I'd Rather Be Whole

Its June. Almost Summer Solstice. The heat is up. The sweat is flowing. The rivers in CO are high and mighty. The lawn mowers are going in the neighborhood. The kids down the street are selling lemonade. I have even turned on the air-conditioning a bit. I have been practicing a lot of strength in backbending lately. It feels good to sweat. It feels good to have time for a challenging practice. And of course my practices lately and still, at 14 weeks post partum, looks a lot like three-hour chunks of time where I am doing asana and nursing and changing diapers and eating a snack and doing more asana. And, I have come back to work more fully this month. So the heat here has turned up on all accounts. 

I am at present woefully "out of the loop" as it comes to the yoga world at large and in my own community. Honestly I have no idea who is teaching where and when. I have little workshops on my radar. I have minor interest in being in the know of yet more scandal in the yoga world. As I embark back into work this month especially in the online market, I am aware of how quickly one can loose traction when it comes to the algorithms we live in on social media. In full disclosure it was hard to "fill" the summer course we just started and in preparing, marketing and selling the course I found myself countless times feeling silly, irrelevant, frustrated, entitled, and like I could not keep up with a train fast passing me by and little heart to keep the pace of running behind it. 

Its hard to chase a train while nursing a baby at the same time. 

I am going out on a limb here but maybe you have felt this too? Or at least felt it before in a similar manner. Its hard to keep filling classes, trainings and workshops. Its a challenge to plan classes and show up for that act of teaching. But equally hard is keeping up with the social media. It seems we live in a time where traction on the internet yields funds in the bank account. But often has little to do with the qualifications, efficacy and potency of the teacher behind them and the teachings themselves.

It is easy to begin feeling irrelevant quickly when you (and by you I slide of course mean me) take time off for any reason-- motherhood, fatherhood, illness, sabbatical. We must stay on top of the proverbial game. In front of the algorithms. In the forefront presence of others consciousness. A kind of FOMO (fear of missing out) takes over, clutching the psyche in suffocating grasp. 

When we lean on the inherent sympathies, worries, and fears we might hook people but at what cost? Is it "Psychologically Sound" to pull on the thread of insecurities people already feel to fill a program? Is it ethical to capitalize on and monetize the instinct for voyerisom? 

Not to be a downer, but I really do ask myself these questions. I really put these checks in place when I do business. And because of that I am more reluctant than some to get on the next social channel. I am careful in language around selling.

My teacher was once telling me a story about her journey. I had asked her opinion about a business opportunity that seemed really good in the sense of it giving me a huge reach and platform but at the cost of selling my intellectual property. I was really enticed by the prospect but also concerned about what it meant in terms of doing my own thing fully. And lord knows I like to do my own dance. I am a terrible follower. Especially as a recovering yoga proselytizer. In her response to my query, she told me she had come to live by this motto and it is why she had been so meticulously contained in how she shared her work:

 "Would you rather be famous or whole? Choose wholeness."

When I look into my daughters eyes I see wholeness. When I spend all encompassing time with her I feel whole. When I teach to the right group of people at the right time it is whole. When I I practice on my own without fidgeting with cameras I feel whole. When I spend the weekend hiking I feel whole. When I spend more time in my life instead of documenting my life I feel whole. When I maneuver from mama to wife to lover to yogi to entrepreneur it might be tiring but it is whole--many layers--one person. 

Winning the algorithm race, "staying relevant", deriving free content, going to more workshops after more workshops after more workshops is not necessarily a path a wholeness. 

But maybe our practice is.

So bring on the heat. Bring on the sweat. Bring on the practice even if its 60 minutes in three hours. And no, I wont be documenting it with a camera and posting all the details.


Livia Shapiro1 Comment