Why I Would Resign If I Could

Most of my life I've been bright and shiny and radiant.  I've answered, "Good!" with a smile when asked, "How are you?"  I've melted my heart and opened to grace ever since my first yoga class 11 years ago.  I've done what makes my heart happy and focused on the good.

And in spite of all that bright, shiny, fight for joie, radiance I've spewed out I've still suffered.  People I love have suffered.  People I don't even know have suffered.  Have struggled.  Have gotten sick.  Injured.  Died.  Done really foolish things and sounded like complete jerks in NY Magazine articles.  

And yet I've answered, "Good!" with a smile when asked, "How are you?"  Because people expect you to be bright and shiny and radiant.  I mean I'm a counselor and a yoga teacher for goodness sake and the sun is shining and don't I have so much to be thankful and joyous about.

Quite frankly I'm tired of that and I don't want to melt my heart about it anymore.  Or open to grace.  Or be bright and shiny and radiant.  I want to be pissed off.  And angry.  And confused.  (Or heck just even keel and normal).  Because sometimes life is terrible.  And you don't know what to do.  Because sometimes you lose everything.  And you don't know where you're going.  Because sometimes you're living in the back of a yoga studio teaching a style of yoga you aren't sure you even believe in anymore struggling to pay your bills even though you're almost 30.  And it sucks.  Or it's just ok.  Or nothing all that special.

And melting your heart and being bright and shiny and radiant when life is like that is akin to someone handing you a casserole when your mom dies.  The sentiment is nice but the hurt is not something a few cans of Campbell's soup and some cheese can fix.

But that runs contrary to what I've built my life around.  What the style of yoga I practice and teach emphasizes.  According to Anusara (if there's even still an Anusara) and common Southern courtesy for that matter, I'm supposed to see the good first.  To open to grace.  To see what a wonderful dance this all is and how much I'm blessed.  I'm supposed to be so bright, and shiny, and radiant you need sunglasses just to look at me.  And while Anusara does acknowledge that the poop hits the fan every once in awhile (and Southerners that you don't always agree with God's plan), you won't see devotees lingering long on that fact.  Or teachers planning very many classes around brokenness, or anger, or hurt.  No most people much prefer the lighter, brighter, shinier, happier merry band of artists (the Lord works in mysterious ways so just count your blessings) approach.

But that seems so cliche.  So shallow.  So hollow.  So narrow even.  Especially since our founder has clearly not only lost his way but his mind.  As if melting your heart and being bright and shiny and radiant will some how fill your bank account.  Cure your cancer.  Solve your mid life crisis.  Make all your problem magically go away.  (If that were the case you'd think John would have been able to keep it together-being the very inventor of all this bright, shiny, radiance stuff).

But that's not the case.  Those catch phrases aren't magical.  Not cure-alls or fix-its.  And not always what you need to do.  Sometimes you need to wallow.  You need to be dark and brooding and have as many feelings as a 13 year old girl.  Had John been given the freedom to express those things more publicly all these years (and had we been strong enough to let him) I wonder if he would have fallen so hard.

That's why I can't do it anymore.  Can't support a system I feel doesn't truly embrace the full spectrum of life (like it claims) but lilts heavily to one side.  I can't participate in this all bright and shiny and radiant all the time thing.  Can't stand in front of my students and utter melt your heart or open to grace.  Can't pretend to be ok about what's happening around me.

Because it's not.  And right now I'm hurt and angry and confused.  I'm mourning the loss of my old life.  Afraid and unsure of what's next.  Angry that what's happened to Anusara has happened.  Annoyed that people I know, good people who I love, are hurting.

And I'd much rather be authentic than bright and shiny (and polite) about it.  Because that's what yoga, what life, should be about.  Being so open and vulnerable you can answer honestly when someone asks, "How are you?"  And being so strong you can hold whatever answer you get when you ask someone else.

So enough with the niceties and pretending.  Let's start getting real.  And telling each other the truth.

I will if you will.


PS-I know some of you who are deeply entrenched in Anusara may have some feelings about this.  And I do love the method and the teachings and have gotten so much out of them.  And I'll probably always be teaching some form of Anusara.  And I know it does allow for falling apart and feeling crappy and I'm not at all advocating that we go around teaching people or encouraging people to feel bad.  I've just been annoyed by its over emphasis on the good.  The intense pressure I feel as a teacher to always be bright and shiny and radiant and put together because I feel like that's not authentic. A therapist once said, "When someone is having a pity party you bring pity."  I feel like Anusara would bring a big box of joy wrapped up with a bow then tell the person, "Oh but just open and melt and feel the joy."  When really all the person wanted was some pity.  And that annoys me.  And it's where I am with the teachings right now.  What I'm seeing.  And just like all things I'm sure I'll pulse back and think melting your heart and opening to grace is greatest thing since sliced bread.  But not right now.  Not for awhile maybe.  And that has to be ok.

PPS-For those of you reading this who are saying, "Huh?  What is she talking about?" just google John Friend.  The results should explain why I'm horrified, super angry, and saddened.  I don't recommend the "Sex Coven" article unless throwing up in your mouth a little bit is something you enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not feeling sunny either, Sara. I understand. I'm having to deconstruct and rebuild which pieces of Ansusara I want to hold onto and which pieces feel unauthentic (and even unrealistic). I applaud your honesty.