I actually do remember the first moment I met you. It was in January 2008 and after doing yoga 4 total times my coupon-cutting side said “just buy an annual-pass” so I did. And the next day I was walking out the door and you and Carly were walking in, and Carly said “Mom, this is Lyndsey, she just started practicing here.” you smiled warmly, welcomed me to breathe and said “I hope I see you again soon.”
boy. if we only knew where those words would evolve too. You couldn’t get rid of me!
(haha you still cant)
When was the first time I saw you though? That’s different. The first time I really saw you was a few months later in March for the first annual Breathe Mexico retreat. The woman I saw on that retreat, is now the woman you reveal so much more easily and readily to everyone now. I am so proud of you for this. I’m talking the beach-dwelling, shoe-resisting, guacamole-eating, 1-single-corona-drinking, belly-laughing, easy-smile: Cyndi. What else did I see on that retreat? A woman who loves her 2-daughters wider than the ends of the earth. I think this truly began the healing process with my own mom’s love….the knowing that each woman on this planet loves their children differently, and beautifully. But I love the way you love those 2-girls, it’s beautiful. You love in a way that leaves absolutely no room to look in and see and know, that is nothing but love. And Carly and Abby will forever live this in their own lives as legacy and testimony to that unique brilliance that is the love of a mother and her cubs.
My mentor and my role-model. You.
When you and I met over 4-years ago you didnt know what you were signing up for now did you. Here’s how the liability waiver should have read when you brought me on as a teacher 10-months later–
Actually maybe it should have just read as my astrological sign of Cancer: “Emotional, Loving, Intuitive, Imaginative, Nurturing, Kind, Cautious, Protective, Self-protective, Sympathetic, Changeable, Moody, Touchy, Clinging, Unable to let go.”
But here’s the hilarious part: you’re a cancer too, our birthdays are days away!!! (hahah, cue ironic movie-background music). You are just um say, a little more controlled on the emotional part, you have some more practice. What you have done for me, and have done for so many others is created the house in which there is space for those to find their voice, their purpose, their freedom. Now it’s one thing to put structurally create a house for this, but its far another to commit to cultivate that as a daily effort to something much greater. Very few people would say breathe is where they “do yoga” I’d bet the farm that answers are “where they feel home–welcome–nourished-challenged–awake-and alive.” I know this, because students have told me, I know this because this is what breathe is to me.
I have sent you countless “can we talk” voice mails, texts, emails over the years. And no matter how busy you are, your answer is always yes. You have so much integrity around this. I have learned this from you, directly from feeling this from you, to really listen to people and to hold this as important. This quote sums it up “when people realize their being listened to, they tell you things.” One of the greatest gifts I have learned from you is listen to people, everyone has something important to share. And never once have we had a conversation that you’ve began with “I only have 5 minutes so please hurry,” or “this better be important.” Nor when I’m talking with you and am trying to find my way through something, you dont offer my shortcuts (but you’ve offered me many kleenex’s : ) And being the emotional being that I am, when and if tears well up, it’s never “oh god, not this again.” But a knowing smile that if I’m going to figure it all out.
You have never ever stopped believing in me, and every time I walk into your office and announce what I am doing next, you smile and say you are proud of me. When this opportunity came up for Kenya, you were one of the strongest, loudest voices telling me to go for it. You did the same when I was offered the position with lulu in Buffalo. As small as me telling you I am going on a date with a total hunk, to getting a puppy…in matters of the heart, and going for it, you are always one of the loudest yes’s in my life. I’m not sure if you know what this has done for me. The collision of you always encouraging me to be bigger than I am, colliding with you constantly showing me what this looks like by example, by virtue of how you live your own life….for me this became proof. Solid, in my hands proof, that the bigger and brighter I ask of my life, the bigger and brighter it will become. No one has shown me this like you have, and I am so grateful to be shown this so early in my life, and in such formative years, by someone who believes in me in a way I can feel on a cellular level.
I have almost left breathe about 7 times (up until a year and a half ago : ) My story of “I am alone” and yours of “people leave” have been such constant teachers to one another. And now what surrounds my choice to go live in Kenya for a while feels so much less like leaving, and so much more like flying. What a difference. In those moments where I thought about leaving the thoughts that ran through are “I can do this better, I want to call the shots, me…me…me…me” Oh god, I cant help but to smile about it all, it is absolutely the human condition to observe the environment one is in and challenge it, and come up against it, etc…but I’m so glad I never left. It is also so very natural to be inspired when what’s happening around you is so giant and bright.
What I know now is giant and bright have become my life, and one day I will open the doors in a new community for them to feel what I now know. And with that will come people who step in for a while, who catch fire, and who wish to do it on their own…that this is the natural flow of things, and this is abundance as it unfolds in the world. But had I left in the energy of “ I can do this better.” I would have failed. Because there is nothing to prove. And so thank you for putting up with my diva moments equivalent of requesting only green m&m’s in my dressing room…and thank you for listening to me that one pivotal conversation we had a year ago before I left for Buffalo when I revealed all of this to you. And in a moment you could have taken very personally, you were thankful that I had told the truth. And truth is? There’s no where else I’d rather be. Breathe is my home in that it was the first place I have felt completely safe, supported, loved, challenged, and free to be who I am.
We both know that I wont be at breathe forever, I feel as though when I come back from Kenya, shortly after it will be time to head West. But now I know what it feels like to come home, and to know that there’s a home always, and there’s a porch light, a porch light always on. And the way I see it, is though I may not be always be physically on the back porch, I will always feel that I am. The porch light will evolve into the sound of your voice on the other end of the phone in a 3-hour time difference, and it feels as familiar and warm as placing my hand on a beautiful old door and walking inside.
Thank you for showing me what it means to stay. For continuing to create something so beautiful, that not only could I no longer say “I am alone,” I would forever give up that story for the rest of my life. Breathe has shown me again and again that no matter where I am, to put my feet on the ground, to reach my arms up high, and to really listen. When I am home, I will know it. And until I know it, I cannot compromise my life. The stakes are just too high.
The universe was having a good old time the day you were driving to Wegmans and were drawn into the parking lot to see and ultimately begin Breathe in a space that was 1/4 the size it is now. And now I think the universe is just like “well go on with your bad self.” As you have shown time and time again that the risk of failing has got nothin’ on the reward of flying. So you fly….and know that you are inspiring so many to do the same.
The first song you played on the very first practice on the retreat in Tulum in 2008 was “something beautiful” by Alexi Murdoch. I swear this song follows me now, and everytime I hear it, it soothes me. It reminds me of you, and breathe, and that time in my life where I fell in love with my life, and came awake and alive to meet it. Thank you for creating something so amazing for so many to be a part of, something so very very beautiful.
With all the love in my big ol heart. Lyndsey/Chopper/LC/Chop/Little one