Speaking to Liberal Arts College Seniors about Life and Yoga

It was Wednesday and I was racing home from work to let my Berner Max out.  Fumbling with the lock to my own front door "Hi bub, let's go out" I coo.  He wags his tail and races toward the back door eagerly waiting for me to let him OUT.  Three tasks are begun at once (the opposite of mindfulness I should point out), changing my pants from work slacks into yoga slacks, filling my dogs bowl with food and shoving a piece of cheese in my mouth.  With Max back in the house, given a solid scratching and fed, I race back out to my car.  The whole process from parking in my drive way to pulling back out again took 6 minutes tops. Speeding up Friendly Avenue from Downtown I realize it's a beautiful day especially for February, I roll down my window and try to relax.  It's not nerves.  I definitely wouldn't say it's nerves, I'm cringing now, because maybe it is.  My mind wonders off, I think to myself "Tumbleweed wonders why I don't have time to clean my car regularly, but what would life be like if I did have the time to clean my car regularly?"

Guilford College comes into view, I make a right.  This place used to be home, it still feels familiar like a warm cup of coffee.  Before I left work today my manager ribbed at me "What you didn't want to do a presentation for upper management because it was stressing you out, but you'll go talk to a class of college students?" "This is different" I said. But is it?  Isn't this more important than upper management in corporate america?  We are talking about people on the cusp of graduation, wide-eyed seniors ready to take on the world mostly having no clue what's next and they know it.  Yeah, this was actually way more important than any work presentation that I've ever given.

My Freshman year Photography college Professor Mia has humbled me a third time by asking me to speak to her cap-stone class (a special class for seniors;  a culmination of their college experience).  I mostly know the questions Mia will ask me in advance.  It's not a formal presentation but I never feel fully equipped to answer the questions.  They're hard.

A) What did you learn and take with you from your Liberal Arts Guilford education?

B) What would you tell your graduating Senior self?

Yeah! Tough ones.  How would you answer those doozies?  After all hindsight is 20/20

We (as in the whole class and myself) were sitting outside on a patio, basking in the last rays of the February sun as Mia asked me those questions and a few others.  When I get in front of her classes, I alway feel tongue-tied.   If I had told my manager about it in advance he would have been happy to help me practice or rehearse my answers, he would have helped me polish the story I told and maybe I should have done that.  I didn't practice or rehearse, I mulled, and I mulled and I mulled.  Ultimately I just wanted to be real.  I want to be raw, and honest with these young adults the way I wish people would have been real with me.

I wish someone would have told me to not worry about the money, take more risks, follow your heart, explore and don't be so worried about "security" it will come.  I didn't have the heart to say that to them, mostly because that advice still scares the hell out of me.  That's probably what I should have told them.  That's probably the advice I should take myself, but I'm not ready.  I'm still too scared, too practical.  Maybe the next time I go speak to Mia's class I'll get to say I took a leap of faith and you should too...

It feels like I rambled on and on to them.   I hope there was meaning to my ramble.  Then we walked across campus to another building that had space for us to practice yoga.  The campus was as beautiful at night as I had remembered.  It makes my heart ache with love when I see how beautiful it is and once again I feel like I've made my way home.

We roll out our mats like sardines in a small room in the back first floor of the King building.  So much has changed yet so little has changed.  These are the yoga classes I'm most nervous to teach.  I remind myself (as I remind others) to let the yoga speak for its self.  I don't need to add flowery language.  It doesn't have to have bells and whistles, it's just yoga and they probably need it.  45 minutes came and went quickly and then we got to the end.

We said Namaste and I had to rush out quickly.  Half running half walking back across campus to my car (arms full of extra yoga mats), my heart felt good because I knew Guilford would always be my home.  I sped back across town to teach my last class of the evening, vinyasa challenge at the studio, but at least the hard part was behind me.