The very concept of this article can lead me to shooting myself in the foot. I’m a Yoga teacher. And writer. Naturally, my hope is students and readers will resonate with me, and want to stay connected into the foreseeable future. And while I feel my words and actions may be worthy of following, I in no way see my philosophy as the be all, end all, to be followed mercilessly, strictly, to the fucking T!
So, yes, I say and write fuck. Often. My apologies. What I’ve found through years of self doubt, anxiety, and unease over the unknown, is the truth that no other path should resemble my own. No other human being’s moral code and life philosophy should be a mirror image of mine. Why would I want to copy when I have a heart and mind intelligent enough to decipher through the bullshit and keep the good shit?
That’s precisely what I tell my students, take whatever I say that resonates and throw the rest away. Needing someone to follow me and believe so strongly in my personal philosophy is simply my ego’s desire, a fool’s errand. What I and many fantastic teachers and leaders around the globe can do is help you hone your intuition more, challenge you to tune in and listen to the quiet intelligence within.
There’s an obscene amount of noise out there. Have you noticed? There are books, studies, articles, and oodles of research to support pretty much any theory imaginable. Should we adopt a vegetarian diet? Veganism? Gluten free? Paleo? There are mountains of data to support all of these options. Mountains! No one knows what it’s like to fuel your body. Consult a doctor, sure, experts you respect and admire, but mostly, tune in, feel, experience, learn, and you will make the smartest decision for yourself.
Within the Yoga community there are a thousand schools of thought on everything from how often you should practice, exactly what type of yoga you should take, who you should study with, what you should wear, what you should eat before and after, how to properly align in foundational poses, whether you should practice in the heat or not, etc.
It’s a headache. Many teachers I respect have adopted philosophies and strategies that differ greatly from mine. Who cares? I still learn a hell of a lot from them. I take what resonates and I throw away the rest.
Putting it bluntly, those who tell you with black and white certainty you HAVE to do something or you can NEVER do something else, are know-it-all jerks. Who likes being brow beat into an opinion anyway? But what we get inundated with these days are clever sharks disguised as sweethearts. We pay thousands of dollars and walk on hot coals, for what? Something we could have gleaned from 30-45 minutes of reading on our own.
This is not to say you should start diagnosing yourself, prescribing your own remedies, taking care of your own legal work, practicing Yoga however the fuck you want, adopting your own financial and tax philosophies, eating McDonald’s because it just “feels right,” etc. Spend time with people you admire, allow the expertise of others (like me, I’m awesome, and so are you!) to fill you with more knowledge, insight, and joy, but at the end of the day, you are your own guru!
There is no need to “worship” and cling to every word and move someone you admire makes. Appreciate them, respect them, get inspired by them, support them (yes, we need support!), but merely spend more time plowing the fields of your unique existence rather than following someone else’s. Find teachers and mentors that foster more love and interest in who you are, allow them to spark your creative juices without actually being your creative outlet.
It’s not about dismissing or dissing another, quite the contrary. The more love you feel for yourself, the more you hold for others. They go hand in hand. So rather than belonging to an exclusive club or buying into some niche way of thinking, you understand the inherent truth that opinions and philosophies are like assholes: everybody’s got em. You can respect the paths of others while choosing kindly to walk your own. And you deserve just that, do you not?
We live once. Be your weird ass self.