Hi – A Request

Hi there! You are getting this message because you elected to follow my blog somewhere along the journey.

I am revamping my online presence, and in the process, brettonkeating.com will transition to highlight my yoga, barre, and reiki offerings. I am consolidating most of my writing onto my other page, whitecottonrose.com. I send out a monthly newsletter, full of words + art—it is a fresh breath of life, what I find inspiring in the moment, and a way to stay connected with like-minded individuals. If you are interested in subscribing to this and staying up to date on my words, please click here.

Thank you for your support of my work, and please do stay in touch!

With love,

Bretton

only art will understand

I feel myself going crazy again today, in the way that only art will understand.

If I can just catch a word, a shape, a color long enough to make something of it. Maybe then it will begin to make some semblance of sense.

Or likely it never will, which I may as well accept sooner than later. Not for my own sanity, per se, because I most certainly had none to begin with. Nor for peace of mind, exactly, but rather for a hope. A hope of what, I’m not so sure, but perhaps solely for the hope of living.

Some brains weren’t meant for logic; some bodies weren’t designed for reason. And I will never deduct the yes’s and no’s of my heart. Instead I will continue to live the only way I know how. By fever-drawn dreams and scratches in sand leading to a place I can only hope feels like home.

It feels like a feeling I will never quite capture. A sound on the verge of being heard. I caught a hand today and was surprised at how close she was there. I thought her a vision I would never quite touch.

I now lie sideways, in a carriage, and type.

The words flew by yesterday, and then again today, and I didn’t catch them fast enough.

Isn’t that how it always seems to go?

What they don’t tell you, beforehand, or even during the adventure, is how mad you must be to partake. They don’t tell you the feelings you’ll experience on the way, skipping along the yellow brick road to nowhere. I’ve floated the abyss for too long. I don’t know how to return.

I paused the screen right before the movie turned real.

I covered my ears just prior to hearing the scream.

I shaved away pieces only to uncover more underneath. More what? I’ll never know.

I didn’t hit save, and all was lost.

The masterpiece slipped through detached fingertips. I wasn’t yet ready. I was born ready.

There are others like me, of that I am convinced. Yet no two of us are the same.

We only feel at home in the ocean. Press your head back far enough, and you can float.

We need each other, desperately, yet we need no one at all.

We crave stillness only to discover, when it comes, that our heart screams a perfectly silent sound.

We tiptoe on the edge, shadowy sunset of a dance, wondering why no one else has joined us on the cliffside. Don’t they know the beauty down below? Or can it only be seen by our (very blind) eyes?

I sleepwalked my way through a world built of numbers.

This morning bright red blood dripped from skin worn away, first by relentless itching, and then infection that spread, stealthily, within.

The ceiling was white; it shook me awake.

Energy buzzed in the walls directly before disaster struck.

Nobody thought to give rest to the water. It ran for hours through a drained-dry pump before the lightest of touches brought it back again.

A chainsaw serves as unforeseen backdrop. Construction’s sounds and smells, a place for one weary head to rest.

Three misfits curled together, late of course, but for what, none of us knows.

The ball continues to roll and I just may have reached a giant circle with my arms.

Side stretches are the kind that feel best, right now.

I’m not sure what I’m doing here, and I don’t know what I’m not doing here, either. But I do know one thing. I finally feel ready, today, to get back to work.

It feels like kneeling a stone’s throw from the answer, yet knowing deep down that there is no answer. There’s only life.

My fingers were made to move and my wild heart’s song beats against unprotected ribcage. Spirit plagued by an eternal escapist, craving to get out. And then just as suddenly, self-imposed walls come crumbling down.

to the magically unrooted: reasons we belong

to the magically unrooted: reasons we belong

I know it doesn’t feel like you’re quite a fit. Here, or anywhere.

I know the pain of this feeling. How deeply it scratches beneath the skin.

I know how you drift through worlds neither real nor unreal, with starry eyes and a soft smile.

I know how throughout the roamings and the wanderings, you feel initially enchanted and then eventually saddened by yet another not-here, not-me, not-now. There always comes a time to move on.

Oh, how deeply I know the feeling of loneliness in the midst a crowded room.

The ache of not fitting and the heart-rending agony of never feeling at home.

But I also know this, firmly: you belong. You carry a home from another planet perhaps, deep within your chest. This home never leaves you behind, no matter how many places you’ve left. The further you run, the stronger its whispered song grows.

Your heartbeats will eventually find (or, if it hasn’t yet come into existence, create) an earthly place that makes so much sense, you know it was written just for you. It’s only a matter of time.

And until then, you will continue to find home in the ethereal. The shimmer of water over rocks. The way the sunlight falls into her eyes, just right. A quick, sideways glance over his new yet familiar shoulder, to make certain you’re still there. At least for this moment. And you are. You’re more grounded than you think.

The mark of true groundedness is stability without roots. Carrying the shell of open existence over mountains and oceans. Flying freely wherever the breeze goes.

I believe some of us become stuck.

We stop listening to the wind and the water, to the sounds of the earth. We believe we need certain things or ideas or knowledge built up like towers around us for comfort and protection. Not you. You are free of all of that. Because years ago, you discovered your castle was made of glass. And with the swiftest of kicks, everything you once thought you knew came shattering down.

Now you dance, freely, with the full realization that you know nothing. There is nothing, really, to know. There is only remembrance.

This ability to tiptoe along worlds you cannot describe, only feel — this is beautiful, and we need this. Each and every one of us does.

The ability to feel, not only for ourselves, but also for those surrounding us — what a magical gift you offer.

It may not seem as such, many and most days. It may feel like a burden you carry upon shoulders that never seem to drop. But one day, those very same shoulders will find the person or place in which they can finally let go. Carried to the home that fits every piece of its perfectly (mis)matched puzzle, your heart will fly open again.

And until that happens, know this: you belong.

You belong in the way you channel your raw emotion into art. In the way your art becomes and remains an expression of life itself. You belong in the way you take notice of little moments and big ones, sometimes forgetting everything in between, but that’s okay because you will remember what needs to be remembered, and not a moment too soon.

You drink too much coffee and sleep too little, some seasons. All to serve your work. The expression of your being.

You fall in love easily and often, with many people, places, and things. Most of all with those that seem to match your energy. But energy changes with the wind, and so you tend to get hurt easily too. Always remember that just as you fall into it, you fall out of love just as easily, and often, perhaps.

And in spite of all this falling, in and out, up and down, above and even (maybe) beyond, you continue to hold a small shimmer of each person, place, or thing you once loved or still do currently, in your heart.

Moving through the world in this way, intricate dance of a jolted dimension, you frequently feel separate, as though you aren’t a part of it all. You were dropped here by accident. You belong with no one person, in no one place.

I cannot tell you how false this idea is.

Society and some of its variant members have striven to make you feel this way. Disconnection creates a sense of power, the false blanket of security. When we’re disconnected, both from each other and from a source of truth, we don’t stand fully in our own right to exist, just as we are.

And you, darling, absolutely belong.

You belong in the crevices of the mountains you climb. You belong floating on the water’s surface at the brinks of sunset. You belong lying in grass so fresh, it leaves its mark in thirsty skin for days or weeks or months or years.

Because if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that we creatures of the Earth, we’re not meant to be alone. We belong together. And you may feel like an outsider here, yet you are the one at whom children smile, with a knowing glance. You’re part of their world. Dogs become calmer in your presence. The butterfly ceases its fluttering just long enough to land, for a pause, on your tiptoeing finger.

I watch you sit, on the edge of your seat, in joyful anticipation of all we have left to hope for. About to dance into the next fleeting moment. Who knows what it will bring? No doubt, it will contain rain droplets of art, and beauty, and pain, and life.

People like you, the magically unrooted, able to fly from place to place, person to person, moment to moment, are necessary here. To remind us all, no matter how far we go, and despite everything we encounter in between — the suffering and joy, heartache and happiness — each of us is already home.

 

This piece was published on Rebelle Society

creativity is life itself

creativity is life itself

I was once told I have an unhealthy attachment to creativity.

This comment made me angry, which then made me proud because I spent centuries numbing myself from anger. Sometimes it just feels good to feel something again. After the initial, three-second anger burst wore off, I stopped to think, and then I laughed.

In reality, creativity is the essence of who we are.

The opposite of creation is not destruction; it’s death.

Destruction, or the breaking down, the demolition, the annihilation of what must be destroyed, is an essential step inherent in the process of creativity brought to life.

I think the person who made this remark may have been referring to art.

Maybe I do have an attachment to my own artistic process. But maybe that’s because my art is less about what I make and more about uncovering who I am. And this road of self-discovery is one that I absolutely, without a doubt, cannot stop treading. My very life depends on it.

We all wear masks that we’re taught to don from before we can walk. Be the happy, smiling, good girl. Go ahead and say yes. Eat everything society serves you with a big ol’ thank-you-more-please without stopping to question who or how you’re being taught to live, and who or how you would be without any such teaching.

When we break down the masks and destroy the shells, what is left underneath?

I’m finding the deeper I go, the more of an artist is there, clawing and screaming her way out.

And there are so many available mediums, the entire world becomes the artist’s playground. From the human body to food to spreadsheets to paint to anything else you use to shape the world around you. That, dear friends, is creativity.

Maybe I won’t use paint and charcoal and movement and words as my mediums forever. Regardless, I will always have the drive to create, not because it’s an external action that I’m addicted to performing, but because creativity is who I am. We are all artists deep down, whether we choose to recognize it or not.

We all have the internal drive to build and shape and mold, ultimately with the greater intention of leaving our mark here.

And I believe anyone who denies their own inner creative sense has simply stopped listening.

We grow up, as children, scribbling and sketching away. Everything makes sense and all is sacred. We inherently understand the connectedness of it all, without having need for explanation or reason.

Somewhere along the way, we can often lose touch with this childlike sense.

I tend to attract people who want to reconnect to their creative selves. These people, many of whom appear to be in some semblance of a transition phase, seem drawn to me. They want to tell me of their ideas. They feel the need to express their artistic sides to me.

I, too, am an ideas person. I have about a million and a half a day. Some stick; many fly away.

I was in the midst of a difficult life transition, several years ago. Stuck in a rut, and lost along the way, my external situation had become me, and I felt it killing me slowly. My throat was closing. I lived in a landmine of pain.

At the time, I was living in so many ways according to how I had been taught to act rather than how I felt called from within. Throughout the process, I experienced hopeless moments, full of despair. I felt as though I was in over my head in life, and had no idea how to carve my way back to myself.

During this period, I met with a healer whose eyes lit up, when I told her how I had recently found myself immersed in art. I told her how my favorite pastime, of the moment, involved stopping in estate sales and on the sides of roads to select old wooden furniture or even a scrap here or there, before bringing my findings home to repaint and fix up. I painted each and every one of these pieces white. As she heard this, her eyes grew wide and she paused before proclaiming of the symbolism behind me transforming this old, worn-down, forgotten furniture. White.

Art, time and again, brings me back to myself. Art allows me the space to transform back into who I was before the world told me how to be.

Whether it’s painting a dresser in messy strokes of upcycled white or dancing or cooking without recipes or even just coloring in the lines of somebody else’s shape, art gives me space to be, without thought or judgment or reason.

Allowed to wander around the forest of my mind for too long, I would go mad.

When I’m creating, through words or colors or bodily shapes, my thoughts get out of the way of life happening. I am present. And I feel like my existence begins to make the slightest bit of sense.

No matter our belief system, creativity affords us a connection to the divine, if we are open to it.

Our creative urges and inklings needn’t make reasonable sense, for they bring us back to the childlike state, where all things were possible and reason wasn’t necessary for day to day existence. It just was.

All life is, by definition, creative.

Creativity is not an unhealthy attachment, a useless pastime, or something you need to suppress. Creativity is bringing form to life itself.

So despite what others tell you, about the impracticality of your creative dreams, I want to encourage you something different. For in connection to your creative self, you bring light and change and breath to the world. Even when the light you shine is on darkness itself. And in so doing, you give us all meaning.

We were not placed here by chance, but rather to stir positive change through what we create.

And that creation can take an infinity of forms.

For me, today, that form is an empty frame. Which, naturally, I’m painting white. The story behind it, as yet unwritten.

what dreams are made of

what dreams are made of

I write poems for people. At parks, cafés, craft shows, art markets, and even sometimes (rather creepily) on the bus.

I fell into this accidentally. Initially, I held resistance to the idea. I thought people would hate it, or that it would be too much pressure to write on the spot.

But then I gave it a try and found that I love being able to share myself and connect with others in this way. I love the look on people’s faces when the words give them the space to feel heard, or seen, even if just for one moment.

Despite my love for this endeavor, it still surprised me when, at a pop-up craft show, someone I met said to me that I am “living the dream.”

I’ve gone through phases where it felt like the life I wanted to live was falling into place, quite effortlessly. And in those fleeting moments I was quick to forget the years of hard work I put in, prior to the eventual flash of a free-fall.

It was easier to credit a mystical power operating behind the scenes.

In my experience, when things stopped falling into place, or it turned out the magic-seeming happenings all served part of hard fought, higher lessons I needed to face, I felt distraught and discouraged.

This was perhaps the hardest part. The initial leap was scary, sure, but the crawl that came afterward was a thousand times more exhausting. I felt like I was drowning, most days. Until it suddenly dawned that I had been swimming all along.

Despite my resolve to keep moving forward, stroke by stroke,  it still feels like I’m a ways away from any kind of dream life. So when someone else saw me living my (or maybe, even, his) dream, it caught me off guard.

There are common misconceptions I think many of us hold, about what living a dream means, and how it should or should not feel.

Because messages tend to appear in less straightforward ways, and often in patterns, one of the people who has taught me most about chasing dreams, my father, recently sent me a poem I wrote for English class, about this subject, when I was 12.

dream poem.jpg

Reading this I laughed. I remember stretching myself to come up with this idea.

I was never terribly interested in school. It felt too rigid for me.

And I somehow doubt that 12-year-old-me had a ton of experience, with dreams.

Or maybe she was just too busy living in a dreamland to accept the reality of what chasing her dreams meant.

Because you see, now I don’t believe a dream is like a scarf, at all, really. But I think this is an illusion many of us face. We grow up with an idealistic version of reality, where one day we will wake up with birds singing and the sun shining and everything as it should be.

We cannot wait to return to the dreamlike place our minds spin without end, of a life where everything feels perfect and effortless.

In reality, a dream doesn’t keep me warm, although perhaps it does offer the slightest glimmer of hope-filled light, in the cold, dark winter.

Dreams in their true nature meet us with a rush of wide-eyed awakening.

Once we take the leap into chilly water, the presence of our dreams, looming ever nearer, leaves us shaken, and stirred.

A dream will bring you right up against yourself.

As soon as we seek out the comfortable dream—you know, the one that seems to fall into place, well, that is when we can rest assured we’re in for a nightmare. Or in the very least, a rude awakening.

Dreams should not feel comfortable.

From comfort, breeds complacency. And stagnation is the opposite of growth.

Growth comes from screaming muscles and tear-drawn eyes. From staring fear head on in a face first dive, allowing the panic to erupt in my chest before I move through the sensation, anyway. I have no other choice.

When we have a dream that calls for the chasing, there doesn’t appear to be an alternate plan.

Years ago I committed to living from heart over head. This has not been easy, rather it has been stock-full of lessons I needed, for whatever reason, to face. Writing poetry in parks has served a small piece in the puzzled picture of this deeper commitment to myself. Which I guess explains why I didn’t initially see it as “living my dream” – the real dream has roots that run further than I can tangibly comprehend. And despite having the poetry-writing opportunity, that I am grateful I have been called to pursue, truth be told, there are still other factors in my life that I am waiting to “fall into place.”

I doubt this will ever cease to be the case.

Sometimes we spend years climbing a hill, for a once-in-a-lifetime view, only to realize, once we get to the top, there’s another hill calling us by name, down the road.

A dream is always a relative experience from the vantage point of current standing. Hence my surprise when it appeared, in someone else’s eyes, that I was living mine.

Perhaps so, from where he stands. In my mind, I’m forever still chasing the deeper meaning of the dream.

In this chase, we shed every unnecessary layer, including those composed of the things, both physical and intangible, we may or may not have grown up with. Because the true testament to how badly we want something is what we are willing to give up.

We let go of everything that does not align with our dreams, and then some. For in the end, the whole point is not, actually, the dream, itself. What we have been seeking all along is appreciation for the chase.

So, as the finish line nears in sight, we realize we long ago gave up our dream to begin with.

It was never about fulfilling yet another goal or achievement. It has always been about the journey.

Because the one similarity, I would say, between my 12-year-old, idyllic version of a scarf-dream, and what I understand of dreams today, is this: I firmly believe dreams are meant to be held (or, tied) loosely.

See where they fly, on their own.

A dream wrapped too tight chokes the words from my mouth.

A wish want with fervor contains no solid roots.

And we all need a grounded place to find nourishment. The substance that turns dreams into reality stems from Earth.

So we watch, as our dreams sprout and change shape and form. The textured body, once wisp-like, becomes hot lava. And then another day, it appears as a smattering of color unlike any we’ve seen before.

This new dream, in its assortment of shapes and sizes so different from that which we previously imagined, may even frighten us, a bit.

That is also, as it should be.

So for all you other dream-chasers who feel discouraged and worn down on the path, know that you are not alone. And when it gets exhausting, or even terrifying: good. Let’s together commit to continue moving forward.

I find, the closer I get, to any particular dream, the more urgently I want to run, or even to fly, away.

Fight or flight is real and it does not dissipate with time. The phantom appears, stronger, than before.

But, so am I.

And, I am ready. For my ever shapeshifting dream and its infinity of outpours.

learning to hold hands with myself

IMG_5489Right now I’m in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Every morning, I practice in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Out on the deck, facing the ocean. Open air above me, I make shapes and play amidst the salty breeze. I gaze forward and witness the horizon extending out into infinity directly to my front.

Yet this morning, I had a visitor join me on my mat. A black fly, just like the biting pests who nearly forced me off the beach our first day here with their relentless stings.

And as I moved through the practice, the more frustrated I became with this uninvited visitor. Although he was somewhat courteous in that he did not bite me directly, he continued to skirt around my body, traipsing through the open-faced poison ivy wounds on my arms.

I began to stomp and cry out. Tears forming at the corners of my eyes, I shouted, “Fuck you fly, get off!” So yogic of me, right? But one thing I’ve found in my years of practice is yoga is nothing like the cover of a magazine. It is a messy, salty, sweaty, living beast that changes shapes and form as consistently as the changing tide, and all too often involves curse words and the occasional toddler-reminiscent temper tantrum. Because that is real life.

And then I remembered where I was. I realized the fly was taking me out of the experience of the ocean, the natural beauty all around me. I blew my nose to find a passage to breath again and then allowed the air to carry me, returning within and moving forward despite the distractions.

There will always be a fly. The flies are the doubters, the disbelievers, the ones who nag at you and tell you that you’re not good enough, just as you are, in this moment. The flies are the ones who don’t understand what it’s like to be in your body, your soul, your spirit. So they attempt to take you out of yourself. They don’t understand, so they continue to swarm, possibly catching a glimpse of the light that you emit from within, and craving more. They come ever closer, yet they do not stop their incessant buzzing.

Just the other day, I asked my family members to read a story that I worked on for the past two months. This morning one of my family members told me he had finished it. He told me he liked it, and then told me no less than twenty things I need to change about it.

It’s important to have people who push you forward, toward growth. But from where I stand, it feels like there are twenty things I need to change about myself, in order to be able to communicate with other people. And that’s the part that hurts, deeply. I could not convey this feeling to my family member in words, so I just began to cry. He responded by saying it makes him uncomfortable when I “get emotional” about things that are simple. But it’s not simple. It never has felt simple to me. It feels overwhelming, like I don’t know where to begin, and words don’t even begin to capture what I feel inside. It’s like the ocean. I can try however I might to put words to the vastness and the beauty, the ethereal existence. But the written description always seems to fall short.

Right now in practice, marichyasana b has been the bane of my existence for a few weeks. I struggle with the bind. My teacher tells me I have the strength and the flexibility; I just need to learn how to hold hands with myself. I believe it’s all connected. Practice, life, writing, love. All intertwined and maybe my hands don’t quite reach yet, but I can continue to wrap around in whatever way I can, and try my best to take things one at a time. Learning to hold hands with myself.

lessons from a roach

This morning I entered the kitchen, as I do at the start of every day, to turn on the kettle for warm lemon water. Feeling a crunchy squish beneath my Birkenstock (although I prefer bare feet, I’ve learned to always wear shoes in my group house), a foreboding sensation overcame me. I thought “Oh no!” and glanced down, scraping the demolished cockroach off my sole. The little guy was a goner.

Since moving into this mid-19th century, lovingly disheveled home, the cockroaches, critters, and I have had an unspoken (obviously, bugs can’t talk) pact. I don’t hurt them, and they don’t hurt me. I have become a master at sweeping many a cockroach to freedom. I named the mouse that lives under our oven Gus, and secretly hope that he comes out to play (he’s quite shy) because I not-so-secretly think he’s the cutest little thing ever.

Other people don’t understand. I’ve been told I “don’t want to share my home with cockroaches and mice”, but the way I see it, they are the ones sharing their home with me. Today, I felt genuine sadness about ending the life of Charlie the Roach (I just named him that, RIP Charles). His death also struck a strangely empathic note. Lately, more often than not, I have felt like the cockroach. Just trying to live life, maybe find a nice sunny spot on the floor, and then bam! – squished (unwittingly) by some giant.

Such is the artist’s life I guess? I have zero clue. I’m really only writing about it because last night, during yet another late-night (okay, 8:30 pm) rant of confusion about what I’m even doing here with my housemate, she encouraged me that my experience would make a relatable blog. That and I squished a bug this morning, and the act inspired me.

PS this post is dedicated to Charlie, valiant former resident of Oakwood Terrace.

Last night, I had another nightmare. I’ve been having nightmares of a recurring theme since February. Where I run into my former “boss”, and yet again, she tries to take me down. One time it was stealing my laptop (to delete all my “stories”). Last night, I think she was trying to convince my family and friends to join forces and work for her. I rushed to their defense, warning them in the nick of time to stay away. She would, no doubt, take advantage of them, too.

The thing is, I know that what happened to me, when I went through my personal fairy tale nightmare (literally, I wrote fairy tales as my former job), is seriously no big deal. It was only a few months of my life; I was able to shake it off pretty quick. And I gained valuable life lessons through the experience. But until I let the story play its course, and go through the painstaking resolution of this drama – which, in my case, entails suing my former employer, for the salary she has yet to pay me – it will remain trapped in my subconscious, and I will no doubt keep having bad dreams about it. Ugh. Suing someone else is so not my nature. I mean really, I almost cried after accidentally killing a cockroach. But perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned since I jumped off the deep end, leaving the corporate world last fall, is if I don’t stand up for myself, no one else will. I have learned to rely on my gritty core. And keep moving forward.

I never wanted to be a writer. Similarly, I never wanted to teach yoga as a career. When my yoga teachers talked about how hard it is, I actually listened, and so I knew I would teach classes, but not full time. I grinded it out in my office job as a means of survival. But then last fall, it was like life suddenly no longer gave me that option. I now understand that when everything falls into place like that, and seems too good to be true, chances are, it is too good to be true. In fact, it is probably all a veil, lifted to reveal an incredibly challenging, yet necessary, lesson.

I never wanted to be a writer, because I knew it would be hard. Even when I was a kid, I knew it was a long, treacherous, and lonely path, one that I didn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole. My mom came home one day when I was about seven, with a giant desk she’d bought while antiquing. She claimed her imaginative daughter “needed a writer’s desk”. At first, I loved that desk, then we decided to get rid of it, because it impeded my play space. I decided I would rather play than write. Seven-year-old me had the right idea.

I found out I’m meant to be writing truly by accident. And then as soon as we discovered it (we being my former employer, and me), everything fell apart. She continued to pull me into her slippery slope of a rabbit-hole in which she dwells, messing with my psyche in a twisted way. Ultimately, we parted ways. I emerged from the rabbit hole, exhausted, defeated, and utterly lost. Since then, I have been navigating murky waters, unsure of where to go or what to do but knowing that I need to just keep swimming. To stay above water however I can.

I tell you this story not for sympathy votes or anything like that. I don’t need pity, or anyone to join my “side”. There are no sides here to join. In all honesty, I was probably the only other person who ever truly believed in the fairy tale writing business. Everyone I mentioned it to did not hesitate to speak his or her reservations. Consistently surrounded by doubt, meeting blind (albeit, naively so) faith must have been a shock to the system. And so it goes, the reactionary cycle continues. I discussed this with a good friend who is also a writer. He, too, experienced a strangely twisted experience, his taking him all the way to China, early in his career. Now, he approaches every contract differently. He knows the signs to look out for. I too, now understand how to listen to my intuition, when approaching these situations.

My purpose in writing about this is to speak from the only place I know how, which is right where I am, at this point in time. It’s like yoga – I can’t teach a pose that isn’t in my body. I can only write what I have lived, in the hopes that someone else somewhere has lived something similar and feels just a little bit of a connection through the words that I type.

So if you are where I am – if you’ve ever been taken advantage of, rejected (over and over again), run ragged, and made to feel like your contribution is worth very little (if anything at all), I want you to know, I feel your pain. And I continue to have hope for us. I continue to pray every day that this season of no’s is leading me toward to the one yes that matters. I continue to trust and have faith in the process, exactly as it’s unfolding. That is all I can do.

Last weekend I went to a teacher training, in which we talked about the difference between being a good teacher and being a popular one. Now, I know I am nowhere near being a good teacher. I have only been teaching a couple years; I’m still the definition of a newbie. There are classes I teach every week, to which no one shows up. Or sometimes, the only people who come are my parents. 100% serious. I know that I will never be popular, as a teacher, or in any other sense of the word. Sure, other people like me (at least, I think they do), but I’m far too shy and sensitive to be popular. All I can strive for is to one day be a good teacher. Or, at the very least, to continue trying.

Again, no sympathy needed here. I’d much rather not be popular. Through many a yoga class taught to just my dad, as well as blog posts written solely for my aunts’ eyes (love you guys), I have learned to judge my self worth not by how many other people show up, but by how I show up. Even when nobody comes (or reads), well, at least I put myself out there.

And amid the years of rejection, I have had major, glimmering breakthroughs that continue to carry me through. Like when a student who has come to my yoga class every Sunday for the past year and a half, told me that, because of learning how to deepen the breath, she felt an opening within her back. Being able to guide her through her practice, so that she can teach herself how to have an experience like that, well that, to me, is worth more than a packed room any day. Or the other week, when the three-year-old I babysit started teaching her baby doll (named Helmet…yes, I love the name too) how to do yoga in the backseat of the car. Those moments are pure gold. I will probably never speak to the masses, and I honestly don’t even want to. Because the impact I can have, on an individual basis, to me, means so much more.