For the Ex-Patriates
I’ve been thinking of myself as an Anusara ex-patriate these days. It feels good to me. I did this before when I lived abroad—I left my original home, by choice, and had to find my way in a new place. During the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of voices in this new ex-pat community. I wrote this because I want you to know that in my opinion, what we are feeling and experiencing is normal and valid.
- You may have left because of JF’s financial misconduct. You may have left because of his sexual misconduct. You may have left for some other reason pertaining to JF. You may have left for some other reason NOT pertaining to JF. Some people will assume they know why you left. Some people will ask you questions. Some people will not be able to look at you. Some people will love you up.
- Most people, in or out, understand that this is a HELL of a situation. Few of us saw this coming. Most people understand that we all have a responsibility to live according to our own lights and in response to our own experiences. As my old friend and sadhana sister Jackie Prete says, it takes courage to stay. It takes courage to go.
- Some people will resent you for leaving. Some people feel will feel betrayed and won’t like you. Some people will think you made your decision haphazardly. For me, this last one feels ill-informed at best and insulting at worst. My advice: don’t worry about this too much. You’ve made your decision, chances are good you did not make it haphazardly, and everyone has to live with it. No need to go on a mission explaining yourself. There are plenty of other people who honor the work that you did to come to your decision.
- Some people will offer support and sweetly wish you well. This feels fantastic. As I enjoy the support of my loving students, friends, family, and colleagues, it has also been important for me to remind myself that I did not make my decision based on anybody else’s opinion, regardless of whether it is approval or disapproval.
- You may totally forgive JF. You may feel that you never will. You may forgive JF and desire to see him held accountable for his behavior. You may feel he HAS been held accountable for his behavior. You may mourn the change of your relationship with an important teacher. You may feel that it was never about JF for you.
- You might feel hopeful that Anusara yoga will continue. You might feel hopeful that Anusara yoga will be wiped off the face of the earth. I mostly feel the former—many of my friends remain committed to Anusara yoga and I personally worked my ass off for her for eleven years. Sometimes I feel the latter. Perhaps this makes me a bad person. Perhaps this just makes me a person.
- Anusara may end sooner, with a bang. Anusara may end later, with a whimper. Anusara may immediately regroup, reorganize, and turn this thing around. Anusara may take months, even years, to come to terms with these events and with JF. We will all have complex feelings about whatever the outcome is.
- You may find yourself wishing the people remaining in Anusara yoga well. You may not. In my opinion, it is well within the range of “normal” to want others to see the situation exactly how we see it. However, as we well know, such a wish is not only pointless, but foolish. Variety is the spice of life. Even if you hate cilantro, you must admit it exists and that some people like it.
- If Anusara yoga endures, you might take up your license again. You might not. Perhaps you already know in your viscera that you will never go back. Perhaps you’re just waiting for things to settle down, for certain personal criteria to be met, so that you can return. Regardless of your decisions on these matters, again, some will agree with your decision, and some will not. Again, either way takes courage.
- You may feel lost in your teaching without the anchor of self-identifying as an Anusara yoga teacher. You may feel that your teaching has never been better. You may alternate depending on the day. As my college roommate used to say, the important thing is not to panic. I think we can expect to feel the texture of this transition in our teaching. As you well know, making and adapting to changes in your teaching takes time.
- You may feel like starting up something new with your buddies. You may feel like watching and waiting what Anusara yoga does. You may feel like delving more deeply into your own activities. You may feel like doing nothing but sitting catatonically staring at the wall. Guess what—all valid responses!
Do any of these resonate with you?
Love to all.