Wednesday, November 28, 2012

my manila moment

A month goes by fast, especially so close to the end of the year. It’s been a mad Manila moment. Good mad. It's been quite a full experience. 

As a yoga teacher, there has been a lot of teaching—I’ve never taught so many classes before, maybe ever.  During peak season in Boracay, there would be 2 or 3 weeks so of intense work. But then it would always peter off to a manageable island pace. 

As a yoga student, there has been a lot of life lessons. And as usual, Manila has been an extraordinary classroom.

As difficult as it is, at times, to manage a hectic schedule, to negotiate traffic, to spend time with family and friends, to find time to rest let alone have a sustaining self-practice, I feel an incredible sense of joy being here.

I came home to share and this objective has been so greatly supported by the two studios (Urban Ashram and Yoga Manila) that have so warmly welcomed me for the short term, by some remarkably seasoned yoga practitioners who are willing to entrust me even in the most difficult positions, by those curious enough to try my themed yogasana classes—which didn’t fall into any of the usual categories at UA—and especially by those who came back for more.

It's no coincidence that the lessons I shared over the month’s teaching are the same lessons that I am also myself learning: establishing one's practice, grounding, centering, seeing one's inner light, accepting/embracing the self. 

I wish I could say that I was sharing from a vault of prevailing wisdom. But in truth it all comes from a crazy heap of life experiences, many mistakes, much fumbling. I feel encouraged to see how all the moments of falling, and with them all the moments of getting up, brushing myself off, and starting over seem to be really worthwhile.  Not just worth while--it almost feels like these are the moments that matter the most, that make the biggest difference.

I've also been greatly supported by family, my dad in particular. They have so beautifully adapted to me popping in and out of their lives and to my alien vegetarianism--vegetables are usually served with meat in the Philippines. They are so generous when I do come "home," they are a quiet force behind the work that I do when I'm here. It is such a boon to know that though yoga continues to be vague to them, they appreciate that it makes me a happy, more balanced person and family member. 

There's the Universe, of course, which continues to steer my "education," introducing me in the most opportune times to just the right person, bringing about just the right topic of conversation, bit of literature, chance meetings, or human drama. (Yes, dear, Universe, I am listening. I'm a bit hard of hearing sometimes, but I know you are there and that you are trying speak to me). 

Then there's me. That kind of sounds weird, I know. But I am supporting myself too. I haven't been so much alone with myself for a very long while. And this month has given me some precious personal time. In the car, during the wait in between classes, so many moments this month where it's just been... me. I have to admit being so much on my own does rattle me some and I have moaned about feeling lonely at least once. Still, I also feel it has been a good time. I've been talking to myself. Not in the strange skitzo way. My dialogues are mostly internal, though admittedly some are full on out loud conversations--usually in the car, there's a lot of time in the car in Manila. I've had some good heart to hearts with myself, some emotional purges, and quite a few pep talks. It's been really nice. I'm really enjoying my own company, my own head space.

In all, I'm loving this short Manila meeting. It's been an interesting dialogue with the city and with those who I have had the good fortune to cross paths with. There have been many points of connection and disconnection. There have been moments of flow. And some moments of obstruction. Despite the push and pull, I feel the positive effects of movement. I feel incredible gratitude for all that has brought me to this moment.

As I close this time, I feel satisfied that I have done what I came to do. I came to rest my roots in this crazy extreme land that I know more than any other--and that knows me, as well. I've gained support and strength from this hot mess of fertile land. I feel refreshed enough to pack my bags and continue forward on this inexhaustible journey.

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