It’s not typical I respond directly to pop culture on social media. I am even less inclined to dedicate a blog entry to trending media. However, in light of last weekend’s news of Whitney Houston’s sudden passing, I experienced an urge to share.
One reason for my sharing is the mantra resonating in my heart, mind and body as I, along with 19 other radiant beings graduated from an intensive educational and personal journey of 200 hour teacher training in the Baptiste yoga style at Bala Vinyasa yoga studio, in Naples, FL.
We received awesome tees that say “Share your Shine” and we are encouraged over and again to share our unique selves and to be authentic, powerful, community leaders and to make no apology for being bold. I have participated in graduate level education and countless small group processes over the decades, but nothing as transformational as this; personal and professional excavation far beyond the mechanics of teaching a class how to get from downward facing dog to wheel pose has opened me up to a world of possibility on and off of my yoga mat.
This journey to the heart of all that matters has allowed me to examine and re-examine my life in a whole new perspective. I feel like I have only just begun in so many ways. A fresh, open-hearted approach to each day, as well as each yoga practice, each class, all the way to each pose, is the willingness to be new in every moment that comes my way. Is that possible for you?
To grow and change, to recover from mistakes and missteps along the way is a daily commitment. I don’t think Whitney Houston had the space to do this and my guess is that she felt trapped on many levels. I don’t think she, and a lot of famous (scrutinized) celebs allow themselves the space to evolve and “come back” after heartache, failure or other messes. It’s humbling to do so and it takes personal focus and commitment. Sometimes it means saying good bye to people, places and insidious comforts along the way to make that fresh start…
This willingness to be “recoverable”; knowing that life will be messy and unknown but still going all out is where growth happens.
I was moved by Whitney’s death, because it allowed me to examine my own fear of sharing my talents with the world. I believe Whitney struggled with this fear for years. Regardless of whether her music was relevant or prolific currently and her storied past, she still possessed gifts to be shared with the world. I avoid listening to the public’s commentary about the tragic demise of any icon due to drugs, because it is often preachy, and judgmental.
I tend to feel, sense and think about the individual in a holistic way and in this example, feel the utter humanity and vulnerability of this beautiful and talented women. She was quoted in the past as saying she had the potential to be her own best friend and her very worst enemy. She knew she was in deep dispute with her demons. – for years. She did not seem very “recoverable”. And I don’t mean in the traditional sense of the word when it comes to addiction, I mean the kind of “roll with the punches”, ride the waves of life type of get up and try again confidence…
The media had a field day with her messiness. Perhaps this made her more vulnerable. Lauded for so many years for her talent and beauty, she could not recover emotionally and mentally from the irreparable damage to her voice and bad choices along the way. She felt she could not, at least and she could not see herself in any other way.
Can famous people recover from fame? Can any one of us recover from our own personal setbacks, however large and small? So many shining stars crash and don’t rise again. I wonder if Whitney felt like she had one gift to share with the world and once that “faded” and was no longer in demand, she gave up. Do you feel that way in your life? Are you defined as a certain way and feel stuck or trapped or are you free to follow your passions and life dreams as they evolve?
We put pressure on ourselves to only “share” what we think looks good – but what does that leave us with, as a society? With the notion that we only have value if we are completely “put together”? It’s tough to crash and burn. There is a great deal of love, sympathy and mourning for Whitney now, but where was the support and compassion during her years of pain and darkness? Society as a whole can be forsaking and judging. We either commiserate with or steer clear of the messy sufferer. Some remain in judgment of Whitney, still, in her death. I simply sit, in contemplation, about one of our main teaching principles as yoga teachers, really a lesson in practicing life…how recoverable are you?
How willing am I to fix my mistakes, by taking accountability for them and realizing I can adjust the course of my actions, whether it be in a yoga class or my daily interactions. It’s a sense of freedom and self-direction that Whitney didn’t have or lost along the way.
I was moved as a young pre-teen by Whitney’s famously sung words…”learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all”. It’s not just that loving yourself is a great feeling. It is really the only way to actually stay alive, because without this self love, your life teeters dangerously on the precipice between life and death, as we have witnessed tragically with Whitney and so many others that struggle through life.
It’s never too late and it’s never too early to share your own unique gifts with the world, whether your fan base consists of your immediate family, your workplace or hundreds of thousands of fans . It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and it’s ALWAYS the right time to invest in yourself.
Being adaptable, willing to change your life in any small and big way is the ultimate freedom we all deserve. This is what I mean by “are you recoverable”? You can recover that diet you ditched 2 weeks after New Years, you can reclaim an old dream to join a rock band, you can have a better relationship with your children, parents and spouse! You can love yourself more!!!
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In loving kindness,