I befriended my monkey mind…let me explain. Those who are familiar with Hinduism and the epic Ramayana know the monkey-headed deity, Hanuman, very well. Lord Hanuman symbolically stands for pure devotion, complete surrender and absence of unhealthy ego or the lower self. Although he possessed supernatural powers, because of a curse, he would not remember them, and act as a normal person until someone reminded him of his greatness and encouraged him to use his powers for a just cause. I believe Hanuman is a representation of the human embodied life. We have forgotten the divine within; we have forgotten our greatness and we need someone to remind us.
My Hanuman leap of faith was becoming a full-time teacher. I learned a valuable lesson in letting go of who I thought I had to be, and trusting who I am. I learned to be okay with not knowing everything and still trusting I had something worth sharing (my individual gifts of sensitivity, vulnerability, empathy, and joy). With this blog space I am allowing my imperfections to be seen and hoping that the community I have built will love and accept all of me.
From the time I started grade school I was on the fast track. I was often pulled out of my regular classes to participate in “gifted classes”, such as Great Books and Math Masters. I received the highest honors in my 6th grade science fair and won every blue ribbon on the speech team. I took my course work very seriously and felt the need to be perfect in every area of my life. I graduated high school after 10th grade and began college at the age of sixteen. I believed that I had to accomplish x,y, and z in order to be successful, in order to be great.
Meanwhile I developed an eating disorder by twelve and started dabbling in drugs and alcohol by fifteen. I lost my best friend at twenty because she could no longer take me seriously, and I continued to destroy many more relationships as I navigated my early adult life. I have spent years trying not to feel; trying to escape the intensity of never being a human-perfect. Throughout my teenage years and twenties I fell victim to one addictive behavior after the next because it was easier to numb myself rather than to do the work and to face myself. My teacher once told me that the problem with drugs is that they can’t get you high enough. I had to really sit with this notion and realize that which I was turning towards wasn’t working anymore. My yoga practice had far exceeded my drug and alcohol use. I had outgrown a life too small and my old coping mechanisms were no longer serving me. Honestly, they were never serving me. I knew my practice was powerful, but I didn’t quite understand why. I didn’t realize that I was connecting with source; that I was returning home to my divine nature and experiencing myself as pure consciousness.
Yoga is a pathway home; to the heart of the human-being. My practice revealed to me all the ways in which I am perfectly imperfect. And through my practice, I am continuously reminded that I do not need to strive to be anything better or different then who I am. I am a spiritual being trying to live a human-embodied life. I am, and you are, Hanuman. So the question that my musing begets: have you ever forgotten your greatness? I am devoted to creating a world in which every being loves themselves, loves each other, and loves the world. Can you even imagine what life would be like if every being knew their gifts, knew their greatness, and then offered it back whole-heartedly? I see you, and I am here to help you remember.
May this practice always be of benefit.