Recently I completed my second 500 hour yoga teacher training program. This training path had spanned 5 years and I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I had completed the final piece of the training hour requirement, case study assignments and submitted all of the necessary paperwork. There were a myriad of emotions that arose upon receiving the recognition and certificate of completion through the Yoga Medicine program, a program and organization I hold in high regard. Had I now arrived? Had I finally received enough training and knowledge to support my life’s work as a yoga teacher? The answer that resonated was - no. Supporting that answer was the beautiful blessing that I found while acknowledging my recent accomplishment; there is no ‘arriving’.
Within this revelation, I could see clearer that life, and my journey as a yoga teacher, is an ongoing quest to learn, grow and expand into new experiences and teaching opportunities. There is an adapting and growing within each season of life, and each season within my yoga teaching career. There is a trusting in the vision to stay committed to the process, and that the “success” is found in not getting caught up in a desired or perceived result of my efforts - or arriving at an end point. What a release this realization brought me; a huge exhale had been taken. The concept of this blessing in not arriving continued to resonate with me and support the release of the daunting pressure that we can put upon ourselves; feeling like we aren’t good enough or we don’t know enough to pursue our calling or the desires of our heart. This type of thinking comes gripped in fear, it paralyzes us - it lacks the faith that is required to sustain and trust each step of the process that is unfolding in perfect timing, which is where the blessings are found.
Taking you back further now along my teacher training pathway, when I began my first 500 hour advanced teacher training in 2013 with Rolf Gates. I knew within the first sessions of that experience that I was sensing a desire and calling to be a ‘teacher of teachers’. That was the desire of my heart. I knew clearly that this was where my path was leading. I wanted to head out on this pathway that my teacher was walking. I wanted to pour into others what he was pouring into me at that moment, in that experience. Upon completion of that 500 hour experience, I soon set into motion my plans and creation of the curriculum for the 200 hour yoga teacher training program that I would offer. The feelings of not ‘knowing it all’ rose again, however, through strong support and mentoring from others who had walked the path before me, I found an ease that there wasn’t an arriving - I wasn’t suppose to know it all. I didn’t need to know it all to pursue this new venture within my teaching. All I needed was to trust in the process and be willing to learn, grow and expand into this new season of teaching and I would “teach what I needed to learn” along the way.
To connect this concept within my life experience as a parent, last May, my oldest son and I were presented with a somewhat spontaneous road trip. Life presents those circumstances often. This trip was necessary to get him relocated for the summer months ahead that he would spend living away from home and playing baseball. The spontaneity of the trip was due to his college baseball season extending later than planned (excitedly so due to his team finishing up their season at the D2 College World Series) and his need to quickly arrive ready for his summer baseball season to begin. There was little transition time between the two seasons - literally hours it felt like. This trip not only required us getting him relocated with his vehicle and all of his necessities for summer living but we had to do so within a strict time line. This timeline meant that we had to arrive at the Boston airport in time for me to make a flight back home that evening and for him to make his way to catch one of the last ferries over to Martha’s Vineyard, which can be very challenging at that time of the year. There was no room for error or delays within our travel plan. You can probably already imagine where this story is heading.
Needless to say, this would not be a leisurely trip - there would be no sightseeing or pitstops taken any longer than it takes to gas up the car or make a quick restroom break. We were on a mission to get from point A to point B. We had to arrive and do so as quickly as possible. As I mentioned above, there was no room for any unexpected delays. No pressure, I might add, that neither my son or I are very skilled with organizing the realistic amount of time that it takes to travel. He and I didn’t factor situations such as traffic and necessary stops along the way in our original plan. In fact, our plan would barely get us there. With some re-evaluation, (due in part to my husband’s guidance and assistance with getting our schedule re-organized) we decided to leave earlier than we had originally planned, thankfully.
We woke early around 2:00am the morning of our departure. My son was exhausted and so I was determined to drive the majority of our journey. He needed to rest, complete some summer online class work and I needed to get him to his destination safely. All was going smoothly. We were making good time when we found ourselves stuck in traffic. Stuck in traffic! Isn’t that like life, we have all of these plans to take us along our life pathway smoothly, in our way and timing, and then we find ourselves “stuck in traffic”. Adjustments have to be made, plans are adapted and usually we resist change. Slow and steady my son and I found ourselves making our way through the traffic. As the hours passed, and I could sense our deadline drawing closer and closer, I found myself wondering, “are we ever going to arrive.” Of course, I also felt assured that we would eventually arrive at our destination, completing our mission but it wouldn't look like how I had envisioned. I was concerned that we would be arriving late. As this contemplation played over and over within my mind, feelings of frustration would rise and fall. At the same time, I also felt the determination to keep going. I felt determined to be in this experience, all of it - and not merely get through it. Within the rise and fall of emotions I sensed that there was a beautiful blessing emerging from this experience. This was an experience that my son and I were creating. An experience that he and I would never forget. An experience that forever would be etched in our minds and embraced in our hearts. Our experience.
As we found ourselves arriving (finally) at the airport and my son safely made his way to his final destination with every piece of our road trip coming together; I found myself on the flight back home relishing on the day’s adventure and pondering this paradox - we had arrived, yet we are never fully arriving, are we? Life unfolds and plans change, and we must make peace within the change. There are blessings to be found within not arriving. Life lessons appear for us to learn from if we choose. Life experiences can be created within the adaptations and adjusting of our perceived plans. Within the lessons, there is also a trusting element that all of the pieces will eventually come together. If we aren’t careful, though, we will miss out on the blessing in disguise. I am continually thankful for the unfolding journey along my teaching path and inspired by what awaits for me to experience next - and I’ll forever embrace the spontaneous road trip with my son.