What an experience it has been, growing physically, spiritually and mentally over the past 8 months with an inspirational group of women around me to support me, hold me when needed and help me to find the really hard lessons within myself that I needed to learn. I don’t think I can fully put into words how much this experience has changed me. I feel more connected with who I really am deep down inside than ever before, and I genuinely believe that the state of contentment I have discovered is down to the challenges and obstacles that I have faced and overcome on this journey.
Oh boy, was it harder than I ever expected it to be! I knew I was taking a blind leap of faith, and I knew that this was the path I needed to be on, but I had no idea how much baggage I was carting around with me that needed to be shifted and burnt through, nor how much it would hurt to unpick it all. Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that I hadn’t felt in years came flooding back. I discovered that one of my defence mechanisms is building in a Get of Jail Free card, overloading myself with other ‘important’ things that have to take priority over the choices I have made – the choice to commit to my practice, to become closer with my true self – so that then when the hard work gets too much, I can pull the trigger and explain away the avoidance as me simply not having the time to do the work. I am so good at giving my energy away to others, as a means of excusing my own bad behaviour and avoiding the work that really needs to be done (the self-care, humility, sitting in the stillness… all of this and more), that I don’t even notice when I’m doing it!
I thought yoga had healed me and taken me to a point of being ready to share it’s magic with others; what I didn’t realise is that I was only at the very beginning of my healing journey and that this is a path that I have chosen to walk down and will be walking down for the rest of my life, perhaps holding a hand out to help others behind me find their way forwards and keep their footing, but also looking ahead to others holding lights blazing ahead of me and helping me to find my way too. There is such beauty to be found in this place of humbleness and of needing support – the strength is in choosing to let go and dive in head first, not in fighting to hold back the tides that will flow no matter what. Writing these words brings tears to my eyes, because I know that this lesson is the big one that I have been running away from, refusing to listen to for years. It is my dharma and is the thing I will take away most from this experience.
This journey has taught me so much more than how to facilitate safe yoga practice for others (I am hugely grateful that it has provided me with this skill, and I will relish the opportunity to use it – I am definitely not ungrateful for this, or unaware of the value of this skill in itself); I have learnt how to recognise my trigger points, how to work through them safely and with love, how to let go and how to recognise where the real lessons lie and what to do with them when I find them. For the first time in over 5 years, I feel genuine hope, determination and excitement for the life I have ahead of me. I know that the years I am yet to live will be the most fruitful, joyous and exciting of my life so far and that I am only just beginning to live the life and walk the path that I am meant to be on. I have found a calling, a passion, that I know will never die.
So, thank you to Wenche and Eva, for bringing me back to life. For reconnecting me with my true self and igniting a fire of passion and love inside me that will never be extinguished. If I wasn’t sure of it before, I know now for sure that Karma is real, because this experience has been a light-filled reward for all the pain and sorrows I have been through leading up to this point. I know that more will come, and I am ready for them, because I can see that you only get to experience huge highs and joys and wonders after journeying through the low, dark places. Without the sun, the moon could not shine as brightly and beautifully in contrast.
Appraisal of my Teacher Training Experience
By Vicky Cullum