I’ve been feeling these words stirring up inside me for a really long time. I’ve been sitting back, and waiting with baited breath to speak up and express what others might not dare to say, “I call BULLSHIT.”
When Mind Body Barre opened almost six years ago, I envisioned a place where people came to express themselves in a deeply open, nurturing and exhilarating manner. I dreamed of a place where women and men could feel exposed and vulnerable for the first time, able to explore the deeper parts of themselves without judgement or fear.
As a young girl, I dreamed of being a teacher, a writer, an entertainer, a speaker. Feeling off track from my passions yet wanting to help the world, I enrolled in a University where I got my Psychology degree. For so many of you who know my story--I went to work in the corporate world shortly after and quickly discovered it was not what I had expected. Ironically today, I fuse my love of teaching, writing, entertaining, speaking and helping others into my practice in a way that encompasses who I am.
Many people often tell me how much they admire the strength and determination that it must have took to open three studios, run these businesses and do “all that I do”. I want to tell you that it’s “really no big deal”, that it’s “really easy”, that “anyone can do it”. I do, I want to tell you that but I won’t and here’s why: I’ve spent a really long time discovering who I am, and working toward being comfortable with that, in fact, I’m still working on it.
When I was about 22/23 years old, I thought I had it all figured out. I had just graduated college, began working and felt like I was entering a chapter of my life that would help to define who was. I had no doubt already overcome obstacles that held me back (I’ll save this for the book haha); I was able to reflect on how I was responsible and contributed to my circumstances through my own lack of appreciation, dignity, self respect and self worth. And I thought I was comfortable with who I was, but I was still figuring that all out . And the truth is, I still am. We all are.
At that age, I remember receiving advice from elders that I trusted and respected, yet when they’d tell me not to rush through life I’d get so frustrated and confused about why they just didn’t understand. All I was trying to do was to get somewhere, ahead. I’d like to go back in time and smack my young, naive and insecure self.
I wish I had been more gracious and willing to let others see me fail. I was so headstrong and passionate. There’s such an interesting parallel to this in the studio. I see so many students who don’t try because they fear what the outcome might be; failure.
To the student who’s too afraid to try a yoga class because you’re not flexible, you probably need it in order to get more flexible. And if you’re intimidated by sanskrit words or curious postures, it’s all just a bunch of bullshit. Yoga is a practice of combining the body and mind. Yoga is not expensive leggings, thin bodies and bendy beauties. Yoga is me when I wake up completely out of sorts and I can let it go on my mat. And it’s fucking hard.
To the women who’s looking to “lose that fat right there”, you don’t need to lose the fat- you need to alter your state of consciousness. I wish I were kidding but I’ve seen so many beautiful, strong and competent women who do not understand why they cannot lose weight and it’s mostly because they cannot accept themselves; because they don’t know how to love themselves.
Fear makes us do interesting things. It makes us think we are doing things for the right reasons. It hold us back from saying what we really mean. It traps us into believing in a consciousness that is sub par to who we are really meant to be. It makes us headstrong and judging. It suffocates us into being afraid of where we are in life.
In a world of saturated fitness studios, angel card readers, MLM companies, healers, life coaches and spiritual “gurus” it can be easy to view these professions and feel connected and drawn to the purpose of helping others--but I call bullshit. Not everyone can actually do it but everyone can at least be honest about why they're trying do it. In some ways, we all try at some point to be something we are not. We quickly discover it's not who we are and move on the next "thing". If it’s your calling, step through the shadow parts of yourself and be willing to expose them to the world. If it's not sticking, ask yourself why?
Two days ago (the day before the election) I was scrolling through my newsfeed and saw a “pantsuit flashmob” in honor of our girl Hill (I just feel like she’d be totally cool with me calling her that?) Maybe I was just overly hormonal, but I started to uncontrollably sob. When I tell you the body is always communicating, I mean it. I didn’t realize that this one moment would be so exhilarating and freeing for me to understand that I was being drawn into a consciousness that was part of something bigger happening around me. That I still ultimately am connected to this big great and daunting task that lies ahead. I have to admit. I’m fucking tired. I’m just tired and I have moments where I feel like I can’t possibly help another human, another individual nor give another ounce of who I am. But then all in that one moment I felt completely connected to every individual on earth. I felt every string of love, compassion, anger, hate, solitude, grief, and even overwhelming joy for every being on this planet. It was the most overwhelming sense of emotion I think I have ever had and it felt other worldly in my body. It’s like I was just able to see people for who they really are, for just a moment and it’s made me realize, I call bullshit. We are all living in fear. In some way, we are all suffering. We are all part of this problem and we can all be part of the solution, but we HAVE to be willing. If we are not willing, we cannot change.
I used to pride myself on a little saying that was coined at MBB years ago, “If it no longer serves you, let it go”. I find truth in this statement but I also find flaws. If it challenges you, you need it, if you feel averse to it, it’s your calling and there is medicine in it for you. There’s medicine in every obstacle, in every flaw and every break in your path--but only you can fix it. I can’t fix it for you, your astrologer can’t, your personal trainer can’t, your meditation guru or holistic doctor can’t. Only you can. It’s time to look in the mirror. And that’s why I call bullshit.
-No Bullshit Artist, Ando
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