Why do I Teach?
Waterfall of words
It took me some time to appreciate the change of seasons in Oregon. Born in Mexico, I took the sunny days for granted. It is after 6 years and many Mary Oliver poems that I appreciate the rain, and the nuances in the weather as the year and the earth are transformed.
Transformation is what has been happening in my life, and I’m sure, in every person’s life. I can see the changes in my body-not as young anymore. I remember memories, I think of what remains, when the day begins to “wrap it up”.
My father had his finger cut while working with cattle, I was wearing a pink sweater while I saw him coming back home, standing on the back of a truck, when I was five. My mother is a karate black belt, and would come home with a blackened arm, proud of having beaten a few strong men, in class. I didn’t have a pet, as a child, and I convinced myself that one cat who used to walk on our roof was mine, I got all scratched and my face was bleeding as I tried to hug her. Why are these memories the first thing that comes to my mind? And of course, breast cancer.
It is how we survive, it is the skills that we develop, the times when we breathe…again. It is the determination to be present today, right now, it is the courage to say yes, to brush our teeth, and even floss, although it takes so long, and it is tedious, sometimes. Our stories are one story of seasons evolving, of leaves growing and changing colors, then falling, something blooms and then drops to the ground, dissolving into the soil, and is reborn again.
I think of William Stafford’s poem, “There is a thread you follow…don’t ever let go of the thread”. And then there is the question: “Why do I practice yoga?”, and even further: “Why do I teach?”, and of course, the question: “Who am I?” Or maybe it is just the same question, but with different words and sounds, like when my cat, Shakti, complains, or some (sounds/words) like now, when I can hear her subtle, gentle snoring as she sleeps.
But the question is always present. And we wake up in the morning, and I also have a friend, like many other people, who decided she didn’t want to wake up. But I wake up, and I want to, I want to breathe this breath today, I want to remember how to breathe. And then, of course I want to share. My enthusiasm is so big, so beyond the skin of this body, that I have to share, and I did learn how to teach and this is what I do. I learn so much. Should I be called a learner, then? Who is the teacher?
Everything is. I have two sons and they are for sure my teachers, and then my yoga teachers, who were learning other things and our paths cross and there is this moment of recognition, of saying, “I’d better stay here for a while”, maybe a short while, and maybe a very long while.
And there is breath itself, we can stay there, here, for as long as it takes. One, or a handful of lives.
There are words that try to say something, like these waterfall words that I write today, there are some other words that are sacred, and that we repeat closing our eyes and opening our hearts.
And then, what? Silence, the ultimate mantra, the sacred sound, the conversation with god.
I want to be here, today. I want to dissolve into that light.