Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Charlie

Dear Charlie,

I've missed you in my workshop the past three weeks. I was truly looking forward to learning more from you, from your wry smile and tepid questions. Having you in my class a few months ago challenged me to be a better teacher (really... I thought harder when preparing my next several classes because of you). My explanations were never quite what you were hoping for, but rather than frustrating me or hardening my skin, your questions inspired stronger answers.

You helped me grow. The only thing we hope to offer as teachers is room for growth in our students, openness to the questions beyond, and a willingness to open your eyes.

I'm not sure I can imagine the storm you must have been in, the fury and finality. I missed the telltale look in your eyes, even though I've seen it a few times before. Did I mistake desperation for challenge? My memory is too foggy to see through.

I hope that wherever you are now, in ground or sky or on the wind at night that you have found peace. You remind me to relish each day, each student, each interaction. You remind me that the student is the true teacher, and the teacher merely a humble student.

The light in me sees, honors, and reflects the light in you. I hope that in your favorable rebirth, we may meet again. Namaste.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I have an inordinate number of pictures of myself facing the ocean, looking into the sunset. This is strange because I live in a desert thousands of miles from any given ocean. Even my inland pictures are frequently of bruised skies mourning the sun.

There is something magical about a sunset.

When I was five, my father explained sunsets to me. He said that the colors in the sunset are always there, but we can't see them because of the angle of the sun/atmosphere/something else about physics. Do you know? I can't remember the exact description, but I do remember the key element. The colors in the sunset are always there, we just don't always get to see them.

So much exists that we can't see unless we are lucky enough to look at just the right time, from the perfect angle. This is true in yoga. When we slog through our days and start to look down at the ground, we forget to look up and we forget to look within. Stepping onto the mat we put ourselves in the right place for an amount of time that something might fall away and we might just see the colors in the sky. We salute the sun, we sit, we lie down, and if we are lucky enough we drive home just in time to see the sunset. We see what has always been there. That which is within us begins to reflect the brilliance of what is around us, which in turn, shines more brightly inside of us.

We set the world ablaze.