Exotic as it was to teach retreats around Europe for 3 months it feels quite lovely come back home. Looking at the kids going off to school this morning I caught myself thinking that things will go back to normal now.
The mind is a funny one.
Back to normal? As if that had ever actually happened! Every time I feel prepared, every time I think I know what to do, every time I think I have it nailed, something unimaginable kicks in. Moreover, reality always seem to surpass the scenarios I manage to conjure up about the future. There is always more.
“Back to normal” is a concept. We use it to repress the fact that we are standing on a tiny blue planet moving through infinite space at an incredible speed with only a thin layer of transparent atmosphere to protect itself from collision. “Back to normal” is a way of repressing the radical fragility of being alive. Life is bursting with new variations; every new cell your body produces is slightly different from the last. By the end of today, most of the electrons making up the molecules in your underwear will have switched place with those making up the molecules of your skin. You are being born again every moment and there is no stopping it. Who am I to say that the tiny life of a Danish yoga teacher life will “go back to normal”? Who am I kidding?
A yoga teacher ought to know better. Yoga is a bit like water. It has no agenda, no preconceived ideas, no pre-planned route, no mold or form. It just encounters whatever is happening and takes shape according to what it runs through. Sometimes white and wild, sometimes it looks so quiet you could think it is standing still. But its movement can’t be blocked.
It is never “just another yoga class” because your body is different now than it was yesterday. All you need to do is take a moment to feel it. It is never the same teaching because the teaching changes like water depending on what it is passing through. Teaching yoga is always the product of an immediate body-to-body relationship, which cannot be pre-planned, cannot be figured out in advance. It can only be felt and responded to.
But even if we know better , we yoga teachers plan and prepare constantly. We buy plane tickets, we study, we practice, we spend a lot of time with our calendar. We have to. You can go to my events calendar page and see the grand scheme laid out for this autumn. It´s kind of a cute neurosis, really. We humans survive by pretending that tomorrow will match our expectations. That the plane will leave the ground, that the planet will still be orbiting around the sun, that we will still be breathing.
But once we actually get there, I guarantee you that it´s never going to be exactly as we imagined. Something new will – nilly willy – add itself to the mix and make a difference. We know this in our hearts, but we pretend to forget because it’s just too much to handle. Instead, we make up the story of “another day in the office”. As if that day ever arrived! If you pay attention, you can see difference seeping in everywhere.
The miracle is not how things change. The miracle is how things occasionally manage to appear stable! When the water runs so smoothly it seems to be standing still. Your life, your personality, your body, your another-day.in-the-office-experience is excactly such a miracle. Yoga is an invitation to explore the depths and currents underlying the miracle of your life.