Don’t Make it Weird

I sometimes say this in class before asking everyone to do something…….well- ‘weird’. For example, turn to the person next to you, smile and tell them your name and that you’re glad they’re here. Choreograph some high fives with your entire row in boat pose. It strikes me that all the things I might have considered as ‘weird’ are about connecting with people who we don’t know or doing something we feel vulnerable about. Sure there are reasonable social protocols, but when I consider what makes the PYB community so special, strong and authentic- it’s actually about throwing a lot of those protocols out the window.

There aren’t very many places where we gather as a group of adults in close quarters to move, sweat and actually go on a physical and emotional journey together. How many places can we lay on the floor and be comfortable with silence in a group of people. The 40 Days program especially is near and dear to me because it’s a place where we all have the opportunity to just get real. When someone is brave and open enough to share something true about themselves or their life, that cuts through weirdness and social pleasantry BS like a knife. Everyone feels it and there is instant connection in the group. I don’t think there’s enough opportunity for that as adults. Sometimes it’s easier to say what needs to be said in a room full of semi-strangers than the people closest to us. I know that’s been true for me. The confidentiality of these groups is also sacred and in my 10 years in the Baptiste community something that I’ve seen honored.

Speaking of weird, who could have ever thought that we would be living in this reality- as a planet. Is this a movie? No, really. As things get weirder on the outside I am noticing that I’m getting weirder on the inside. And maybe it’s about time. Here are a few questions/ ideas/ weirdness I’ve been contemplating:

A couple years ago when I was in Sedona Arizona for a Baptiste program, the owner of the property took us on a hike around the beautiful grounds. Full of vortexes, walking labyrinths and unique ‘energetic’ places it was visually stunning and also a little unusual the way he was talking about it. He spoke in reverent tones of connecting with the Earth as our Mother and of the energy contained in the red rocks. He also spoke lovingly of the trees and even the power of hugging them- which he then did. Um. Even as a yoga teacher (but I am also an ex accountant) this was a lot for me to process. I was trying not to be judgmental but I heard my inner commentary writing it off as just a little too ‘out there’ for me and that this looks silly. But below that, a deeper part of me really liked it and wanted to believe in everything he was saying because it felt true. He assigned us the task of hugging and ‘spending time with’ a tree later that day. Once I got over feeling awkward and being scared someone would see me (but then again what was I worried about because everyone there was also supposed to be hanging out with a tree) , it was actually peaceful, moving and beautiful.

What makes certain noises weird and others not? Who, what, when and where all matters too- what is the context? Volume is also an issue: too loud vs.too soft. I don’t know about you, but right now I feel like I CAN’T YELL LOUD ENOUGH to get out everything that’s inside. Part of that is because I’m not letting myself do it. I think that sound is a great way to allow energy and emotion to shift. Think about how great it feels to belt out a song when you’re driving in the car by yourself. There is already ‘laughing yoga’ maybe there could also be ‘yelling yoga’. Especially now, I feel frustration, uncertainty and stuck energy that needs a place to MOVE. I know it is all laying dormant somewhere in my body and I wish I had an empty field available to scream it out. When I was in teacher training, a woman came to lead us in chanting. I was hugely skeptical/ cynical. Long flowy skirt- check. Guitar- check. Then she started a call and response chant. I didn’t know the words I was singing but I couldn’t even say them within 2 minutes because I was crying my eyes out. What? Seems like the ‘weirdness’ in me just couldn’t wait to come up.

So what’s weird anyway? Who is on the executive committee of what is currently defined as weird? If I look underneath it all, what I find is that I’m concerned about being judged. Whether by my neighbors for yelling my head off in my own backyard (haven’t tried that yet) or hugging some trees in Delaware Park (more likely to try). The antidote to that is to completely own my ‘weird’ behavior if that’s what feels right in my own skin. If being weird means actually being ourselves and genuinely being connected with nature and other people doing the same thing- I think we should make it even more weird.

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