A bit of background first. Sandy beach on Oahu is a bodysurfer's dream, the steep sand bar and steady swells combine to produce hollow barrels which usually pack a heavy punch. Water sucks back, energy builds, the crest peaks and then surges up and over, crashing down into a water and sand mixture that is maybe 1-2 feet deep. Reliving my youth in retrospect, bodysurfing Sandy Beach shorebreak is very much like my own experiences with chaturanga. There is a repeated rising and falling, a known dance with the self, accompanied by a parallel dance with the higher Self. Each individual wave, each chaturanga, is semi-satisfying but often indistinguishable from the next. And yet, the net sum of a session spent in the water or on the mat yields a singular whole, a unique point in time, an experience which becomes a memory.
I'll come back to Sandy Beach later.
Two emails received this week are worth reprinting, partly because of how they affected me, but more so as an explanation of what I need to work on.
"I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying Team Challenge. I appreciate the time that you take (Dave) to plan our workouts! I have never done anything like this in my life and I am truly enjoying it. These past few weeks I have seen myself accomplish things that I never thought were possible for a girl with Crohn's Disease. Thanks so much, & you will probably see me around next year. I'm loving it and we haven't even made it to Vegas yet...I can't wait!"and
"Thank you again today Dave, and I mean that personally- not with my CCFA hat on. Really cool to be a party of your first class taught, perfect opportunity for you to hone your craft on some open-minded friends and amateurs. Very cool experience relative to my past yoga sessions, everything from the setting to the music was a great fit.
You gotta let me know if you start teaching on a regular or even intermittent basis- I'd definitely come to your class again, the passion you have for it is contagious."It's pretty amazing to observe the effect words can have on the human heart. Word selection, tone, delivery, context, and especially intent all combine to exert a force, much like that wave at Sandy Beach, that affects me. It's often easy to brush aside these emotions, just as it's easy to ride wave after wave and not pay attention to the last one or the next one. And it's just as easy to overlook the risk that words and waves have, until something disastrous happens, a friendship disintegrates, or a physical injury is sustained in the water. My parents always used to stress out about Sandy's being the spinal cord readjustment center of the US. And certainly my own experience with words and particularly their negative effects has taught me all sorts of lessons. Words can be intense. The words above affected me greatly, primarily because they were unsolicited but also because of how succinct they are. And while they say more about the sender than the recipient, their net effect on me is substantially more than I expected.
So how does this all relate to what I need to work on? If I set the stage right, you might be confused, you might not follow my train of thought yet. And that is precisely what I am good at, presenting a confusing, overwhelming, lengthy description of my convoluted thoughts which takes a lot of mental energy to decipher. I think my mom realized this when I was 10 as I tried to explain to her how to repaginate a document in Word Perfect (remember those pre-Word days of "word processing"?) I have never been a good teacher, in fact, I've been told many times exactly how lousy I am at it. I'm a doer. I take action. I push the limits. I ride the edge. I was not born with the ability to tell anyone "how".
My sister has tremendous innate leadership and the ability to connect to individuals from all walks of life. I am different. I think we got opposite pairs of genes from our parents. My sister actually ran a small yoga business out of her home a few years ago, before marriage and children. My sister can nonchalantly shred on the mat, yoga is a perfectly comfortable home for her, an effortless extension of her Self. While my sister was doing all of this, I was a quintessential tri-dork, with dreams of Kona which, once fulfilled, gave way to dreams of fast marathons, which broke away and funneled me into dreams of ultra which may not be completely dead yet, and eventually landed me on my yoga mat. There exists quite a bit of comfort for me in athletic pursuits, I know how to push myself, I know how to not quit, it is the world of the known, the oddly comfortable.
Rewind, and take a slight detour...
Watching my father's progression and obsession with ballroom dancing has been a real life lesson for me. I did not understand it at first, but it makes tremendous sense to me now. At retirement, some people long for complacency, a routine schedule, an easieness. But for many of us, when we stop growing, we start to die. The Easa genes do not allow sitting still, for better or for worse. We are workhorses, from my grandfather selling goods door to door out of his suitcase to my father's sacrifices in neonatology, to my sister's ruthless schedule of childcare activities. When we go, we go all out. It would be unnatural for any of us to stop placing hurdles in our path just to see if we can jump over them. Despite no background, despite a surgically repaired knee, despite a complete lack of need, my father chose to pursue and excel at dancing. And now he has absorbed it, now he is pretty freaking good at it. The work shows. His reinvented Self is as shiny and brilliant as the Dr in Dr. Easa ever was, and probably at this point substantially more impressive than any of his accomplishments on the tennis court.
So, now it's time for me to get on point.
And yet, we've already arrived. This entire post _is_ already the point. If I were to ask any of my 3 regular readers of this irrelevant blog what I need to work on, the answer would be unanimous and immediate. Let's not even sugar coat it today, I did enough of that with those two quotes above.
That's it, exactly it, I don't even need to type the word "nutshell". That is my feedback from yesterday's first yoga class. That is my feedback from my own self analysis of my life. That is my challenge, what I want to improve upon, my personal growth opportunity. It is not my area of expertise, and yet I covet so dearly those who can express themselves in simple words that have great impact, just as my father covets the effortlessness of his dance instructor's grace. I'm petrified of this. I have no idea "how" to get there.
Take a look at what I've just done. I've taken a clear and obvious statement of fact, one that just about anyone who knows me realizes intuitively, and anyone who meets me can figure out in 5 minutes, and then I turned something obvious into a multi-page, barf-o-rama of a post. It's so easy for me to make unnecessary additions, so hard for me to subtract. The restless earnestness comes out of me just like the waves rise at Sandy Beach, with ferocity and often overwhelming volume.
My communication skills are the precise opposite of a bumper sticker.