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Team Human Being

Every now and again I find myself in a spot of questioning my authority/ability/worthiness to do what I do. I tell myself this story that there are many others who are more knowledgeable/qualified/serious than I am and that I’m somehow not in the place I should be professionally or personally to be telling anyone anything about working out, eating, yoga or how they are showing up in their day to day lives.

And then I remember that I’m a human being and so are all the other people that are reading what I put out there and taking my classes. And that the narrative playing in my head is a story and not the truth. Am I perfect? No. Do I know everything about fitness, nutrition and yoga? No. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I learn from them? Yes. Do I sometimes wish I could go back and do it all again knowing what I know now? HELL YES.

We learn through experiences. It’s that whole principle of “forgive yourself for not knowing what you know until you learned it.” I can honestly say that I learned more from working in the corporate world than I ever did from the J-School at the University of Georgia. I’ve learned more from teaching thousands of yoga classes than I did from yoga teacher training. I’ve learned more from working with clients one-on-one than I did from my NASM personal trainer certification.

And perhaps the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that nothing matters more than being human. Navigating your way through epic mistakes, bad decisions, heartbreaks, loss and grief, steps down the wrong path…that’s the stuff that changes you. Getting it right all the time, while it sounds good, is a) impossible and b) does not result in that deep growth and self-awareness.

Marianne Williamson

I had so much on my heart today as I led our teacher trainees through assist training and then taught my 4 p.m. hot class. I was in this spot of “Who am I to teach you about this practice and inspire you to do/be/feel anything? Because I certainly don’t have this all figured out.” So I had to start my class by telling my students that we are on equal playing fields. I teach from a place of what I’m working on and learning in my own life. I told them that I don’t profess to have special powers other than just being a human that’s trying to continue to grow and get to know myself more and more.

When I first started teaching I would try to find these inspirational quotes to read in class or search for hours for passages and stories to read them. Anything that wasn’t my own words. These days, I rarely rely on readings and instead take time before class to reflect on what’s on my heart and share from that place.

I’ve been reading the book The Untethered Soul at the recommendation from a student. (I swear to you that they teach me more than I will ever be able to teach them.) And in it Michael Singer writes…

“You realize that you will always be fine. Nothing can ever bother you except your edges, and now you know what to do with them. You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom. All you have to do is constantly relax and lean into them.”

I think part of why I love my yoga practice, teaching yoga and writing this blog is that they’ve taught me so very much about my edges. And that when I come up against them, lean into them and share them, that I can find freedom. Thus the reason why a girl who has a tendency to close, close, close is working on opening.

I own all of the times that I closed because I was too afraid to open. But I learned so much from the edges that those times pushed me to. And what I learned more than anything is that we’re all in this together and that I’m learning through experiences that are both crazy beautiful and happy as well as the heartbreaking pain just like all of you are.

So thank you for being here and reading what I put out into the blog world. And thank you for holding the space for me to be more open and vulnerable here. I hope that it translates into you feeling like you can do that in your own lives as well. I don’t have this figured out and I postulate that none of you do either. I like to share what’s working for me in the present and give myself freedom to change as needed and as I learn more about myself.

We’re all just fine where we are today. Embrace your edges and practice relaxing into them and ask them what they want you to learn.

I love you guys and I’m so grateful for you.

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Kate O January 29, 2017, 10:54 pm

    Hi Jen! As a long time follower and infrequent commenter I wanted to take a minute to share how much your openness and vulnerability, especially over the last year, means to this reader. There is a lot of hostility and fear being shared out there on the internet these days, and posts like these are so often just what I need regardless of what’s going on in my own life. Currently I am a busy grad student on a tight budget, which unfortunately means very little opportunity for studio yoga. These posts serve as my own small dose of life lessons/yoga teacher guided reflection and meditation. Keep doing what you’ve been called to do, sharing both your love and your true self with courage, honesty, and openness! Know that there are people on the other end receiving it with open arms. Namaste.

  • Mollie K January 30, 2017, 4:52 am

    Good morning Jen,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I have read the Unthethered Soul and this post has inspired me to re-read it. Currently I am reading Brene Brown (literally everything by her) and her beliefs are exactly what you’re saying in this post. Speak your truths and vulnerabilities out loud, share stories, and through the power of connection we feel whole, acceptance, love, gratitude. I can tell you compassionately that I understand what you’re saying…I hear your struggles and growth, and its a beautiful thing to watch someone be authentic, courageous, and aware on their journey to wholeheartedness. You are a beautiful soul and I so appreciate your messages. Sending you lots of love.

  • Traci January 30, 2017, 8:22 am

    Hi Jen – This post was beautifully written. Just think that some students on your mat may also be feeling like they’re not qualified to be there or to do something else in their lives at the very same time you’re feeling that way. I think it’s all about everyone being open to their thoughts and the way they are feeling and sharing with each other. And about giving each other grace to “be where they are” and to learn from/inspire each other, too.

  • Michelle January 30, 2017, 9:35 am

    Hi Jen,

    I loved this post and appreciate your openness and willingness to be yourself.

    The Untethered Soul is one I’ve read over and over. My favorite quote from this book is on page 161: “…the only thing there is to get from this life is the growth that comes from experiencing it. Life itself is your career, and your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship.” I thought you would enjoy it, too, given the theme of your post.

    Keep on keepin’ on. I really enjoy reading your blog. Namaste.

  • Lauren C January 30, 2017, 9:38 am

    Thank you for this – the sentiment and thoughts shared are beautiful. I think we’ve all felt like this from time to time (or all of the time, at least the “having this all figured out” part in my case), and you’ve described those feelings perfectly.

  • Shanna Small January 30, 2017, 12:23 pm

    Beautiful post.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 5:01 pm

      Thanks lady. xx

  • tara January 30, 2017, 12:49 pm

    absolutely beautiful.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 5:01 pm

      Thank you Tara. <3

  • Kate Nightlinger January 30, 2017, 12:53 pm

    Thank you for this…today. I love your blog. Your positive energy radiates from it.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 5:00 pm

      Thank you so much Kate. <3

  • Melissa January 30, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Ah! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:59 pm

      You are so welcome! xx

  • Tamara January 30, 2017, 8:25 pm

    You are amazing. This post hits home for me. Thank you for being you and for all the love you put out <3

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:56 pm

      Thank you Tamara. Your comment and support means so much.

  • Carrie January 30, 2017, 10:40 pm

    Thank you for putting yourself out there. Reading your blog over the years has been such a blessing and truly inspired me to make changes in my life that needed to happen.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:55 pm

      Hey Carrie – I really appreciate this comment. It’s been difficult for me to open but it’s really helped me find peace and healing in my life and with myself. That it makes the space for anyone else to take steps in the same direction is amazing to hear.

  • Mary Longshaw February 2, 2017, 10:12 am

    I really needed this today and especially where I am at in my journey. Embracing the edges vs stressing and stressing is exactly the remedy my heart needed.

    So thank you 🙂

  • adrianna February 4, 2017, 9:29 pm

    so eloquent, so beautiful, so genuine. keep doing what you’re doing <3 really inspirational!

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