I find it incredibly ironic that even though I am writing a series of posts about inspirational people, I would much, much rather hide behind a computer screen and not actually talk to anyone about what I am doing. It is terrifying! To stand up and say, “Hey, by the way, I’m a writer. And I’m writing about inspirational people. And oh yeah, I want to write about you, because you fucking inspire me.” It seems easy enough. People would be happy for me and honored that I want to talk to them and write about them. Right? I think the reason it is so hard for me is that it feels a little like bragging. Like I’m trying to be bigger than I am, more important than I am. But then I think, why is that a bad thing? Aren’t we all trying to be bigger and better than who we were yesterday?
Like I’m trying to be bigger than I am, more important than I am. But then I think, why is that a bad thing? Aren’t we all trying to be bigger and better than who we were yesterday?
If you’re a first-timer on this blog, you’ve just stumbled across a mini-series of posts about inspiration and people who have inspired me in my adult life. My plan is to publish a post on inspiration every Sunday – today’s post is a bonus post because I wanted to share how much more difficult this series has been than I thought it would be! Anyhow, if you missed it, the first person I wrote about was Jade Beall, photographer and creator of A Beautiful Body Project. This Sunday, I will be writing about one of my yoga instructors and how she – and the practice – helped me get through one of the most difficult periods of my life after a car accident.
So I figured if I’m going to write about people – especially people I know – then I should probably talk to them about it, first. Right? Seems like the right thing to do. But being the introverted writer that I am, this is quite the task! When I wrote the post on Jade Beall, I didn’t actually have to approach her because I don’t personally know her (we just live in the same town) – so that would just be weird. I did send her an email but that is way different than a face-to-face.
Once I decided to write about J, one of my yoga teachers, I knew that I would have to talk to her about it before publishing a post. But she’s in that weird realm of acquaintances that you know on a somewhat personal level even though you’re not friends and you don’t hang out. I also hadn’t been to one of J’s classes in quite a long time (she mostly teaches classes for people who are new to yoga or who have injuries). Anyhow, a couple of days after deciding that I wanted to write about J, I went to my usual Sunday morning yoga class. I’ll give you 1 guess who was subbing as the teacher for the class on that morning!
This is fate. I figured. Now I have to write the post. And I have to talk to her about writing the post.
As everyone was getting settled in for class, I busied myself with stretching, meanwhile wondering if J even remembered who I was. Did I think myself so important that everyone should remember who I am? Avoidance. Downward dog. No one will talk to me if I’m doing downward dog.
Finally, the class began. I sat cross-legged with 30 other students and listened as J began her opening inspirational message. I don’t know if all yoga classes are like this, but at this yoga studio, every class begins with a short inspirational message or mantra to focus on. It’s my church substitute. There is always a “word of the day,” and that day, the word was “you.” It seemed so fitting! Who am I? Can I be okay with where I am on my journey? Where will I allow myself to go?
Not even 30 seconds into her inspirational message to the whole class, J and I made eye contact. “Hi!” she said brightly. Right in the middle of her speech. And then she continued on, in that way that makes you wonder if it had even happened at all.
After centering ourselves with “Om,” we began our practice. This practice was much different from the times before when I had attended classes with J before. Back then, I needed a slow practice with accommodations and lots of support to urge healing throughout my body. Now, I move through each pose with strength and push myself further than I would have allowed before. The rewards outweigh the risks; whereas, before, everything seemed like too great of a risk.
As the class was winding down, I began thinking about what I would say to J afterwards. My ruminating thoughts consumed my savasana (final resting pose), but when everyone got up and began exiting the class, I forced myself to go up and talk to J.
But for all of the ruminating and self-pep-talking I had done, I didn’t say anything about blogging or writing posts about inspiring people. That was too much! Instead, I thanked her for being my teacher and helping me through a very difficult time in my life. All of that was well and good (and true), but it certainly didn’t get me any closer to writing my blog post!
I left the class feeling good that I had thanked J, but still not knowing how I was going to proceed with the blog post. Should I write about someone else this week? Should I go to one of J’s classes later in the week? And if I did, would I have the confidence to make myself vulnerable and say what I mean?
Sometimes the universe seems to know when you need a little push and a second chance. On Tuesday, I considered going to a class where I have seen J practice (as a student) before, but I wanted to go to an earlier class. Since avoidance is pretty much my go-to, I went to the class where I knew it was highly unlikely that I would see J… But also, I wasn’t totally surprised to see her running the front desk as I exited class. Of course she was. She was filling in for someone else – totally unaware of the magic the universe was making in that moment. Sometimes things just fall into place and force you to do the things you want to do but are desperately trying to avoid doing.
This time I managed to tell J that I have started writing a blog! Success. And she immediately asked for the web address of the blog because she is just that kind of person. Then, I told J that I am writing about how my yoga practice has affected me (true) and that I wanted to email her and ask her some questions about her practice. I’m really not sure why I couldn’t just come out and say what I meant. So here it is: “J, I am blogging about people who inspire me, and you are one of those people!” That just seems so personal! Something I am not very good at. But hey, baby steps.
“J, I am blogging about people who inspire me,
and you are one of those people!”
So I have J’s email now, and I’m going to email her this blog post – and ask her some questions. And on Sunday, I will tell you more about J, how I ended up in her “back care” yoga classes, and why she is such an inspiration to me!
Oh I’m so pleased you wrote this post! I enjoyed your piece on Ms. Beall (and I look forward to learning more about J) but there is so much inspiration too, just in being allowed to see into how someone faces down the personal challenges and fears that otherwise would stand between her and her goals. Inspiration — and motivation too.
Thank you for sharing just the piece I needed to read at just the time that I needed to read it!
Yay! I’m glad that you enjoyed it and got something out of it. I often get stuck in the trap of thinking that other people don’t struggle with such simple things, but I have to remind myself that everyone has difficulty with something. People don’t become inspirational when things are easy – they become inspirational when they fight through the difficulties. And, maybe most importantly, when they talk about what they had to overcome. Thanks for reading!
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