From the very get-go this whole personal website thing was a total fiasco. I was doing it, and then I wasn't doing it, and then I was doing it again. I found many excuses: an idea wasn't quite expressed as it should be, a photo wasn't really suitable, my bio was initially 15 pages long (I was trying to give the full picture)… Suffice to say it challenged me in many, many ways. And so of course, I dived right in. Head first. Struggling. Apparently floundering. Drowning, in fact. Meeting my own resistance. Clambering over my own barriers – and this first blog post was no exception, by the way. What was it? I mean, I couldn't possibly be afraid of speaking my own truth, could I? I spend most of my life encouraging others to proclaim theirs from the rooftops!
Well, about that...
You see, I don't fit into a box. At all, at all. I'm not purely in the secondary school education category, nor am I exclusively in the yoga world. I don't solely belong in the French teaching field and even less in the Music education department. I maintain a healthy relationship with academia and I enjoyed a lengthy fling with lecturing when I lived in Paris. I sometimes wear the teacher trainer hat in both education and yoga spheres. I often dip my toe in the conscious well-being cosmos; I regularly feel most alive when exchanging ideas and working on creative projects with others, and I am permanently and unapologetically addicted to travelling and discovering new cultures.
Yes, I am sometimes exhausted. But I generally find that I can easily inhabit many worlds. Simultaneously. And ultimately this challenges many people, and it sure as hell challenges me. This is largely due to that crazy myth that we are much better off finding one thing and dedicating ourselves to it until we reach some appropriate level of expertise. Until we become one of those revered 'specialists' in the given area. It is quite difficult to avoid the commonly held belief that we should all subscribe to the romantic notion of devoting our lives to one thing.
But what happens when you find yourself with many diverse interests? Many passions? And you are reluctant to choose one at the expense of another. You want to do lots of things a bit of the time. You thrive at the intersection, which is for many made up of clearly defined fields. Cultivating a narrow focus feels like an intellectual and creative compromise you are unwilling to make. What about all the possibilities? You are more Renaissance than Romantic. Your adaptability is probably your biggest strength, but somehow you have been taught to believe it’s a burden. I can’t help but wonder how many brilliant generalist students come through our schools feeling like the dreaded CAO form-filling process is only destined to leave them feeling hopeless because they can happily imagine themselves not only thriving – but actually excelling - in ten very different areas.
We may always have a choice in life, but we do not always have the wisdom to make the choice that is best aligned with our path. And tapping into and cultivating our inner wisdom is not something that most mainstream education systems have known how to integrate. Thankfully this is beginning to change, but we still have a long way to go.
It may have taken me some time to see all the positives of being well-versed in many disciplines, but now the ability to flourish in what appear to be contrasting worlds is one that I cherish. Being engaged in multiple endeavours simultaneously – either alone or with others – is how I can best align myself with my “inner wiring”, to use the term I first heard from Emilie Wapnick in her Ted Talk on multipotentialites. Check her out - are you one maybe?
I am currently writing these words from New Caledonia where I am teaching yoga (through French), co-planning a teacher training program, checking out the latest films to use in my classroom in the next academic year, and practising the piano for upcoming collaborative music/yoga projects. Already this summer, I have spent a month in Bali diving into yoga therapy training and holistic education approaches, and a week in Australia revisiting my travelling yoga teacher life which I explored for three years. Next month I’ll be in New Zealand and Thailand where I look forward to exploring the networking opportunities that online visibility can potentially attract. Maybe there’s a wee bit of an entrepreneur in me too. It is a French word after all, so it is in line with the current array of tartes I have a finger in.
Returning to the original notion of fear, I have come to realise that we often teach what we most need to learn. I will probably choose to experience fear, time and time again, because it’s my capacity to get up close and comfortable with it that makes the difference. In the meantime, I always come back to the few things I am sure of: teaching is in me, yoga is my path, continuous learning keeps me humble, and creativity is my saving grace.
So hey there, big scary world wide web of unavoidable visibility and potential judgement … let’s be havin ya!