How disappointing

So I went to this level 1 training, I had this fantastic time, experienced new levels of energy, related emotions to physical issues, and was able to push myself to new limits.

I came back to teaching with a whole new level of energy and juice, it was like I was on fire, and I taught the shit out of classes in that studio. The owner of the studio had taken my class maybe, twice? Just twice over the entire year that I taught there. It was the other teachers who regularly came and supported my growth, but the veterans all left because of issues with the owner. Everyone eventually left because of issues with the owner. Some people were in better positions than others, but it came down to the owner being unfair and uncompromising.

Great, you built a business on your hard work, but you don’t want to compensate the employees appropriately? Maybe you pay some of them well enough, but now you’re going to treat them with excessive scrutiny about the classes you teach, because you aren’t willing to teach the classes yourself anymore? Nice business model. We’ll see how it holds up.

I’ve got tons of pent up frustration about that woman. I truly foresee the business failing very soon. I’m so frustrated because I had such an emotional attachment to the place. I see this. It’s just a shame to see that this person let everything go and stopped putting her own spirit into the place. Its a terrible loss for the community that she, with all of her skills and assets, took herself out of the picture and stopped sharing anything meaningful. She devolved into a run of the mill fitness studio owner.

2 sneezes. True statements. Heard that from Gary Vee, he says it’s a Russian thing.

More on that bologna later.

I’m a goddamn expert at getting to the edge, and not making the move on a girl. I was too afraid to let women get attached to me because I thought I would never be able to get them off or get them to leave. That’s an ass backwards way to look at it. That’s how the thought went. Really, it’s, I’m so lonely, I want to pick someone and hold onto them forever, and never have to worry about them leaving and breaking my heart.

That was the true fear, I don’t want my heart broken. But who does? Isn’t that the fare for playing the game in the first place? It’s bound to happen, whether you die, they die, they lave, you realize you need to leave, whatever. I’m going at this in a much more light hearted manner these days.

You really shouldn’t teach like that

So this yoga studio had a very rigorous structure where you would teach a class, and every single person who taught there, or assisted there, was required to stay after class, and give whoever taught and assisted the class, was each given ‘feedback’. This process would take anywhere from 10-30 minutes sometimes.

This was a very stressful thing at the start because of how delicate my sensibilities were. This was the case for every new teacher, it was a trial by fire of sorts. There was a very fine line between what is ‘feedback’ and what is ‘coaching’. People would drift into the ‘coaching’ side of the spectrum more often than not. What’s even worse was nobody but I would say one or two people, were actually qualified to give coaching back in those days.

The ‘coaching’ would end up be people just spitting judgments allover each other and everyone walking away with a bad taste in their mouth. I remember one class I even got feedback from a teacher after class for the way I was practicing, I just did some amplifications of poses in the class.

The owner was a very brash, aggressive, unlikable person, who had this very thick Portuguese accent, and people would model and look up to her style as if that was acceptable.

I get why I gravitated towards the yoga style, and how her studio did things, and it helped me a lot at the time. I was numb, I didn’t feel much those days. I found her to be a great example of someone who was able to elicit an emotional response from people, to move energy, to excite the class into being present. This was all well and good at the time. The practice has evolved, I have evolved, and she has quit teaching classes (this comes later)

So people are being super judgmental and covering it up with their “Yoganese” twists on their words and statements, and people are getting their feelings hurt. I heard about people crying afterwards, I even did a few times (I ain’t no bitch real men cry)

This caused a lot of burnout across the board. I dealt with it all by smoking pot, tripping, and doing sudarshan kriya daily. It was really the meditation and kriya that held me together, everything else just drained the shit out of me.

Again, I’m excluding a lot of detailed information because I’m making this blog for myself mostly, I’m finding great therapy out of creating this, and I feel like it may be a useful reference to link to future girlfriends and say ‘Read all this shit, it’s pretty much how I feel about everything’

Posts are on a schedule to release every Sunday. At some point I will expedite it. and post more currently, or maybe even abandon the whole thing. JUST FEELING IT OUT HERE.

Easy money, easy life

On the last day of the teacher training for yoga, I was approached by the owner of the studio and offered four classes on the teaching schedule. I was very nervous and right away said yes ok whatever you say.

I had zero faith in myself. I was so scared, so unprepared.

It wasn’t even one entire year after starting to practice yoga poses, that I had been hired to teach yoga at the very studio I walked into for the first time. This was a miracle in my mind. Every class I taught was an event, an challenge, a great feat that I would miraculously make it through every time, somehow.

I would later learn that my teacher training was extremely weak in regards to structuring the yoga classes’ tempo, pacing, and timing. We were not given any form of a script. We were simply taught to teach the poses, and we simply copied the cues and instructions from other teachers we practiced with often.

It just had me in this super uncertain place about every class for the first month. Then I went to this level 1 bootcamp training that lasted an entire week. That shit was off the chain. I had such a fantastic experience. It was just realization on realization. I got to talk in front of the ~140 person training for a minute, I cried, I laughed, I hurt, I had pain, I felt release. I had such an amazing experience. Then the results afterwards.

I’ve really gotta’ take a break from the seriousness. There were some seriously attractive women at this thing. My impression is that a lot of people get into yoga from a body image viewpoint. Myself is included in this, I wanted to get six pack abs and look super sexy and attract some super model level girlfriend. I think I had a crush on every single one of them.

I always had this issue in my own mind. I was hot for everyone. Like hyper turned on. My dad, I like to refer to him these days as “misogynist prime”, objectified women to a great degree. I don’t know if he really didn’t respect them, or if he, like so many others I believe, used that as a front, or facade, in order to hide their emotions. The lack of emotional expression from all of my male friends (which I have very few of these days being a yoga teacher) astounds me in retrospect.

So one thing I would persistently practice is not getting an erection around women, because I was so lonely, so single, so sex deprived that I would get over excited over the slightest stimulus. I think that was a big turn off to a lot of women. I would connect to their desires for loyalty and lasting relationship, and my head would go to the extreme. So I would envision what it would be like to have a whole relationship, family, marriage, the whole nine yards- I would do this to every potential mate who I deemed attractive enough.

So I had a crush on the owner of the studio, nearly every teacher, tons of the fellow students. I had crushes on several of my students, I would never take it anywhere because I knew that was a big ethical boundary not to cross (totally happened recently, that’s for a future blog post. Learned from experience, not a good idea, don’t do it)

Back then I used to wear very little. Like super tight short hot yoga shorts, not like speedo short, but above knee, which was a big deal for me, I never wore shorts that exposed my knees. no shirt, short hair. I wanted to expose myself in every way I could in order to trigger myself into tuning all of it out. That was my method, I would create mental obstacles for myself to overcome. That’s even why I grew my hair out long back then.

 

 

Experiencing the uncovering

The next weekend I remember taking another eighth of mushrooms with one of my roommates. I put on the album Meddle by Pink Floyd. I read from the book the power of now. The girl roommate in our house joined me, it was her first time taking them. She got lost inside of a fuzzy blanket for a while as I went off on my brother. I was boarder line berating him asking him why he doesn’t live presently, why he doesn’t act like his best self ever.

It was easy for me to talk since I was tripping and the chemical reactions within the body had defaulted me into that state. I can only talk from where I am. That was where I was. Looking back I may have been a bit harsh on him.

About half way through the trip, I had called the attention of my home girl lost in the blue fuzzy blanket. I wanted to share something with her. I told her about the suicidal thoughts, the pull to want to die, and to kill myself and I began to cry. I cried so hard. I had never cried so deeply in my life.

It was the saddest experience ever to, in that state, even consider killing myself. It was such a night and day experience from what I had been going through in my sober states. I just moved on from that moment like it was nothing, yet when I thought upon the moment again, it was all of the sudden this terrible tragedy to even consider.

This experience, this deep sadness, this turmoil that I’ve never experienced before was a HUGE wake up call to action. During the next teacher training I was in, I had gone on a lunch break and made a phone call to my mom. I came clean about everything. I had held such deep guilt about lying to her all of these years. I admitted that I was smoking pot all of the time, that I was doing all kinds of drugs, I was sad, stressed, depressed, I wanted to kill myself, and I felt like I had nobody I could confide in, and I was most of all afraid to tell her because I was so afraid that she would be ashamed of me, or that she wouldn’t accept me for doing every single thing that she had taught me was bad, wrong, and not acceptable.

She replied with the exact opposite of what I had feared would happen. She told me that she didn’t care. It’s ok. Take it just one day at a time. Keep going forward. Don’t worry about what I had done. She told me she loved me and was happy that I had called.

After that phone call I felt physically lighter. I felt happier, I felt relieved. Even fellow students in my training had said I felt lighter, that I had greater energy in a very noticeable way.

This was a huge illustration to me of how powerful it was to release stuck emotions, to say what was unsaid about a situation.

I later that day made a very similar phone call to my father. He proceeded to tell me about his past which he had kept a secret about being a drug addict, how he didn’t care one bit that I smoked pot or took psychedelics. This was another level of relief to experience. I really didn’t know my father very well. I had made efforts to get to know him after high school, but through my childhood he had never really explained the finer details of his life, his history of being a dancer, drug addict, going through recovery, practicing transcendental meditation, none of it. It really opened a huge door between us.

Deeper than deep

I always went all out in my physical practice. I felt like I was so stuck, so distracted, so undisciplined in my life before, that I had to make up for lost time. This served me well at the start, when I had a lot of back work to do. This stopped being the case over time.

This not only applied to my physical practice, but it applied to my habits when it came to taking mushrooms. Throughout the course of my first teacher training here, I took about an eighth a month. I kept myself very busy. If I wasn’t working, I was practicing yoga. If not those, I would be doing necessary errands or house work. If not those, I would be in a workshop, or training, or program of some sort on a weekend. If not that, I would be tripping.

The tripping was a quintessential part of my growth. I found that it was only through that, I was able to experience and embrace more of these practices of letting go of the ego. I was able to release deep emotional trauma, and actually feel the result of my actions. I had spent most of my life ignoring all of the signals, disregarding my own well being and happiness for the sake of others. I found myself bound by these perceptions. I had reasoned and justified myself into a limited lifestyle, and the yoga training paired with the psychedelic use was the miracle one-two punch to kick my own ass into gear.

I had this one weekend in a training where I had a wonderful time. I was experiencing energy and new heights of expression and release. I had felt like I was tripping, yet totally sober. It was glorious.

I had an opportunity to share, and I got up in front of everyone to talk. I was all over the place, I was excited, afraid, scattered, everything. I was eager to release this simple statement. “I realized that I didn’t have to make such a big deal out of this thing.” I was on the verge of a breakthrough and being able to share it. Then the leader of the training and owner told me that “I was wasting everyone’s time, that I needed to shut up, sit down, and stop crying.”

After she told me that, I was enraged. I couldn’t believe she would say something like that to me. I said fuck this, fuck all of this, fuck the yoga, fuck the program, fuck it all, I’m done.

I took an entire week off of all yoga, meditation, art of living breathing exercises. I didn’t do any of it.

I remember overhearing that it was a good thing to take a week off every now and then, so that was a nice thing to justify the break I was taking. I figured it was prudent not to just quit that day, give it some time.

I made it the whole week, I was super frustrated. I was done with everything, it was a Friday night. I was up in my room frustrated, angry, thinking about that thing, thinking about how I wanted to get out of my body, the situation, everything. I stopped myself and was eyeing my window. I opened it, I looked at the screen. I visualized jumping, diving head first through the screen. Maybe I could kick it open, then drop down into the stairwell below to the back door of the townhouse, that’s the furthest distance and maybe I would break my legs and bleed to death. I could go head first and make sure I got my head and neck, that would be a sure fire way to kill myself.

It was this deep center of my chest pull towards the window. It felt beyond my control, like it was the proper move to make.

Then for a brief moment I observed my own thoughts and realized. ‘Woah. I am thinking WAY too hard here! I need to sit down and meditate.’

I sat down for the next hour and a half, had a wonderful meditation, and went on with the program, training, everything. I refused to share or go out of my way to participate in any of the activities involved in the training. I had checked out of the training and had no interest in being open with the studio owner and leader.

 

 

Alright, not too bad

The assisting training was a wonderful weekend of opening. I remember crying on my yoga mat in a half pigeon pose. I was crying about why I ever gave up playing the trumpet in the first place back in 5th grade. It felt like such a travesty, I still held some sadness about the situation and I believe I was able to release that on this weekend. I felt wonderful experiences of energy and new vitality awakening.

I was working for an online retailer who sold nerdy gadgets for their holiday season. It was another temporary job with a contract about to end. I remember one day practicing yoga at a late evening class. At the beginning of class, the teacher says “Set your intention” and the only thing on my mind was “I really need a job”, because my contract was coming to an end in a week or so.

This Indian man comes late in and sets up right next to me. I pay little to no mind to it. My focus is always on the gaze, always steadfast and focused on what is in front of me, and I let whatever is not on that point, remain outside of that point. We get to the end of class and I see him doing a headstand, moving his legs in circles all over the place, and I’m dead beat on my back with my legs in the air, observing in amazement.

The teacher tells us “Share your intention with your neighbor!”. So I did, I told him “Hi my name is Xyz, and I really need a job, I have a temp job that’s about to end and I don’t know what I’m going to do next.”

He calmly replies. “I think I have something for you. Let me give you my contact information in the lobby.”

Two days later I call him and set up an interview. I meet him at his home and he describes to me briefly that he has just had a daughter with his wife, and needs more help around his office. Simple things, everyday tasks, cleaning, getting cars washed, inspected, dry cleaning dropped off, and maybe thing or two for the company. He said he was very willing to be flexible with my yoga teacher training coming up and he would allow me to take off on certain days I needed to be at the studio early for that.

He told me about this Art of Living Foundation after the interview. I signed up for it right away. I would practice this breathing exercise every day religiously, and I’m going to say this now and probably say it again: This stuff changed the way I lived. It was the most powerful, deepest, most profound experience of meditation that I have ever experienced, and to this day ( Janurary 7 2017) I still follow up with them on a weekly basis. I could write a whole post about this shit.

My regular lifestyle and routine was work 32-40 hours as an assistant at this IT company, go take a yoga class, come home to eat, get stoned out of my mind, sleep and repeat allover again. It was a very stressful, very busy lifestyle. I was living with my brother, a close friend from high school, and our coworker who was a girl moved in with us into the townhouse.

 

Are you experienced?

Later on, around November 10th, the weekend of this Manny Pacquiao fight, I took a bus up to one of my best friends’ place in New York City. He was studying music production. We had tripped together about a month before and had a great time with some more mushrooms. I had made this trip up to his place for this acid he had acquired from upstate. It was liquid dropped onto sugar cubes.

We took the doses in the early evening, almost right after I arrived for the weekend. It was a small apartment, his room was a desk and a bed. We laid on the bed listening to Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix, Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, Further by The Chemical Brothers, and some Beatles mix, it could have been one of the albums, I forget at this point. I remember being rather passive. Not much in the way of visual differences. When we closed our eyes we both saw the same image, a radar blip type illumination of a green color. I recall him giving me a run down of how we were safe, we were in our own little bubble, and to look outside is our reassurance to see how the world is still operating normally.

I remember visualizing to an ocean side with steep rocks hundreds of feet tall, massive waves crashing against them. As I described these things to him I was told to shut up. I later heard from him that he thought he had gotten a double dose, and the only way to keep his own shit together was to bury his eyes in the crease of his elbow and focus on one place, on one thing, and he was able to keep himself calm.

I recall having a wealth of energy. I wasn’t tired at all. I didn’t sleep at all, yet I felt totally content. I wasn’t hungry at all, and remained content. The whole next day I spent at his place observing this gathering at his place to watch the fight. I didn’t recall who exactly was there, I remember this really pretty girl from high school, Nicole was there, with her perfectly groomed, unnaturally straight blonde hair. I just observed, interacting with few people, sitting in the corner of the sectional couch eating chicken wings. I didn’t quite know what to make of everything. I didn’t necessarily have a very intense experience by any stretch of the imagination. I found the music quite entrancing, but nothing too profound came of it. It was nowhere near the intensity of the previous mushroom trips I had.

I pondered if I had gotten a bunked hit, or a far smaller dose. I returned to Virginia and the next weekend began my first ‘real’ weekend long program to learn how to assist yoga classes, not that we really spent much time learning how to touch people.

Yo what? Yoga?

I had read the book ‘The Game’ recently. I had this whole perception that getting fit, becoming better looking was the ticket to getting a girlfriend before reading that book.

The takeaway was, that the real game was working on yourself, and that I needed to just better myself, and then the girls would come. That made perfect sense to me. I then went forth to keep cycling, lifting weights, but I wanted to do more. I had learned that my brother’s ex-girlfriend had become a hot yoga teacher. This intrigued me.

I did a bunch of research and watched plenty of YouTube videos of Bikram Choudhury, I looked into going to one of his studios, and got on my bike to find it. I rode up and down the road where the studio was, but for some reason was unable to find it. I ended up walking up to this power yoga studio on a Tuesday around 7:30 PM. I asked for some information, I was rather blank, knew nothing, and was given a schedule. The beautiful brown curly haired girl behind the front desk told me “Well we have a basics class about to start right now!”. I was unprepared and said to her, I can’t today. I will be here Thursday.

I signed up for their 30 days for $50 and grabbed my mom’s ballay total fitness mat. I found it to beĀ great. It was challenging, it was dynamic, I was tight, I was off balance, I was curious. I kept up my weight training routine, and would use the yoga to balance out and stretch out the muscles which I tightened through lifting weights. When my 30 day pass ran out, I saw the timing was perfect for their next “40 Days to Personal Revolution” program. It included a 40 day pass for yoga, and meetings every Wednesday night, 7:30-9 PM or something like that.

I figured it was a good deal, still less than their monthly membership cost, and I guess I could go to these meetings. The program itself asked all participants to practice in yoga classes for 6 days a week in the studio, and to learn to meditate. We began at 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the evening. The meditations grew from 5 up to 30 minutes morning and evening for the duration of the program.

The meetings were led by the studio owner, who had us state a confidentiality agreement, allowed us to share, got us to all talk in front of the group and state something we wanted to get out of the program. She addressed the fact that its uncomfortable to witness and be around people who are sharing uncomfortable feelings. She brought awareness to the simple happenings which many of us simply never took the time to contemplate.

I feel like this simple thing, observing the natural simple happenings which become so mundane and understood is such a powerful thing. It’s not very common to watch a TV show and hear conversations about mindfulness and how to grow or get beyond oneself in their perception.

My routine after every yoga class and meeting was to smoke a bowl in the car ride home. I had this wonderful little device called the ‘SoloPipe’ It let me smoke with one hand, it was great. I would feel amazing after these yoga classes, but after the meetings I would get really emotional. I would have intense emotional realizations of ways I wasn’t living the way I wanted to. I re experienced hurt and suffering from past traumas, back from when I almost got expelled and so on. I realized I wasn’t being the person I wanted to be, and how that impacted my relationship with my family, and my friends. It was this amazing terrible beautiful tragic glass case of emotions shattering a thousand times over. I remember even pulling the car over and stopping to write in my journal.

With such an intense and exaggerated response to the program, I immediately signed up for teacher training when they offered the program at a super discount off the tail end of the program. I signed up for that with money my dad gave to me for college, and signed up for a teacher assistant training too.

The process had begun.

 

 

Dark side of the moon

Bonnaroo 2010. This was the 2nd and last Bonnaroo I went to. We found some friends on craigslist to split the gas with and filled up my Ford Explorer. We had lucked out and found some very nice companions for our trip. We found two women, and one other man to join myself and my other friend Sean (one from my first trip).

I got to see all kinds of artists I loved and sang along with. The most memorable of which were The Dead Weather, Stevie Wonder, and Jay-Z all in a row together, I was on this substance ‘DOB’ for that show. The guy from our car pool off craigslist had it with him and gave me a tab of it. In hindsight, this was a bit of spontaneous decision, not very thought out. I was informed it was kind of like acid. I felt very large, and expanded, I had some concerns about my hydration and body temperature, but my friends touching me said I felt just fine. I remember this beautiful girl Lisa in front of me locking eyes with me, zoning in and dancing closer. At this time I still had quite a lot of fears and anxieties about approaching women, and I didn’t know what to do or say. My friend got us to exchange numbers before we parted ways. Her phone later died and I never reconnected with her, I just remember she lived in Florida, and she shared that with me a few days after the festival.

The big event was the Flaming Lips playing Dark Side of the Moon, I took mushrooms before seeing them. It was an awe inspiring, opening, pure spectacle of beauty. I was so grateful for that experience. Thinking back, I was very far away from the stage, but not too far to enjoy it deeply.

The rest of the Bonnaroo was a bit of a blur, but I recall having such a great time with our neighbors who I’m still facebook friends with to this day.

On the way back from the festival I was first on shift to drive back. I actually fell asleep at the wheel and shifted an entire lane with my eyes closed before I woke back up. I had never been so afraid of crashing my car before in my life. I took the next stop and switched drivers to sleep the rest of the ride home.

The work is up next.

 

 

The doors of perception

I had just watched the season finale of Lost the night before. I had spent the night at a friend’s place and we had our own viewing party. I personally didn’t quite understand the ending. Maybe now as I write this (~6 & 1/2 years later) I see more of what they were trying to say. The second time around filled in some gaps.

I had just gotten us some mushrooms the previous week. I had never done these before.

I had always been a real prude most of my life. It took serious peer pressure and bullying to get me to do much of anything when I was younger, and I had always steered clear of anything of serious potency. I tried ecstacy once, didn’t do much. I tried 2-CI once, but it was a very small, 1/3 of a dose. It had little to no effect, all I really remember was having a fun night hanging out with a friend and my brother, and another friend coming over super drunk, and vomiting in our buddy’s front yard like a soda machine.

I wanted to try these mushrooms in a more familiar setting before I went off to bonnaroo the next month, where I knew I was to be around a plentiful source of these things. I got together with two good friends. We made peanut butter and mushroom sandwiches, and had nothing else for breakfast but that. We each took one eighth of an ounce each.

We went off to a local creek where we sat on a log, waited 45 minutes from eating, and smoked a bowl. This is where the effects began to take hold. I began to notice differences in my vision. The details of everything around me became more refined. Similar to when you switch a ‘High Quality’ YouTube video into ‘High Definition’. Yet, there was something beyond the quality which became revealed.

I recall staring at a leaf, and the image of this green leaf in my vision spliced into an array of images of this leaf, and split into each individual color of the spectrum similar to a kaleidoscope. I walked over to the bank of the creek, and as I peered down over the edge, I could see the bits of water actively seep out from the walls of the mud, trickle down the side and merge with the water. I was utterly awestruck from the beauty of what laid before me.

Had this been around me all along? How could I not have seen this amazing alluring beauty before now? I grew up running up and down through this forest my whole childhood, yet not once did I experience the immensity of the beauty and dynamism. I wanted to spend the whole day here observing nature, taking in all of the different sights there were to see.

I looked around one moment and remember this defining moment of realization. “Wow, I really enjoy nature, I want to go outside more, I don’t want to play computer games so much anymore.” Just as I was about to sit down to observe more of the water flowing through rocks, my friends reminded me of our agenda to go to the mall. I refused his first plea. “Come on man let’s go!! If you don’t like it, I promise we will bring you right back, come with us, and if after 10 minutes you don’t like it, we’ll bring you right back and we can spend the whole day here.”

Suddenly after getting in the car I had all but completely forgotten about the creek and began to relish in the sensations of wind and sunshine as I took my shirt off and extended my entire upper body out of the window of the car. Jaw agape, tongue extended to my chin, looking up at the trees reaching over the roadway as we made our way to the mall.

I recall one supremely unique perspective of the three of us, walking on the ground level of this mall away from the book store commenting “I feel like we’re just three consciousnesses floating along together here.” My vision of the body had entirely vanished, and all I could see were these center points of each of our heads. My awareness was of the skeletal structure of our bodies as these bobbing heads floated along through this tiled and marbled corridor of retail stores and pillars. Large glass, arched ceilings extended three floors above our heads and not a care in the world, just a pure joyful experience of new vision.

We made our way to a local rec center and spent some time swimming in the pool. I jumped off the high dive for the first time, something I had ALWAYS been afraid to do. As the substance wore off, I began to grow quiet. We ate a hefty meal at Famous Dave’s, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening smoking away at our pipe and burning through the remainder of what pot we had left.