About 7 years ago, I had just finished teaching a very fun Yoga for Beginner Class at the then Oak Park Yoga. In a great mood, immediately following the class, I was sitting in my car at a red light listening to NPR. There was a story on about something I was interested in. I can’t remember exactly what it was and what exactly was said, but if I recall it was something about breath. As I was waiting for the light to turn, the announcer said something that COMPLETELY contradicted something I had JUST told my class about breathing. I mean, it felt like it was in complete opposition to what I had just shared with a group of people minutes before.
I do not remember the exact sticking point but what I do remember is the moment I heard this said on the radio, the exact moment my body flushed with this horrific embarrassment, was the exact moment one of the students that had just attended the class pulled up next to me. As I sat there completely flooded with shame and self- loathing, she rolled down her window to tell me what a wonderful class and wonderful teacher I am. I’m her “favorite teacher to study with”, she said and now she is off to “have an amazing day”! The light turned green and off she went.
I sat there stunned. How could I have gotten that so wrong? Was I misinformed by MY teacher? Was the announcer and her subject from a different thread of contradictory learning? How would I rectify this understanding for myself, for my students? How could I feel confident in my skills as a knowledgeable and informed teacher going forward? How could I ever stand in front of a group of people and share my wisdom and abilities when I doubted my own wisdom and abilities! I hated myself more than I could stand.
And, that’s when the most amazing thing happened. Let me just take a moment to say, looking back, the next moment is truly miraculous as I know very well where I was in my emotional evolution during that time in my life and the fact that I kind of felt like I was kind of a mess is what makes this turn of events so completely extraordinary.
In that particular moment, as I sat there flooded with toxic shame and such tremendous self-loathing, doubting my wisdom, doubting my abilities; perhaps even doubting my worth as a human being fit to be on this planet, (those were some dark years), a voice inside of me whispered: “I don’t know.” “What?” “I don’t know.” “I don’t know?” “I don’t know.”
And I laughed. “I don’t know! I don’t know! I do the best I can and I don’t always know!” Wow! “I don’t know! I don’t know!!” It felt so good to say it. It felt so freeing to say it. “I don’t know and I don’t HAVE to know everything!!!!!!!”
I actually laughed out loud as I heard this inside of me. It felt so good! It felt like a huge burden was being lifted from me. “I don’t know”, I kept saying. I kept hearing that I’m a student too. I’m a beginner as well. We all are. We are always just beginning. “I’m here now”, I heard myself say and I’m constantly evolving as we all are. I realized, I had just learned something new and now I can begin to share it.
I had just learned something new and I can now begin to share it. And what am I sharing? That sometimes it feels oh, sooooooo good to not know. : )