For me the terror had little to do with standing in front of people, but more to do with feeling and experiencing everyone in the audience. The sensations were so overwhelming that it was impossible to keep a steady grasp on what was happening.
So I kept studying. And studying. “Just one more thing, and then I can teach.” Little realizing that within the sensation of others I was blocking my own sensations through self judgement of what I had to offer.
Several months before my mom died, she put her hand on my arm and said, “exactly when are you going to do the things you said you would do? The dreams you have are still here.”
Mom introduced me to yoga when I was 6, and while we we only practiced it as movement before saying the rosary, it still intrigued me. When she died, I was in the middle of leading a 40 day meditation on the finite and infinite characteristics of love. She had an aneurysm several hours before the first 5: 30 a.m. meditation started, and died 5 days later several hours before the evening meditation.
That meditation on love led to a profoundly deep exploration of love over the next 2 years, with many more losses in relationship and in life with a miscarriage, culminating in the moment where down on my knees I could go no further.
I enrolled at Kripalu for their 200 hour yoga teacher training and embarked on a year long journey. Some say that when losing a baby in utero, you spend the next year showing them the world. Isabella indeed saw the world. She is buried now, in the earth and in the heavens, and in my heart as a source of inspiration. She inspired me to land in the position of teaching yoga before the Vipassana meditation teachers of Jonathan Foust, his wife Tara Brach, and their fellow senior teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC, Hugh Byrne.
While I still feel and experience everyone and take it all in, I am aware of a vast amount of love available to give and the ability to transmute and be with what is presented in the moment while teaching. When I taught yoga the other night, I burst out laughing several times in the class, the energy of love that poured through me and came back to me was as my 7 year old son would say “heart ticklish”.
And even with life in all its wacky up and downs, all the trauma and blasts of pain, grace is here and continues to flourish. I ended that love meditation of several years ago the other night when I stood up to teach and gave my heart over to the soul that has been calling to me to speak. I called myself out, took everyone in, and breathed out love. It was all I had, and it was all that mattered.
May in your day you find your authentic voice…may you listen and act…may it be in service to all.