The Stories We Tell: Open Doors

We all have stories, don’t we?  Our stories shape us.  They direct us.  I was going to tell you a long-winded tale about how I came to teach yoga but to be honest – it’s a yawn fest.

Let’s cut to the chase:  there have been times in my life when I’ve shown strength and power.  There have been times when I’ve curled up into a ball, terrified.  It’s the human experience.  But I’ve always tried to pay attention to open doors.  In Donegal, when the door to yoga teaching opened, I stepped through.  I was almost two hundred pounds and had trouble reaching the top of Port Road in Letterkenny without stopping for breath.  I had never taught yoga before.

To prepare for my first class, I listened to my teacher’s voices.  My teachers taught with humor and compassion.  That’s how I wanted to teach.  I remembered how their kind words and gentle instruction brought me out of my head and into my body all those years earlier.  I remembered how they opened my heart and changed my perspective.  That was the kind of teacher I wanted to be.  I wanted to open hearts.

I arrived at the housing estate in Raphoe, helped to push back the living room furniture and listened as exhausted mothers chased their children outside to play.  And then, as six women stood in Tadasana, I asked them to close their eyes….

I never looked back.

My point is this.  I wasn’t afraid.  Nervous?  Oh, heck yeah.  But fearless, too.

We’re taught to make peace with the past, not to dwell in it.  We’re advised to not worry about a future we cannot predict.  We’re asked to flow in the present.

But how?  I guess it comes down to this:  we can’t be afraid to step through the open doors, even if we’re unable to see what’s on the other side.

If I can abandon my craving for control, if I can embrace the flow of the present, if I can charge blindly through the open doors, then maybe – just maybe – I’ll discover once again the girl who danced with arm flailing reckless abandon.

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