I grew up in a strict Catholic family and went to a Catholic college that was definitely more strict than probably a lot of Catholic institutions of higher ed. It was just the culture there that a lot of the women would pretty much immediately get married. They actually called it getting your Mrs. Degree so there was a lot of cultural pressure to marry.
I married right out of college and it was kind of getting married just to do that. I had this sinking feeling in my gut a little after I had done that.
It was a couple of years later someone said to me Catholics can get an annulment and you don’t have to be in this situation if you don’t want to be so eventually I did that. It a long separation process and there was a lot of drag on me from my husband at the time and my family.
I feel like I’ve had a whole couple of lives since then.
An annulment seemed like a nice way to have full closure. I had already done my separation and my divorce and the annulment just seemed like the last piece. It seemed like it would be nice for my family to do it and nice for myself. I got married in the catholic church and it kind of made sense to end that process in the church. I slowly drifted out of Catholicism.
I drifted out of Catholicism but I knew that I wanted to do some kind of spiritual practice. I did a conversion to conservative Judaism for a year. I had to study fairly extensively for that and that was a pretty cool thing. I don’t practice Judaism anymore either.
What got me into the thing I’m into now was via yoga. I was going to start teaching portions of yoga teacher training I started studying a lot of history philosophy of that and one of my dues diligence things I thought I would do is go to the Hare Krishna temple. It’s a cool thing to go to during non-COVID times.
I just meant to do that to experience it, not to start doing it but I got kind of unwittingly drawn into this tradition of Bhakti yoga.
I find a lot of times it’s when you’re not looking for something, that’s when you accidentally stumble into something and you’re fortuitously into it.
The initial thing that helped me get nudged out of the marriage was martial arts. That’s another thing I’m not doing currently. I didn’t expect to get as into martial arts as I did but I definitely got sucked in.
Maybe the theme there is me not knowing how to dabble in something and getting sucked into my activities of choice.
I’m naturally a little bit of an aggressive person and I think a lot of times people have that streak and it’s not necessarily bad, and I think martial arts are a really healthy way of expressing that aspect of ourselves. There’s almost a kind of love expressed in sparring with someone when they are part of your same team because it’s really like you’re giving them aggression and they’re giving it back but you have an agreement to not actually hurt them. Oddly enough, there’s an interpersonal aspect to it. I enjoy connection and that’s another way of connecting with people.
My philosophy is very much that it doesn’t need to be all love and light all the time, and I don’t necessarily think that’s authentic. As a yoga teacher and as a professor I try to hold that space for people to have all these different feelings.
Naturally in life, you’ll be feeling uncertainty or anger or loneliness or sadness and it’s valid to feel all that.
Aggression is a kind of human expression. I think it’s important to explore those darker aspects of yourself. I think people navigate through it a lot better if they acknowledge that they have those feelings. You don’t need to feel zen all the time.
If people don’t get to channel those aggressive feelings in a positive creative way they might get pulled into one of these systems that offer that peak experience in a negative way. Music has always been used as a vehicle of culture.
I’m a person who is very willing to go outside their comfort zone. I’m very willing to try new things. I’m very willing to talk to different people outside of my same sphere of experience. In fact, that’s something I really value. I don’t want to be around people of my same experience all the time or be in an echo chamber. I want to hear how they have lived their lives and how they came up. Part of that got shaped by the fact that I was homeschooled.
If people get that feeling that it doesn’t fit just acknowledge that. Don’t try to smush their life into some parameter that it’s not meant to be in energetically. Especially don’t try to do it for years. If you get little feelings of discomfort maybe it’s a bad day, but pay attention if it really persists over a long period of time. Just allow themselves to explore. Try different things. Go to that weird random event. Talk to that friend of a friend.
Just try. There doesn’t have to be any clearly plotted trajectory.
I really feel like if people are curious and open to trying a lot of times the options that naturally drift their way through all these interpersonal connections, they’ll start to work out a different more fulfilling path for themselves.