Every heart has value

Practice and all is coming…

Speak from the Heart

That’s what Shri Pattabhi Jois said anyway… and I think much of the time, he’s right.

Public speaking for example. I used to be deathly afraid of it. I remember dreading giving presentations in grade school and speeches in middle school. In high school and college, it would often take me minutes to get up the courage to raise my hand to respond to a question – even thought I was positive I had the answer.

As someone who speaks in front of a class on a daily basis, it’s gotten a little easier over the years.  Lucky for me I get to practice a lot. I also try to pay close attention when listening to an inspiring orator, to the ways in which they light up a room. Usually, for me, it comes down to authenticity. If a speaker is talking about something they feel passionately about, their enthusiasm is contagious. You can feel it come through their bodies through their words. Their energy fills up the space around them and you find yourself leaning into the feeling of their voice. It doesn’t matter if they are speaking to a small group of students or an stadium packed with spectators, everyone feels held in captivation.

That is the kind of speaker I aspire to be. I don’t think I deliver on this level………. yet. But I’m learning. And I’m practicing. And I’m grateful to have students and followers, organizations and studios that give me the chance to practice this part of my craft.

I’ve learned that the most effective speaking comes straight from the heart, that no amount of organized note cards can substitute the integrity of direct, honest communication. To that end, I don’t force myself to speak about things I haven’t experienced first hand or explored on a personal level. I only tackle the philosophical tenants of traditional yoga if I have a personal anecdote which makes their application feel relevant to me – and so hopefully to my students.Speak from the Heart

It’s taken me living through an overflowing cup of human suffering to feel like I have any perspective of value to share with others. Some might think that for a young person I’ve had more than my fair share of trauma, but I choose to think that I’ve only given what I can handle. That perhaps it is part of my karma to live though this pain so as to better serve others. In any event, I’ve survived an abusive grandfather, the death of a husband, a divorce from another, the potentially terminal diagnosis of a parent, and my own plight with aggressive breast cancer. These are some of the things that have shaped me into the person I am today.

I’m certainly not saying that only people who have endured personal drama and trauma are the only ones who should be given a microphone. Nor am I saying that the sunny side of life: the love and laughter, successes and triumphs don’t have their own significant influence on the people we become, but I do believe there is a certain type of wisdom forged in the fires of pain. There is a deeper awareness the universal consciousness that binds us all. We begin to see that our hurt is not so different from our neighbor’s hurt. We start to feel our humanity as same, not singular. Through suffering, our compassion is amplified.

Be In Love with Your Life

While it’s true that some individuals are born into this life with clear purpose and passion, for many of us it takes a life-altering event to find the gratitude and mindfullness we need to lead an exemplary life. Once we surmount the insurmountable our hindsight is sharpened and we can look towards the future with clarity. We realize the value of being totally in love with our lives.

It was a privilege and an honer to speak at the Nantucket Historical Association yesterday. I enjoyed illustrating some basic yogic concepts with a few personal stories. I hope that my enthusiasm for my craft was evidenced both in my words and through the energy I tried to bring into the room.  I know my delivery was a little rushed. That I stumbled over myself a few times, and that there were several moments when I simply could not find the words I was searching for. But like one of the fathers of our modern day yoga moment says, “practice and all is coming”.

Food for Thought at the NHA

I promise to keep working on communicating, with authenticity, the things that feel personally and universally inspiring to me. In the mean time you may want to check out these more experienced and inspiring speakers on yoga, spirituality, creative expression, love and living an exemplary, miraculous life:

Seane Corn on an Enlightened Planet

MC Yogi on Yoga at TEDx

Michael Stone on a Deeper Materialism

Shiva Rea at Burning Man on the Origins of Movement

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