How yoga got me a pink slip
I needed to be pushed out of the nest. I had grown really comfortable teaching in prison. Every Tuesday for over a year, I taught two meditation classes at a nearby medium security facility. The men were always open, appreciative, honest and occasionally raw. This combination made for a sacred circle that allowed for our most authentic selves to show up.
I am not really surprised that my badge was pulled for practicing some yoga poses. After all, there is a very real resistance in the world that operates in opposition to light. Its energy is much stronger in prison environs.
The week before I had made a bold proclamation and shared about it on my blog:
“I arrive home every Tuesday at 1p.m.
Home away from home for me is a federal prison where I teach mindfulness meditation.
I always say a prayer as I enter. It’s not always the same, but it is often “Bless us that we might do your will” or “Thank you for using me to be your presence here today”.
Today I felt strongly that I should boldly proclaim how grateful I am for having the greatest job in the world. I do not say this lightly. 18 men gather to sit in stillness with intention, week after week. On a few other occasions, I have proclaimed that God loves them, forgives them and wants to draw their hearts closer. I express my confidence that mindfulness meditation creates a safe space for feelings to arise in order to heal past hurts done by and to them.
I call my practice my time with the Divine Therapist.
Today I looked these men in the eyes one by one and from my sincerest space within, I said, “My job is to have you see yourself as God sees you when you look at me. It’s reciprocal too. I see myself as God sees me when I look at you.”
It’s a beautiful thing.
I was choosing to spend more and more time behind the walls. Why you ask? Well, I am coming to realize that I am my most authentic self there. I pray to be of service and so I act with clarity of intention. I have no one to impress. There are no ulterior motives. I am not hiding behind a persona. I have no history with these people. I may never see them again after this class is completed and therefore there are no expectations of a future relationship.
I am driving over the Ben Franklin bridge the day I learn that I’ve been fired and the metaphor is not lost on me as I hear in my heart, “You have given us everything you had to give. We are ready. Go out into the world and shine your Light. You will be awesome!”. The men seemed to be speaking somehow through my intuition that the next step in my journey would be powerful and again life-altering. Clarity around what the future holds feels exciting because I had made some declarations at a Jen Pastiloff manifestation retreat with 40 women in the Catskills two weeks earlier.
I had been serving without hopes of anything in return. And yet, I received everything.
It was in a chapel behind barbed wire that I exp erienced incomparable beauty in a place deemed by much of the world as ugly and forgotten. It was there that I realize I am hiding from the world. I am hiding my talents and gifts behind those walls, in a cozy nest of my own creation. I now know that “home” is where the heart is, is not just a quaint saying. It’s profound truth fills me to overflowing.