From Chameleon to Swan

"Once he made the decision to accept these disparate leadings he was no longer 'a chameleon on a tartan plaid' responding to every situation and impulse that came his way.  He had a center, at last, the self which God had intended."

                                                                     - excerpt from Golf In The Kingdom, by Michael Murphy

December 2, 2017


1,104,537,600 seconds ago...
18,408,960 minutes ago...
306,816 hours ago...
12,784 days ago...
35 years ago...

I was born. 

I'll spare you most of the cliches associated with the passage of time that we conjure up on our birthdays.  So all I'll say this time, about time, is that the only time we ever really have is right now.

It's been a powerful year for me - big changes, lots of doubt, a few tears, and certainly some growth.  Without question the biggest change has been an emerging sense of self that I don't think I've ever truly felt.  It's hard to pinpoint when the clouds of depression started to form, but the past is the past, and unlike time, is not here now.  What is here now is a sense of renewal, an excitement of things to come, and a new phase of growth.  I started practicing Mysore Ashtanga yoga on June 1st and have pretty much practiced five times per week since.  Coupled with teaching anywhere from 4-7 classes per week, these past five months have been an immersion into yoga and myself.  It's amazing the clarity we can find when we make the time and effort to take good care of ourselves.

Depression and anxiety suffocate desire.  The negative current in your head tells you those desires "aren't you" and you're not capable of achieving them.  The unwarranted guilt of the state of the world whispers you're not worthy of desires in a world filled with so many ills.  The anxiety coursing through your body prevents you from truly feeling connected to yourself and others.  A pervasive layer of shame, a fear of being seen for who you are, leads to apathy.  Then resentment. Then cynicism.

When I registered Swans Nest Yoga earlier this year, I wrote the following in the "business description" field on Form SS-4: "Teaching yoga (i.e. helping people find their souls.")  It was a moment where half of me felt I was being the biggest phony in the world and pretentious as hell, and the other half felt like this was the truest expression of what my yoga practice was going to be about.  It was also kind of a joke, because it was a lame tax form.  But like every joke, it was rooted in some truth.  And so I left it, and on with the "soul-finding" I went.  

The ultimate goals of yoga are self-knowledge and Samadhi, or a state of one-ness with our truest nature.  Yoga teaches us that the divine is within all of us, we just have to remove the shrapnel from life covering the light.  I would like to believe this - that we are all divine.  That we all have souls yearning to grow, evolve, and shine.  That the work to be done is not more effort, more work, more striving, but rather exactly the opposite - to let go, follow our intuition more than our analysis, surrender to the forces of creation and growth within.  Do I believe all this? Sometimes.  Let's be honest, it's kind of hard to with all the shit in the world.

What I do believe in whole-heartedly is the power of yoga to cultivate self-knowledge, relieve stress and anxiety, increase our awareness of this journey we call life, and produce glimpses of what we humans call the divine - those moments of serenity and the feeling of truth.  As I read the words in the excerpt at the top of the page I had that feeling of truth.  The words "a chameleon on a tartan plaid" and their underlying principle - trying to be everything to everyone all the time - resonating deep within me and triggering thoughts of an adjacent truth.  If the divine were to exist in each of us - guiding us towards our dharma, our duty - wouldn't this be a nice duty to have:  To transform from a flummoxed chameleon on a tartan plaid to an enlightened swan soaring above perfectly still, translucent waters - all along the way inviting and encouraging others to do the same.

And that's what I feel like this next phase of my journey is about - to cultivate a stronger sense of self in an increasingly chaotic world.  To accept my desires, and pursue them.  To continue to change my perception of myself, my beliefs of what I can and can't do, and what I am worthy of.  To rid myself of any ounce of shame limiting my potential.  And to help others do the same. 

From January 18, 2018 - March 11, 2018 I'll have the privilege of practicing yoga at the KPJAY Shala in Mysore, India with Saraswathi Jois, the daughter of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the modern day Ashtanga guru who passed away in 2009.  Saraswathi is part of lineage of teachers that dates back hundreds of years and a knowledge system that is thousands of years old.  I'm truly excited to see what this experience will bring for me and to continue my education in the ancient tradition of yoga.      

I'm also in the midst of writing a play that I, your boy, the swan, will perform hopefully exactly a year from today.  More on this later, but just writing it here to put it out in the universe - because that shit works. 
So if you haven't left yet, I would be truly grateful to have your financial support in this next phase of my journey.  This probably isn't the way they teach you how to raise money at our nation's elite business schools - I wouldn't know because a number of them kindly rejected my offer to pay them $200,000 for my continuing education a few years ago - but I think it's safe to say this bird wasn't meant for those waters.

I'm looking to generate $10,000 of sales to fund the growth of Swans Nest Yoga and my continued development as a student and teacher.  I'll send a follow-up email in the next few days with more details on the use of funds and how to purchase if you're interested, but essentially I'm just looking to sell a number of class packages which you can buy now and then we'll set-up times to do the private sessions.  But it's my birthday now, and I had to send this out now to make the math in the beginning work. Very important. 

If you're on this list it means that our paths have crossed in a meaningful way - or you're like a friend of a friend who told you about some dude that writes emails about life and his feelings sometimes and you wanted to hop on for some reason.  EITHER WAY, I would be extremely grateful for your support - financial or otherwise - and am truly excited for the future as we all move along our journeys together.

Also, please let me know if you know anyone looking to sublet an apartment in Fort Greene, BK for the months of February and/or March.  

Healthy Living,