I've always enjoyed writing and sharing my thoughts. Here you can find some of my more organized ones!
APRIL 5, 2016
My Evolution as a YogaSlacker:
I was a professional ballerina for almost 10 years and spent most of my time strictly training from the age of 3 on. There was no room for error or risk, no room for anything else. To me, the world was ballet. Yoga was my gateway "drug" out of the ballet bubble and soon after my first yoga teacher training I started doing AcroYoga. About a year into my acro addiction I went to my first Wanderlust in Vermont where I met the YogaSlackers for the first time. I was more attracted to their energy and their vibe than the actual act of slacklining initially. I tried it, I wasn't good at it so naturally, I didn't like it. Let's just say I wasn't ready to be humbled that much. I wasn't ready to take the risk of looking stupid, of messing up or--god forbid--failing at something. So I kept hanging out with the slackers because every single person that I met that was associated with the YogaSlacker family became my new favorite person in the world. I accepted for a few years that I was just one of those non-slacker people that followed the YogaSlackers around and hung out in the slacker park at festivals. No one ever pressured me or made me feel bad or left out for not getting on the line. There was a lot of encouragement to try, tons of faith that I could do it and of course some playful heckling for never doing it--but there was never any judgment. I felt safe.
Flash forward a few years: I'd fallen into a pretty dark place in my own life where I was essentially out of control in every way. I lost my physical practice, I was struggling financially, emotionally, just barely getting by. I was signed up to assist the AcroYoga sessions at Wanderlust Vermont--the first place I encountered the YogaSlackers 4 years before. My housing plans fell through last minute and the YogaSlackers took me in as one of their own, no questions asked. I continued to be their fake slacker friend and even got to perform in their segment of the Wanderlust Spectacular because they needed another flyer. The second day of the festival I decided I was ready to try this whole slacklining thing again, especially since I was legitimately following them around this time. I figured I'd just try--not very hard--and then give up just like I did every other time. This time, however, something really different happened. It wasn't that I was any better at it. I still fell just as much and definitely looked the opposite of cool in every way--but I had a total revelation. My life had been so out of control and I had been fighting the instability SO hard that my own life, like a slackline, kept throwing me onto my ass. I had this moment of embodying how to let go, how to give in and trust and then: suddenly I realized I was still on the line. I was finding stillness and breath. Maybe I wasn't doing any tricks yet, but I was putting one foot in front of the other and without realizing or meaning to, I was walking. And when I fell, I wasn't scared or embarrassed, I could just laugh at myself. I was learning from my errors instead of feeling shut down from not succeeding. I had nothing to lose and no fear of failing. And, as always, I had so much beautiful and authentic support from the magical people that are the YogaSlackers.
Skipping ahead a little bit--I got hooked, bought a slackline, learned how to set it up fairly poorly on my own via YouTube and did it as much as I could. About a year later, I was at the YogaSlacker teacher training in Virginia. I felt like I semi weaseled my way in there and maybe exaggerated about my skill set a bit because I had this overwhelming and unexplainable feeling that I just needed to be there. I didn't have the money so I did a gofundme campaign. I knew I'd likely be the least experienced slackliner there and that I'd probably be super frustrated the whole time but facing that fear was almost more of the point for me than learning how to be a YogaSlacker teacher. Only the YogaSlackers could convince me to wake up at 7am and go for a run. If you know me you know how NOT me that is. It was hard. I did get frustrated pretty much every day. But I did it anyways. After all, it was what I signed up for.
And here's where it gets really good: I met the man that would in the not so distant future become my husband. I had been seeking a partner for years, a real partner to start a life with. I'd been scared of relationships in a similar way to how I'd been scared of slacklining or really anything else I might fail at. So I stuck to what I knew--what felt familiar and something I could control--which generally led me to super emotionally unavailable and/or undefined, open, complicated and ultimately unsatisfying relationships. Right before the YogaSlacker training I had started to become comfortable enough with being uncomfortable that I wasn't able to settle for anything less than what I wanted anymore. It definitely helped that I was starting to be clear enough to define and call in the kind of person I was looking for. But I never expected it would be so easy and happen so fast. I don't mean "easy" in the sense that there hasn't been fear, tons of vulnerability and even struggle at times, I mean it more in the sense of settling in to the instability and finding the inherent ease that is always there. To adjust and adapt to the ever changing ground beneath me, to accept and respect that I don't have control of anything other than my actions and reactions has paved the way for me to move directly toward the exact life I want to live and with the most perfect person for me to do it with. Just like committing to the line, committing to the exact life I want and to the person I want may be a big leap of faith--but it is the only way to even attempt to succeed. When you find something so clear, something that screams "F*** YES" as loudly as I've experienced it in my own relationship, doing anything other than following that voice is not an option. If you want to live the life you deserve, that is.
Since the training I've traveled to so many new places, eloped, picked up my not-so-bad-but-not-as-amazing-as-I want-it-to-be life and moved across the country with almost no plan, and placed myself in new and uncomfortable (sometimes terrifying) situations on pretty much a daily basis. And, for the record, it hasn't even been a whole year yet. The things that are second nature to me now are things I would never have even dreamed of a few years ago in my tutu and my pointe shoes living basically under a rock (no offense to those of you still dancing, I'm speaking specifically about my experience). I get to have this amazingly unique experience of a whole new life, a whole new place, a whole new body. I've become more familiar with what it must be like to be a child learning and experiencing everything for the first time. An incredibly confusing mix of excitement, frustration and sometimes fear, but always curiosity and play. I have the opportunity to shed all my expectations of what I should do or who I should be.
And yes, I'm often still totally terrified and get in my own way. But whenever I fall off the psychological "slackline" of my own internal dialogue I don't give up or walk away anymore--I get back up and I try again. A lot of this evolution comes from my own process and the work I've done but I'm fairly confident it would've taken me a hell of a lot longer and way more pain and suffering if I hadn't been blessed with the opportunity to experience such life changing ideas through something as simple and profound as slacklining. I encourage you to try it. I encourage you to try it even if you don't like it, even if you feel like a total spaz. And if you do it already and haven't attended the training yet and have any desire to do so, I encourage you to figure out a way to make it happen. Who knows, you may find your future spouse there :)