Editor’s note: we will continue to only report firsthand, non-anonymous information. Interview with John Friend coming later today. In the meantime, we are (gratefully) accepting general commentaries on how to bring confusion and difficult circumstances to path. ~ Waylon.
“This is what I would like to happen,” I said yesterday morning when I showed up to teach my regular Tuesday morning practice.
On Tuesdays, I roll my mat down right next to my students, and get down and dirty practicing right alongside them. This particular Tuesday, almost 10 Anusara teachers had shown up. Most of them, I have trained myself.
“I know many of you have questions about the allegations that have been made against John Friend, and I will do my best to answer what I can. But right now, to honor the time of the people who showed up just wanting to practice, I would like to just teach class. We’ll end 10 minutes early today for a community meeting. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to be there. As transparently as I can, I’ll tell you everything I know, and what I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers yet but you can ask me anything. Okay?”
Nods around the room okayed.
“Thank you. In that case, please take a comfortable seat.”
There are some things I know with certainty,” I said. “I know that you can trust your personal experience. You can trust the experiences you–yourself–have had on your own yoga mat, or your own meditation cushion. That is real. That is true.”
“Whether the allegations against John are true, false, or somewhere in between, Anusara has always been bigger than just John Friend. The Anusara that most matters to me is the Anusara that happens in our local community, right here in this classroom–you and me.”
In uncertain times like these, it’s wise to first close our eyes in order to see within before taking action.
“Please close your eyes.”
We took our first down dog, and I instructed them–and myself–”Breathe.”
To be honest, I was exhausted. To be honest, I was spent. To be honest, my phone has not stopped ringing since Friday afternoon when the allegations broke. To be honest, I wanted to reach more deeply into myself than ever before, and give these fine yogis something, something of significant value, something to hold onto.
But I didn’t know what it was.
Then suddenly I did.
On the mats on either side of me, and directly across from me there were teachers–fine, capable, upstanding Anusara teachers.
Hadn’t I just said just it 5 minutes earlier? “You and me, this–we are Anusara.“ I could give them each other.
I turned to the teacher on my left, “Rita, would you lead the class through the next pose, please?”
Around the room, one by one, with steady strength and grace, my community of teachers stepped forward to teach with me, alongside me, and to hold space with me. How do I even begin to describe the good it did my heart?
I don’t know that I have ever been prouder. It’s the teariest I have been since Friday afternoon–teary in the good way.
One thing I know with certainty–with these generous, capable women standing by my side, I can weather anything.