Saturday, September 27, 2008

i don't wanna grow up

I was never a huge fan of the Descendents. They always struck me as the band the mewling proto-emo boys listened to while pining away for some unattainable cheerleader. I imagine this distaste stemmed from the fact that whenever one of these poor, sad saps moved their pining in my direction, I became the owner of a mix tape (ah, the good old days!) complete with a minimum of two Descendents songs.

I did, however, appreciate the sentiment of one Descendents track: I don't want to grow up/If growing up means being like you/Then I don't want to be like you After a conversation I had today with a student at the studio, I couldn't help singing this song in my head.

We spoke of the natural transition from yoga student to teacher to studio owner. I shared with him my fear of seeing our humble and funky little studio changed by an outside influence, which drove me to take the risk and buy it myself. Given my age, he said, this just seems like the next logical step.

When someone puts it like that... geez, I dunno.

I've been joking lately about joining the petite bourgeoisie. I've crossed the divide from working poor towards landed gentry. The new suit feels a little unusual. I want to be the mistress of my own fate, and I want to guide my community and keep it safe and intact. I just wish it could be done without all the trappings. If that makes any sense.

This also stems from a conversation I had the other morning with a student who wanted to register a complaint. Oh, boy. That is a sure sign that you've crossed over from peon to patron. I found myself a bit unable to navigate this new terrain, if only because we were talking about yoga. Isn't much of the practice of yoga designed to move one away from the tendency towards complaint? At least I thought so. I practice to make peace with my world as it is; to find inner peace and a shred of contentment no matter the outside forces or influences.

Yet this gentleman wanted to voice his concern that we run the heat too high, and that he's a bit chafed at my co-worker's tendencies when he teaches. In my mind I'm thinking: Well, I would hope that after considerable practice all this stuff won't bug you anymore, because that's kind of the point of yoga. That's the yogini talking, though. Not the owner of a business hoping to make money and retain customers. So what I say can't be that direct or philosophical.

I last wrote about never considering teaching yoga as a potential vocation. When I decided to go to training, I went with the intention of giving back to the community that helped me in my own transition away from anger and frustration and monkey-mind. I wanted to foster that transition in others, and I wanted to help people. How do I reconcile those desires with running a business? I now have to stress over taxes to a government whose policies run completely counter to my own ethics and intentions. I have no choice. I have to think twice before speaking my truth, for fear I alienate someone. Where's the revolution in that?

I don't wanna grow up, for sure. But I guess I have to. I definitely think the new frontier for the counterculture is determining how to age without selling out entirely.

None of this should detract from the blissful fact that the act of teaching still moves me. I've been teaching like a madwoman the past few days, since my cohort's up north for the weekend. I love the act of teaching. I love completely losing the moment, all track of time, and just being in the room with my students. I love watching people's practices change, for better or worse. I love getting the thumbs up from a student when I talk about grace (in a fucking Bikram class, no less!).

Hopefully the suit of business owner feels a tad more comfortable as I grow into it.

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