A Year of force majeure
Borrowed from French force majeure, first known use in English in 1883, (first documented in French in 1690 in the sense "exceptional, exceptionally strong force"; in modern French, however, the term is only used to refer to an event or an imperative necessity in a more or less loose use of the legal concept, never to a force, as in the older, literal sense still additionally found in English), from majeur in the sense "major, main, of great importance", by extension of the older sense "greater, more important", from Latin māior (“larger, greater”). Wiktionary
Last year, inspired by Jonathan Foust’s own practice, I wrote a “2019 ACY in Review Newsletter. I found it helpful to take a kind of inventory of my learning, teaching, the classes and community. I’d hoped to make it an annual reflection. I returned to read the newsletter the last week of 2020. I was surprised with what has changed, either by my conscious choice or by surrounding circumstances. I equally had not realized changes I am want to make currently are some of the same ones I wanted a year ago but haven’t been able to realize.
Experiment and experience-what went well, what didn't during a year of exceptional force.
Less is more - (paradox, oxymoron) That which is of smaller quantity could be of higher quality. That which is less complicated is often better understood and more appreciated than what is more complicated." Wiktionary
What went well this year?
My pre-pandemic life was of a full-time job and two part-time jobs, plus continuing education, and a couple of hobbies along with general homeowner chores. I knew that I was trying to cling to everything I want in life. I shoved and pushed and crammed it all in with the philosophy that this too is temporary, and if I work hard now, I will get to rest later. The involuntary removal of just one part time job from this illuminated to me how spread thin I was, tense and tight and tired. I relaxed! The fear of losing what I have now has decreased dramatically. The fear of not getting what I want in the future appears to have shifted into “It will be okay”.
Continuing Education I previously would have had to travel cross country and spend thousands of dollars for is currently online, at a fraction of the cost. I have been thrilled with plethora of accessible opportunities to learn from truly exceptional teachers.
My own personal practice has transformed radically. As I wrote in November, “I’ve been practicing for myself, rather than to figure out how to teach it.” The past nine months have allowed me to explore Why Another Warrior 2, as the yoga postures are now VERY different with my current goal increasing awareness to activation of pubococogygeus, external obliques, trapezius and serratus anterior muscles.
Sheer luck and pushing aside my personal sense of unworthiness brought me a personal trainer who is kind, enthusiastic and skillful. When John and I ran into DeOnte Jackson-Durdan at Fred Meyer, the pandemic had shut down the gym he used to train clients at. I set aside my screaming fear of rejection and contacted him. The past 12 weeks training with him has been a dream come true for me.
What didn’t go so well this year?
I tried to be wise and do what I am able within the “Long View” of the pandemic’s impact on Aspiration Community Yoga’s community. Unfortunately, I could count on one hand those of you who stayed in touch with me, gave feedback on the newsletters or asked for help when you were in pain. I heard from only one who is continuing to practice and sought out the means to do so. I’m not sure if you felt abandoned by me. Maybe I seemed too unavailable or intimidating and demanding for you to ask for help?
I wrote in every newsletter that you can do this, for the duration of the pandemic’s restrictions, however imperfectly. All teachers hope to empower. I am no different. I went into teaching only that I could pass on the great gift of finding how good being strong feels. Maybe it was that you are of the nature that without an external structure of live teacher or group it just isn’t happening, you don’t know why. My husband is that way. This is an area of I fully own up to not knowing what it’s like, but I know it’s real. I also don’t know what more I can do to help without your telling me.
What am I Working Toward?
“The importance of knowing your destination, following your star, correcting your course and tuning in to what is most important in your life”. Jonathan Foust, “Best Year Ever"
Using the past year of experiment and experience, I know that what I am working toward is not so much external circumstances, conditions or situations. Rather, it is that quiet internal calm, even in the midst of things that will happen.
I am doing what I can within the constraints of being a full-time essential worker to keep Aspiration Community Yoga quietly breathing. I have written a monthly newsletter to stay in contact at least on my end. I made it known to you that I will help you via email and or text with movement sequences or just to encourage you to keep moving. I have offered (masked) private sessions to you who asked for in person help. I have maintained my Yoga Alliance teacher credentials, my licenses and insurance.
I will continue to learn and practice what I learn, about how the human body moves with skill. I will continue to work on learning what it is like to be completely opposite me.
The pandemic removed one of the balls I was juggling, giving me much needed rest. Yet, I still struggle to finish what I start, particularly books and at-your-own pace online learning. The access I had to teachers meant that I learned new valuable concepts and tools than ever before. But our necessity to socially distance inhibited my relationship with you, as I do not have the resources to teach online.
Looking back at what I was working for beginning 2020, I see progress and not-yets, evenly split among what I was working toward. Life being life, this past year knew positive and negative outcomes. Half of what I was working toward has been replaced by new aims, the other half I still am working toward. Nine months ago, all of us were impacted by the exceptional event of a worldwide pandemic. I count myself every so fortunate that it in fact did for me what I seem to be unwilling to for myself- lighten the load. I count myself extremely fortunate, and do not take this lightly.