(Originally published in The Elephant Journal 2015)
My passion and mission in life is to help others rise up.
My life’s work has been serving those in need—creating ways to better our communities by helping organizations and individuals to achieve wellness in their lives.
Yet, I often wonder how I can be a role model to others.
I think as a wellness professional, we sometimes put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. I think we need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, but I believe it’s important for people to know what we have gone through and what we continue to struggle with too.
I have taught yoga and personal trained clients for years—I love the hands-on part of my job—yet I have struggled with weight and stress management at various times in my life.
I love yoga, but my personal practice has waxed and waned. Sometimes it has fallen flat completely.
I trained in guided imagery and it is one of my favorite aspects to teaching classes, yet I struggle with sleep and with shutting my brain off to focus on the positive.
I am as much a work-in-progress as the people that I am working to help.
As wellness coaches and teachers, our job is to educate people and help them create a plan to reach their goals.
Yet, we all have dueling behaviors in our lives. Any good teacher, or writer for that matter, may probably tell you that we are constantly learning, addressing our own hypocrisies and finding out new things to teach—sharing through our own experience.
Carl Jung’s theory of the Wounded Healer refers to the story of Chiron, the Greek mythological figure (Centaur educator and healer), as the symbol of, ”[our] own hurt that gives a measure of [our] power to heal.”
Harold Kushner, rabbi and author of Living a Life that Matters, states,
“Good people will do good things, lots of them, because they are good people. They will do bad things because they are human.” ~ Harold Kushner
I lead women’s self-esteem and empowerment workshops—yet have at times felt “less than” or not worthy of certain things. Usually it’s when my life has been at its best, that I have a sudden fear of loss.
I used to teach a class to young men who were in jail and often said to them that those of us who have the best leadership skills have often had to overcome the most. We don’t have to have had a perfect life, or even to be an all-perfect guru, in order to be a role model to others.
However, I also tell them, at some point we have to rise above it and learn from it, not keep repeating the same situation in our lives.
There are times in my life I felt that I was living a sham and that people would look at me as if all the training and knowledge I had didn’t mean a thing anymore.
There are projects that pile up, the laundry that never seems to get put away, moments of unhealthy stressed-out behavior that pops up on occasion and days I (gasp!) skip the gym. I won’t even go into the guitars and the stack of unopened “Learn How to Play Guitar” DVDs collecting dust in the corner.
Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot done, yet I’ve never felt “caught up,” in my life. There are times that I struggle to get through a library book to get it returned on time because I have so many projects going on.
Many days I feel torn between loving the my beautiful life and the work that I get to do versus feeling as if I should be better, do better.
I look for wisdom from other sources.
Then I realize we don’t necessarily need more information. Someone else doesn’t always know better than we do. It’s okay to be on a continuum. It’s okay to be the bad yogi, with flaws and scars and funk.
Otherwise, what would we have to teach others from what we experience?
Namaste: I bow to the Divine in you, but I also bow to the messy, stress-y human in you too.