Authenticity & Truth telling...


...the not-so-perfect-and-centered yoga teacher. 

I recently made a list of ten core values that are important to me - it was an exercise to help influence how I run my business. The list: Authenticity, Acceptance, Growth, Fun, Courage, Inner Harmony, Mindfulness, Vibrancy, Community, and Creativity. And there it is, AUTHENTICITY.

I've wondered how much of my personal life to make public - it's an interesting inner dialogue, how to keep my website, facebook, instagram all "professionally focused" on yoga - and the truth is that life is yoga. We hear it all the time, hell, I say it all the time - "what you practice on your mat helps you in the real world." We look to deep breathing to help us through the rough patches, we crack open our hearts to let it all in  - all of life that we get to experience.

This summer has been exceptionally hard for me. On Monday June 12, five days before one of my favorite yoga retreats of the year (Yoga + Wine + Fireflies at Firelight Camps), my 10 year old sweet little munchkin love-of-my-life furrbaby dog Vera was horribly attacked by two really large aggressive dogs. The attack was unprovoked, and came out of no where. We were literally sitting outside of our local coffee shop, and these dogs came charging out of no where, leashed,  but not under the control of the owner, a local homeless man. To read the whole account of what happened please look at the post on my FB page. After a few surgeries, hospital ICU stays (thank you Cornell Animal Hospital!), and 2+ months of recovery, Vera is feeling great. In the past two weeks, we've been able to go on gentle hikes, hang out in the sun (now that her fur has grown to protect the new skin of her scars), and get back to enjoying summer. I am beyond thankful for her continued recovery - there is one lingering mass in her chest that we are monitoring monthly, and hoping it will go away on it's own.

I had a lot of plans for this summer - I was going to create more retreats for the upcoming year, I was going to plan and market more workshops, I was going to begin teaching Prenatal yoga classes online, I was going to plan the dates of my next Yoga Teacher Training - so many plans that were immediately halted, put on to the back burner. This has caused me a sense of shame, stress, and fear around my business. I was trying to get everything lined up to engage with you all more, to be able to bring you the things (yoga classes, meditations, workshops, teacher trainings, retreats) that you've been asking for - and I'm still excited to do that - however, I am just now getting back in to it, and it seems that this year is just flying by. So fast.

It feels heavy - it feels weighted - it feels SO important  - because of, honestly, the money and debt of Vera's injuries. I have received no assistance from the man whose dogs hurt Vera, and I am not expecting to. He is homeless, and has nothing to give. Bitter feelings have been surfacing for me around this - as I try to live and move from love, and then have to face this sour taste in my heart. I am thankful daily for Vera's life, and the support of my community which has come together to raise more than $6000 towards her $10,000 veterinary bill - and yet still I have this new $4000 debt to pay off. And I know that this feeling will pass, this bitterness - it is a conscious decision for me everyday to choose love over grief, compassion over fear.

As I start to get down, as I start to feel the shame around "failing" in my business this summer - I remind myself of the courage, strength, and focus I have displayed. For 2 months, we were at the dog hospital multiple times every week with a new surgery, procedure, or test aiding in Vera's recovery. I am reminded to hold myself in kindness, not to judge, or shame - rather to accept this moment for what it is. The moment of now. Not stuck in the past, nor projecting into the future like "what if...." Just here, now, writing - growing.

Thank you for your continued patience and love - I'm hoping this note will provide a glimpse into the not-so-perfect-and-centered-life of this yoga teacher, and offer you some encouragement when those inevitable tough times come around.

With much love & kindness, xo


PS - some have asked me "how can I help?" - here is the Go Fund Me Link - thank you!               

Rachel VerValinComment