Last week, I pulled out my old yoga teaching journal to find a quote to share on social media. As you can see below, this journal has been well-loved. It's filled with classes that I've prepared over the past year and readings. I immediately noticed a quote from the great Donna Farhi, one of my favorite teachers.
I opened my copy of Farhi's Bringing Yoga to Life to double check the accuracy of the quote. As I paged through it, I looked at sections that I had underlined and notes that I had taken when I first read the book a few years ago. It was so interesting to see where I was at that time, a year after I'd started practicing yoga regularly and a year before I began yoga teacher training.
Farhi just nails it, time and time again. There is a lot of wisdom in the yoga scriptures and the texts that have been written about yoga over the years, but honestly, a lot of them are written from a male perspective. Farhi speaks directly to me and to my experiences living as what some would call a "househoulder" yogi.
Paging through her words, I felt inspired to share them on this blog. This week, it's our first annual Donna Farhi week! Praise! I'm going to be pulling quotes from BYTL and processing them here with you. We'll start with the brilliant "box of monsters."
The box of monsters
Truth: I've had this quote in my binder for a while but I have never read it as part of a yoga class, fearing it might be a bit too dark or troubling to drop on people during savasana. But it's true for me that we are all walking around with this darkness, this fear, guilt, shame, craziness, addiction, whatever, in some form or another. Sometimes I think that part of our problem is that we stay on the surface too much in our daily interactions, in our yoga classes, in our relationships. We deny the box of monsters but it leaks out anyway.
What does it mean to be more than human? To be more than a body? For me, those words point to the existence of our soul, the only thing we can take with us when we die. I've read and realized that when we are born, we forget. We forget that we have this immense and eternal soul. Instead, we think. We think we're human. We think we're a body. We think we're our thoughts. When we die, we remember. We remember that we're so much more. Part of what yoga means for me, and what I think Farhi is saying here, is that we can learn to remember these deeper, hidden truths here in this lifetime. What if we didn't have to wait until the afterlife to realize our soul? How might that transform our human experience?
One of the things I've been working on in myself and trying to embrace is this mantra: DENY NOTHING. I have a box of monsters. I am an active participant in the horror show. I get sad. I cry. I give up. I get pulled into the same negative emotional habits that I've been trying to shake for what feels like a lifetime. I am trying to be more honest about that in this space of social media and on my blog because it's true. I have a vision of a more honest and deep social media. I know that when I look at people's pictures and posts that it's not the whole story. You know that saying, "Everyone smiles in pictures." It's so true. I smile a lot. I have a happy life. I could curate my online presence in such a way that I only show that part of my experiences. We all could. But I think that we are cheating ourselves.
I would love to see more honesty online. It's there, but I want more. I seek out people like Glennon Doyle Melton and Holly Whitaker and Laura McKowen because they post about the agony and the ecstasy, all of which is part of the true human experience. I feel like if more people were honest about the gifts AND the struggles, that humanity would be better off. When I read something that is true and sad and dark online, I feel an immense sense of connection and relief. "You too?" I think. "Thank God I'm not the only one."
And when I post something like that, it is so scary. I feel raw and vulnerable. That inside voice comes in and says, "Don't talk about this stuff. Keep it inside. Don't show anyone. What will they think?" And in the past, I would've listened to that voice. But now I talk back to it. "What if my writing this and sharing it helps one other person to speak their truth?" And that's it, I can't argue with that.
I wish you and your box of monsters a beautiful week. Come back tomorrow for more Donna!