Standing on the shoulders of others – the foundation that was laid so that I could build…

I was sitting in contemplation thinking about lineage this morning. I must admit that I was there because of something that I was experiencing frustration with.  In a small town, I often feel like things aren’t acknowledged. But perhaps this is more of blanket statement in life. In a society where honouring those who came (alive or dead) before us isn’t really high on the priority list, I can understand why this simple yet integral act of honouring gets overlooked.

From the big things like unconditional love, holding space, and helping me realize; to the little things like words, or phrases that are more succinct than my own. I do try to honour you in the moment (by saying “One of my teachers used to say, or I learned this from…”), but sometimes there’s a bigger honouring to be had.

So here’s my honouring of the many amazing people who have helped me in pivotal moments in my practice, and who came before me, did their own work, so that I may learn from their wisdom and in turn better understand what was within.  To these people, there are no words to express how you’ve changed me, for the better, forever; helped me be clear when I was unsettled. This is not a complete list of training and teachers, but the ones that were there with me during a transition, a time of growth – whose teachings either helped me through it, or spurred it on.

The funny thing is is that many of these honourings might not even remember me, but I will always remember them.

To Alison Brown – my very first in person yoga teacher. (Before it was books, magazines and Wai Lana on TV). You encouraged me to teach and answered the borage of questions I first had when I was beginning. You offered me my first opportunity, my glimpse into this beautiful practice.

To Nicky Knoff -My first teacher trainer.  A hard-ass teacher, whose strength and wisdom that I still drawn on today – 17 years later. I am still unpacking and using your insights today. You also showed me that asana was available at any age (she had her 63rd birthday at the training).

To Tamela Hart – You helped me deepen and take my practice off the mat and into life. The hundreds of hours and conversations over tea about life, integrity, and presence really supported me into coming into my own. Your support and love has really meant a lot to me.  Thank you!

To Judith Hanson Lasater – You taught me about the kind of teacher I wanted to be, and even more importantly you shone a light onto such a beautiful way of expressing that I always knew existed but hadn’t experienced. I learned so much more than restorative and anatomy.

To Stephen Garret and Shaeah Love (and Illumination Intensives crew) – You were there when the light bulb went on, the moment when I realized who I was – when I hit someone else over the head and got the biggest wake up ever. Your unconditional love, humour and realness helped me find my realness.  This was when I discovered I wasn’t my thoughts, one of the most freeing moments in my life.

To Shiva Rea – Your Trance Dance Teacher training was the first time I had experience being moved by life in the physical postures, and something other my thoughts on what the pose should be. It was because of your insight and wisdom that I was able to feel what it was like to lift into handstand effortlessly and to experience humility in such a full way.  It is because of you that I sit here writing today, your words of “Use whatever you want from my training but please just reference me – it’s keeps us connected and the lineage strong” (or something to that effect).

To Jennifer Harris – For the hours of unconditional love and insight as we made our way through tearful, joyful, fulfilling, revealing, vulnerable dyad after dyad. Reminding me that there are beautiful ways of being. This was a yoga that took me deeper into settling and realness than any.

To Dr. Mike Cohen of Project Nature Connect – you gave me the words to express something that I had felt deep inside for my entire life, a space to express my love for nature and myself.  I believe that if I had this experience taken away from me, I would forever be tormented and unclear.  In coming to PNC, I found a home.

To Susi Hately – Your work has given me an actionable language and way of working with something that I have known for years but just wasn’t able to piece together on my own. Your wisdom has allowed me to become effective and insightful with movement…something that I was craving but couldn’t find the path.

But perhaps the three most important teachers are still left to honour:

To Mom – Your love, caring, heart and compassion laid the ultimate foundation for me to be sensitive, caring and compassionate with the world. I remember being so mad at you as a teenager occasionally (really it didn’t happen often) thinking I wish she would be on my side for once – but you always helped me see the other sides of the story, and helped me sort out my truth versus the reality of a situation.  Without this foundation of unconditional love, I wouldn’t be so easeful in life.

To Ray – The yoga of relationship is an interesting journey, one that really highlights what I need to work on. Your love, insight, listening skills, playfulness and heart have helped me to really settle into being whole and exploring the rougher edges of myself while still having support and love.

To Nature – I know you can’t read, but without your everyday presence in my life, I would feel less content. My meditation practice would feel hollow and my yoga would be a story.  The bigger reflection and connection that you allow instills a reality into my practice that is not available otherwise. Everyday you help me out of my head and into my heart, and remind me of life beyond the doings of human day to day stuff.

The insight that each of you has passed onto me has allowed me to build my practice, my awareness and settle into more of myself and build a practice that is success and fulfilling. There are no words, other than I honour you from the depths of my heart. Thank you!

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