The next level in the Baptiste Yoga training , is Level Two.
Where Level 1 was about ME; Level 2 was about WE - everybody else except ME!
My first thought was
What about me?
And I realised that had been a common theme running through my life:
My dad bought my elder sister a car - what about me? My younger sis got to go to Australia to further her studies - what about me? My good friend received a fat bonus - what about me? She took that last satay - what about me? I got into an argument with Thom over my “what about me?” syndrome.
I came to Level 2 wanting to learn more about me, to find a solution to my problems, but I was faced with anger and confusion, because it’s no longer about me.
First day Paige’s words screamed at me -
“Suffering comes from having 2 separate lives."
It suddenly brought on an old memory that I had squelched deep in my mind when I was young - I remember telling myself that I wished I was adopted and as I got older - 2 separate lives emerged from one of me!
At home; I was the good daughter who prayed religiously. But out of the house, I went clubbing, got drunk, had boyfriends and I didn’t pray or fast at all. And I found all sorts of reasons not to be back home or I’d stay out late.
The difference between my 18 year old self and the 40 year old me is that all the party days are over. I know I am a good girl, and I know I am doing good things, but I am still not a good Muslim and in my head, I’m still not the good daughter.
Today, I still live a double life and the cost to me is guilt and sadness.
There was a feeling of numbness in the initial part of program as I was battling my confused thoughts. I felt like everything seemed surprisingly easy and I had it in the bag.
I discovered that the numbness wasn't a new feeling. It was years of hiding my real feelings, telling people I’m ok but I’m really not, sitting on the fence, not giving away my thoughts.
What was new was the desperate sadness inside of me. A memory that came up was of me hiding in my room and another time, I was on the bathroom floor, curled up in a ball, bawling my eyes out and screaming into a pillow and the thought in my head then was "it’s useless; nothing’s gonna change; I might as well not be here; because I don’t matter”
I was hiding my sadness through my numbness and confusion, and my breakthrough came the evening when we had the noble silence till breakfast next morning. In all that silence; I felt pathetic. Sad. Lonely. Unloved. Sad. And I broke down.
The training was intense. And that day especially so. I was coming down with something, I was worried about losing my voice, and that no one likes me. I had mouth ulcers from generating all that hot ujjayi breathing - and I was tired, sick and feeling overwhelmed. I was tired of talking and connected to people. I wanted to retreat back into my "introvert" shell.
And Someone out there answered my Prayers. And Peace I did get - through the exercise "Noble Silence" and that broke me.
In the silence, I found my sadness. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t want to talk anyone. I wanted to be sad by myself.
The next day - I saw Trish Corley who was apprenticing my Level 2 - and when we did our usual hugs, and my water gate burst.
She didn't let go and all she said was “Let it out. Don’t resist it!"
I'm a sad person.
The reality is that I am a sad person, and the joke is I’m really not. I’m happy all the time, and I love being happy, and making other people around me happy.
However since I hide my sadness, I wasn’t authentically me. It’s not that I fake being happy, but truth be told, there are times, I had to force myself to be someone I’m not. And I know it's not me because I felt like a pretender, like everything is happening in a haze, I’m on the outside looking in. I guess I don’t want to be disappointed or be sad in case the things I want to happen won't happen and then guess what happened?
The “what about me?” comes up. And the anger. And the confusion. Then the sadness which I was hiding.
I came to Level 2 because
I wanted to be a more powerful and inspired student
I wanted to be a certified Baptiste Yoga teacher.
I wanted to have the courage to speak to Dad and to have the courage to do the “whats next” in my life.
I came out feeling more connected to people than I have never been before; even people I have yet to meet. I discovered by being pure listening of others and being in pure listening of the words I say - gave me courage to move forward regardless of what the outcome will be. I discovered that by changing the way I connected with people, giving up filter of “they are better than me” - gave me a new way of seeing, speaking and listening. I discovered that when I gave up hiding of my sadness, I feel lighter. People say I seemed more confident, but I think it’s just giving the hiding, gave access to my "shiny white bright light"- quote unquote Thomas Sanders :)
The truth about my transformation is that giving up my sadness is not simply acknowledging to myself “oh I’m sad” but sharing it out to the world, because as long as I’m unable to share it to one person, I’m still in hiding.
There is a tiny bit of me who is afraid if my family read this, but I don’t want to hide anymore. I have to keep sharing because what I say is my life. And I want to be true to the real me.
It’s strange - the 124 of us at Level 2 barely know each other. I’m from Singapore. They are white, taller than me (most are), speak better than me; know more than me. (Don't judge me, but it's just my filter).
But putting filters, judgements, our own needs and whatnots aside - we celebrated each others breakthroughs; we cried , we empathised, we hugged, we danced, we laughed.
I'm proud to be one of many.