My day began innocently enough.
A long sit, surrounded by the animals; a morning full of love, friendship and laughter; the sun shining, the air fresh and cold. Feeling grateful that the full moon was making her appearance this evening, the day unfolded and I with it.
As each we move through each moon cycle, especially over the past year, I become more and more sensitive to her moods. Often, the days leading up to when she’s her fullest, I am on high alert; my senses working over time, as if I can hear and smell and see everything all at the same time.
Moving through the day it was mid-afternoon when my awareness was drawn to something happening within. In quiet observation, without judgement, I noticed that my nerves were beginning to shake, and doubt was slowly starting to creep into my bones. I allowed space for this feeling of doubt to move, hoping that by sitting with doubt, by being present with doubt, that doubt might pass through quickly, without kicking up much of a fuss.
As I sent breath into my body, mind and heart, as I welcomed doubt in, I understood that doubt had decided to stay. Today, of all days, doubt wanted to be loud; she wanted to be heard, and she wanted the rallying shouts of my inner critic to join her.
The full realization of this came to me just as I was about to begin teaching my first pre-natal class.
Teaching yoga is fairly new to me; teaching pre-natal yoga is very new to me.
When I first started to teach, doubt would accompany me to every class. The more I taught, the more I understood that I had to train my mind to find balance with doubt. To allow doubt to sit in, but not take over. To allow myself to be present, and to hold the space with my full presence, doubt and I agreed that she would observe only. After each class, doubt and I would talk, and she would express her thoughts on how the class went. She would speak, I would listen, and love would wrap her arms around doubt, and doubt would melt into love.
Doubt would step out of the dark, of her free will, and into light.
This evening, doubt was not calm, nor did she sit and observe. Doubt taunted me, pulled at me, as I struggled to teach six beautiful moms-to-be. She questioned the validity of my teachings; she poked fun at my wording, at my constant use of the word “here.” Doubt asked me question after question: How could I teach pregnant women, how could I hold space for them and nurture them, without truly understanding what they are going through? What does it mean to carry a being in your body? How does it feel to have someone growing inside of you, and to feel your body expanding and making space for the growth of another?
How complex and beautiful and scary and overwhelming it must be to become a mother, a parent—standing in the room, guiding these moms-to-be through their practice, I was in awe.
I went over and over the class in my mind on my walk home. I thought about it throughout my own practice.
I thought about doubt as I was lying in bed, Win snuggled up for his nightly cuddle, feeling his heart beat through his chest next to me. And I realized that my doubt was not alone in the room this evening.
She was accompanied by the doubts of six brave, powerful, beautiful women, with little tiny human beings growing inside of them—and although I may not experience motherhood in a traditional sense, I know what unconditional love is.
I know the feel of a beating heart; I know what it is like to have living, breathing beings depend, trust, and love me completely—and I know what it is to wrap them in love.
It is from this place that I can teach.