The first days of spring are upon us–though you wouldn’t know it living here in fickle weather Washington, DC. Be that as it may, spring conjures up the promise of renewal, growth and optimism. For me, the winter-to-spring transition is almost always accompanied by a perceptible upswing in mood, outlook and, most important of all, energy. 2013 is no different. In fact, I’d venture to say that this spring brings with it more than just a modest internal shift but instead a genuine sea-change in my life and future.
The term sea-change refers to a gradual transformation through which the form is retained but the substance is replaced. For all my Shakespeare nerds out there, the expression is taken from a song in The Tempest: “Nothing of him that doth fade, but doth suffer a sea-change, into something rich and strange.” From the outside I look very similar to how I did 8 months ago, save for the rhomboids I never knew I had and a greater dedication to getting pedicures. However, in the same period of time I have undergone a mighty profound metamorphosis.
In August 2012, I set out on an 8-month path to becoming a certified yoga teacher. This past Sunday, I was handed the most important piece of paper in my life: my RYT-200 hour level Power Vinyasa Yoga teaching certificate. Now there’s a mouthful. I can literally hear my parents wincing all the way from Massachusetts as they read that my yoga certification has surpassed my GWU degree in International Development Studies, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Fulbright in terms of lifetime significance. Mom, Dad: I love you and I’m sorry. Thank goodness they’re genetically programmed to love me unconditionally.
I have gotten to do many amazing things in my life. From living in France and Senegal to tackling the icy slopes of Cotopaxi in Ecuador and 14,000+ foot peaks in Colorado, I have ventured far and high in my first 26 years. These experiences were life-changing and pretty darn cool to boot, but they’ve got nothing on this journey I’m on.
All of the support I’ve received throughout the course of this training from my yogi peers, teachers and mentors, as well as my friends and family has been so crucial. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. This path has been one of the most challenging in all my life but it is also this path that has equipped me with the tools needed to ride the waves of life with grace–both the glorious crests and the hidden undertows.
The first steps of this journey (and man oh man is this just the start!) have left me strong, resilient, and more mindful than I was before. I still have my work cut out in terms of navigating the baggage the practice of self-awareness inevitably unearths, but I know that process will only make me a better teacher and healer for my students–and lighter!
What comes next is the unknown. Beautiful opportunity and frightening instability all rolled up in one. Gaze fixed forward, I’m surrendering with enthusiasm, embracing the invisible path ahead.
On the note of surrender, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite Rumi poems. Though intended for the summer-to-fall transition, his final words in “A Necessary Autumn Inside Each” are ones I intend to carry with me into the nascent days of spring as I embark on my untold destiny:
Very little grows on jagged
rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up
where you are. You’ve been
stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.