There are no cool kids.
we are simply here
baring our selves, our bruised pasts and egos
our blind futures
we drink tea
and break down a pose into innumerably variable steps
We pour water down our nostrils to quiet our overactive minds
just long enough, perhaps
to get a glimpse of a flame
the whisper of an ancient note lying just
under the whistling
of our own constricted breaths
We are all here
of the same vital
energy, this Prána
the cells within our bodies
that blows the grass
and tells the trees to reach higher
The same energy
as the sun’s rays
sweeping away morning mountain mists
the same energy
that spins the heavens in unfathomably eternal rotations
We are all here
the same shared moment
the same intent
the same breath.
Greetings from Mt. Madonna Center. Today starts our second week in Yoga teacher training. The past week has been especially intense for everybody. On top of the philosophy-heavy curriculum, we practice Pranayama (breathing techniques), and Meditation for about an hour every morning, 1.5 hrs of Asana (yoga postures), and another 3-hr Asana workshop in the afternoon. Working with our bodies in such a fashion appears to stimulate the release a lot of stored memories. Many of my classmates have had intense emotional releases in the past week, and I have felt very vulnerable as well. A lot of old wounds have reopened, harkening back to childhood memories and past trauma.
For me, one of these prominent subjects that gripped my mind last week was the concept of “cool kids.” As children and teenagers, we are drawn to other classmates who seem to “have it all,” or carry an aura of “coolness.” We then cultivate both a respect for these people, and an opposing “inferiority complex” for ourselves. We think they’re so cool, and we are not.
As I’ve gotten older, a lot of these prejudices have fallen away. That kid might have the coolest new kicks, but… something something something. We begin to slowly realize no one is perfect. And that we are all cool in our own way. And there’s no need to envy anyone for what they have.
Easier said than done, of course. Last week, I found myself lonely and out of place. I had many questions about the existence of human suffering, on a cosmic level, and a much more personal one. I had no answers, and when I asked, was turned away, to move inward. More than once I considered leaving.
I stuck around, of course; those who know me well know I don’t give up easily. And big questions always get my gears going. I began to talk and share with my classmates. I meditated on the present moment. I thought of the infinite ways that I am fortunate. Then on Friday night, after class, we had a wicked dance party.
Writing has also helped me to process these thoughts. Yesterday, I felt compelled to share my writing with my classmates, after hearing others share their intense emotional output. I know that a lot of us have been going through the same thing - emotional turmoil, a sense of displacement, home-sickness, apprehension about the future, etc. We are all experiencing many of the same symptoms of such an intensive and spiritual curriculum. And there is no shame in admitting this now, only solidarity. Without our normal support systems of friends and family, we students only have each other.
So here’s to another 2.5 weeks of looking inward, finding the truth that lies within. And dance parties.