I hesitated publishing my last post. More so than any other on this site, which is sort of interesting when I consider how vulnerable some of them are for me. I hesitated because I knew that it was really only part of a much larger picture. I was aware of those other parts, but there was a point that I was trying to make in Part 1 and I chose to wait before delivering the rest.
I have been fortunate enough to have been well trained in looking at (most) topics from a multitude of vantage points. I consider myself very skilled at being able to hold several conflicting perspectives in my awareness at one time. In fact, I really do believe that I have learned this skill from teachers whom I consider to be unparralleded in the the art and science of yoga, certainly, but even more importantly, in the subtle art of Awareness.
So, the entire time that I was sharing the story about the woman smoking her vap pen in a yoga studio locker room, and about my hubs compulsively sucking down mints during a class, I was aware of this nagging little voice that kept on whispering: Meg, what about Reverence?
The truth, that is perhaps not even apparent in Part 1, is that I am a big believer in personal discipline as a pathway to personal freedom. It has never been the other way around for me. The attention, precision, clarity and ability have always come to me through the doorway of my own discipline. And..... that has always afforded me more freedom than I could have ever possibly imagined. In my relationships with others, with myself, with my practice. The whole thing. But!!! It isn't just discipline. It is the work, the time, and the devotion that comes along with it. Sound familiar?
The other day, we were out at the horse farm where Maple has been taking lessons for the last few years. Her teacher, Gretchen and I were discussing the Suzuki Institute that Eider had just participated in out in Colorado. Gretchen was a Suzuki kid growing up and as such has a lot of context for the approach. I was sharing with her how important I feel it is for my practically feral 6 year old to have something that calls him to attention every day and asks that he show up with a certain level of consistency, decorum, and openness. Yes, I for sure think that it is extra cool that he is getting a muscial education. But more than that, I believe in the value of learning to apply himself to something day in and day out, when it is easy as well as difficult, with no clear sense of what the outcome will be, but a with a steady faith in the process. As our Luthier (who conveniently lives down the road- love small towns!) said to me the other day: "Suzuki does not neccessarily make excellent musicians, but it most certainly crafts exceptional human beings." I think this is true. From what I have seen thus far anyway. I think that a big part of that comes from the reverence for the process that is implicit in the method.
Gretchen and I were having this conversation also as it applies to Maple and her relationship to the horses. You see, this is not just any ol' horseback riding that Mapes is doing. Gretchen instructs a method called Natural Horsemanship, or Parelli, named after its founder. Much of the work that she does with her students and the horses is in cultivating a relationship that balances as sense of ease and peace within a larger, more reverent perspective. For the first year that Maple took lessons, she seldom ever rode a horse. Instead she brushed them and learned how to communicate via a series of ground games. When she did begin riding, it was on a bareback pad and using a halter with no bit. Based on the conversations that I have had with Gretchen, whom I consider to be an exceptional teacher, this balance of freedom with reverent discipline, are paramount to her in her work.
So, I am supporting our kids in pursuits that beg a certain level of depth and attention from them. I have sought out teachers for them as well as for myself that hold us with a regard that acknowledges both the brilliance and the complexity of our humanness. It is not surprising, really, when I know the value of that sort of work in my own life. And I am by no means unique in this. I think that most of us have a part of ourself that rises up when it is called on to participate in the bigger Work. In the work that connects us more deeply to our essential nature - to the truth of who we are. To our free and boundless hearts.
Also, there is no limit to where we each find the thing that engages that aspect of ourselves. For me, it has been primarily been through the practice of hatha yoga. That space has been the primary realm where I have engaged with discipline in this life. But the teachings that I have gained there spill over, especially into my relationships and perhaps most importantly, into my marriage. But for Chris, y ol' mint eater, not so much. Yoga for him is the place where he gets to breathe and lengthen out muscles tight and sore from long hours spent driving. He explores his relationship to discipline on the bike. And it is by no means casual- which actually is a huge part of our connection. We are both deeply drawn to the profound as experienced through our will, effort and ultimately our surrender. And it is personal for both of us. Which is why, I really have no business placing any judgement or critique on the quality or flavor of other people's relationship with anything. Let alone yoga.