I guess I don’t really know exactly why we started BillyYoga. After so many years of teaching yoga classes, talking to people, hugging, laughing, crying, and doing some traveling - it was time that I "got over myself" and put some “skin in the game.” Yeah, you heard that right, “getting over myself.” Sometimes when we really decide to shine our light, it can seem like the opposite of that, of “getting over ourselves.” We are putting ourselves out there to the world to bring attention to ourselves, to be popular, to make lots of money, or whatever. After all, we are surrounded by it everyday. It’s all over the place. People will seemingly go to any length for their name to be known, to be recognized, to be popular. The goal to simply be popular often outweighs the actual significance of the act or actions that made one popular in the first place. I have to say, this is not a popularity contest and I honestly don’t care how “popular” I am - I have never cared. But, I do like people and I like to make them feel good, or if not “good”, then simply to feel . . . something.
I like to be liked - we all do, if we are being totally honest - but not at the cost of our truth and humility. I remember earlier last year I was sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Denver with my wife in the middle of a sunshiny morning. We. Had. To. Talk. Seven years of marriage, three kids, a daughter that she brought into the relationship and a son that I brought in, and a little six year old boy that we had together – careers, bills to pay, renting, buying, remodeling, goals, enough money, no money, dreams, celebrations, disappointments, steps forward, and steps back. Suffice it to say, things get complicated and we had become more disconnected than we were accustomed to up to that point. We needed to talk. I won’t get into all of the details, but it was an emotional conversation, lots of tears, looking into each other’s eyes, holding each other’s hands while looking at each other across the little table, staring out the window trying to hide emotions from potential looky-loos and eavesdroppers, and some squirming around not always liking what we were hearing the other say. It was tough. We joked about people seeing us and probably thinking that we were two lovers meeting at some tucked away coffee shop in an old industrial building ending our sordid affair. Maybe that would have made the story more interesting, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that that conversation, looking back now, may have saved our marriage. Walking into the little hipster hotspot that morning, I don’t think either one of us knew that so much was on the line. Walking out, we both felt that line had disappeared, or maybe we crossed that line and moved a little closer toward each other again. And now, almost a year removed, besides saving our marriage with an open dialogue and conversation, it’s that morning that brings me to this blog today.
My first “blog.” I have written much of my adult life - poor poetry in high school, equally poor poetry in college (go figure), lots of coming of age journaling, writing down thoughts and feelings, goals and dreams, romantic words (or pathetic attempts thereof) over many years and many relationships, “letters” to my oldest son during his early years when I was a single dad, and stories that my wife and I would write back and forth to each other when we were falling in love (she still owes me a story), and the dharma talk occasionally transferred into the written form. As I write this, much like time spent on the yoga mat, I am out of my comfort zone, feeling pretty vulnerable, and not completely sure how this experience is going. But, in the same way, I am taking a deep breath, feeling what it feels like to be myself as a human-being in this moment, and I am moving forward into this new territory of “the great unknown.” I guess this is what the process is like sometimes, like time on the mat, a trip somewhere, anywhere but here, running away and running back again, falling down and getting up, being broken and loving more, and listening when someone you love sits across from you at a coffee shop and says, “You say in yoga all the time for everyone to ‘get over yourself’. But, you need to get over yourself. Are you just going to run around teaching classes every week while leading the occasional yoga retreat somewhere? Maybe you should get over yourself and expand and spread your message. Your message has helped so many people. But more people need to hear it.” Even seeing myself write that is hard to see.
I don’t know exactly what my “message” is, and only you can decide if it’s worth it, but it certainly involves spreading love and light . . . or, trying to. In spite of ourselves and our very own beautifully flawed humanness, in the middle of this often crazy life in the nitty-gritty of this wacky world that we share, trying to make sense of the lessons and the meanings, the falling apart, the coming undone, the illusions that separate us from each other and from ourselves, the process of living - there is no more important Art. Let’s not miss out. Let’s partake. Let’s dive-in and swim. Let’s see each other. Let’s see ourselves. This is what “getting over ourselves” looks like: vulnerable, uncertain, but owning our place in the world and celebrating everyone else’s place as well. Moving closer to each other and closer to ourselves, we cross that line. There is enough and we are connected. “Get over yourself, Billy!” Ah yes, thank you for that. I am trying.