you to write about Leslie”. I hear this fairly regularly, especially when it’s been months between words. Last time I heard it, it was from my Shaman mentor as I was processing the transition of my partner from female to male.  Many words needed then, and probably still now.

This recent notice to write was given to me just yesterday from my new therapist Michael.  Personally, I love therapy, which is a good thing I suppose, considering it’s been a touchstone in my life to help with all the various crazy and addictions since I was 11.

I am an HSP if ya’ll know what that is. It’s often misdiagnosed as many things and people have fun labeling those of us who have this trait. “Oh she’s such a drama queen” “She’s neurotic” “She’s so emotional” “She’s such a bitch”. Actually, there may be some truth in those things as there is truth in many things, but the biggest truth is that I am a Highly Sensitive Person. My emotions have always felt bigger than my body.  My family sure as shit didn’t understand it. This is a bitter-sweet gift that manifests in many of us artistic types. Being this psychic, intuitive and sensitive helps me greatly in my work as a Shaman and yoga teacher, but it sucks ass because I still feel the rest of the world, too. I’m forever finding tricks to meter the sensate. Enter stage left: anorexia, bulimia, cutting, drinking, drugging, fucking strangers, stealing, burglary, getting married, having babies, running away, treatment centers, jail, therapy, recovery, writing. Quiet. LOTS of quiet required.

Michael said I have a narrow band-width to receive love. Wow. Spot on. I laughed and agreed and said that yes, it would probably be best if I could have an53b392dabf6ff21b593ed94c6bdddf61 IV drip of love: measured, controlled, slightly distant yet still there.

As a teacher, students have wanted to adore me, lavish me, love me. This has always taken me by surprise because I’m just showing up and layin’ my thang down. I have been unaware of my influence in my students lives. Their love confused me and made me want to run. It’s typical of addicts to allow connection with strangers but not with loved ones. I find this fascinating, and certainly familiar.

I think the only people I would really allow to drench me in their love is my children. Yes, I could do that. I would love it from my family of origin but more than half of them are gone now.

As of now, I’m working on widening the port. But don’t push it.