I have something to say before I become a yoga teacher…

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I rarely have anything bad to say about anything anymore. I know that allowing negativity into your life only attracts more negativity. This time, however, I just need to vent. First, some background to the story.

I decided close to a year ago that I was no longer happy with what I did for a living. I spent a lot of time in meditation, and praying for guidance because I knew I couldn’t carry on much longer with the status quo that had become my life. I decided to try to find something that I enjoyed to do with the rest my life. I began creating, and woodworking, and writing. I started to notice that things around me were becoming more clear. I began to have faith that I was not put here to work for big pharma, doing a job that I knew was wrong. I began to ask for signs in my meditations that would direct me, and to keep me on this path that I was giving more faith to everyday. Well, they came, they came in droves. It is true that the more you look, the more you find. As 2015 wore on I decided that if I really wanted things to change that I would have to leave my comfort zone and go see the world. How I was going to do this, I had no idea.

I had just gotten done reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and over and over in the book the author kept saying to create what you want that you should act like you already had it, and to be thankful for it ahead of time. I wanted more than anything to travel. The first thing I did was change my last name on Facebook to Kerouac after one of my favorite authors and world travellers. I decided that everytime I logged in and saw that, that it would remind me of that goal. Next I decided that I wanted to strengthen my yoga practice because yoga and meditation, I believe, unequivocally, were the reasons I was able to heal and overcome addiction and depression, and also grow my awareness allowing all the signs I kept receiving, and why I felt so much more faith in things. I began looking for places that offered yoga teacher training. There were tons of places around my hometown that offered it, and I reached out to many of them for information.

By now 2015 was winding down. I was as unhappy as ever in my job, and knew it was almost time to move on. I took vacation from work, and travelled to North Carolina to visit my cousin. While I was there I took some time to familiarize myself with the area because I felt like this may be a good place to start the rest of my life. I visited some yoga studios and looked at classifieds. I even dropped off a few resumes. When I returned home I decided that by the following winter I was moving to North Carolina hell or high water. Within the next couple of days I had decided that I was going to sign up for yoga teacher training at a school in my hometown. On the day that I finally decided to sign up at a school close to home, (I had the website open ready to make my payment) I saw an ad on Facebook for a place called Vinyasa Arts LKN. LKN, LKN, I thought, received_10210128786245530where have I heard of that before? I looked it up and realized it stood for Lake Norman which is the lake that is a few minutes drive from my cousins house in North Carolina. I began researching Vinyasa Arts. I was impressed to say the least. They were a married couple, Andy and Tamara, with 25 years of combined experience. They had a studio in San Diego, and were relocating to North Carolina to open a studio there. I watched a couple of videos that they had made, and I was sold. Not only did they have the experience I wanted in teachers, but they seemed like genuinely good people. Their classes began in July which gave me some time to situate my life and quit my job. Best of all it came out of nowhere, my favorite place. A sign if you will.

It has been a whirlwind adventure since then to say the least. I really didn’t know what to expect. I am not the most stretchy guy, and my poses all need a ton of work. I spent the few days prior to my first class worrying over things like; would I be the only guy, would I be too old, or not in shape enough. Well the first class came. I realized at that moment how tough these next three months would be. This was real yoga, hardly any resemblance of the yoga I had taken for the three years prior. I sweated more in that first 75 minute class than I did running cross country all through high school. I did however realize that this was exactly what I needed to strengthen my practice. My classmates were all amazing people of all different ages and backgrounds, and we all came together like family almost immediately. We pushed each other to work hard, and be better in our practice. When one of us struggled with something there was no laughing, we simply helped each other through. In times of real life pain we all came together to try and make each other feel better. It was truly a family, or a tribe maybe. Everyone working toward a common goal, and helping each other over the hurdles it took to get there. I was amazed at the abilities and wisdom of our teachers, yet equally amazed at the comradary of my classmates. I know I could never have gotten this far without them. I am blessed that they were all thrown into my life.img_20160924_172439973_hdr

Ok now back to the rant… In one of our first class lectures we were talking about healing and yoga. During this talk our teachers told us that the yoga alliance has said that we cannot equate our yoga practice with healing when we advertise our classes without getting in trouble with the powers that be. This irks me to no end. So before I do become a yoga teacher and get in trouble for saying it let me tell you… Yoga IS healing for the mind body and spirit. Without any references to studies or lab tests etc. I myself can tell you, from my very own experience, that yoga is, if you put the effort into it, one of the most effective healing things you can do for your mind body and spirit. I will never tell you that my way is better than yours, because I know that people heal in their own ways. Anything you put a healing light toward can become a form of healing. Healing is truly about the effort you put into it. Yoga, meditation, religion, Tae Kwon Do, whatever brings you inward to find that spirit of healing inside of you can be your spark.

This, to me, reeks of big pharma sticking their nose in to stop from losing profits, and being more worried about selling more of their temporary solutions to the masses who are sold by their fancy advertisements, than actually ever helping someone. I worked in big pharma, I know how they operate, I know that from top to bottom it is all a lie.

It’s sad to me that people are so easily sold on treatments and medications, rather than diet and exercise. I have had so many people tell me “oh I’ve tried everything to help” this or that, but then when I ask them if they have tried yoga, it’s usually “yea I went once”. Well once is not what it takes to help with anything or change bad habits. Yoga is not a miracle cure, but if you put some dedication into it I can bet you will feel better in a month of regular practice than you do now. The best part of Yoga, practiced safely, with a good instructor, is that there are no side effects like the medicines you are sold by big pharma with lists of them so long it will make your head spin. Yes there are medicines we all need, but in many cases, especially, in my opinion, of cases of trauma, depression, anxiety, and many times incurable disease, you are being sold drugs that create no healing whatsoever, only a temporary relief from symptoms with very real risks from disastrous side effects.

Those of you who know me know that if something is wrong I will say it, like I did to big pharma. I see something wrong here. I obviously can’t tell the yoga alliance what to do, but if I could, I would tell them to let people know in every way possible that yoga surely can help you heal, because it does. The stories of healing are endless. If not for its healing light I would still be where I was 4 years ago. Mired in a downward spiral, and depressed that life was not getting any better for me and wondering why. I took the reigns and righted the ship with yoga and meditation. You can too with dedication. For we may not be able to change our fate, yet we can all choose our destiny.

Peace, love, and light. ~ p4th3tic

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Signs, signs, everywhere a sign…

I’m always looking for signs. Sometimes they are tiny things like a song on the radio at the exact right moment, or when you figure out that gut feeling you had was exactly right. But sometimes they’re so prodigious that they can’t be ignored. Today I spent 2nd-guessing quitting my job. I had prepared myself for that, second-guessing is a very natural human reaction when making any important life-changing decision. Still it ate away at my psyche a bit, and muddled up my mood.

I took a short afternoon nap, and decided to go see the sunset when I awoke, as I do most days that I am DSC02224awake for them. I decided to change it up a bit and go somewhere different, maybe for a different perspective that might lighten my mood. Almost without thinking about it I decided on Chestnut Ridge. I had never been there for a sunset, and had read that the sunsets there were amazing. There are swings that you can sit on and stare out over the ridge. You can see almost the entire shoreline all the way to downtown Buffalo from this vantage point. When I arrived, to my dismay, the swings had been taken out for the winter. I sat in my car for a few minutes debating on whether I would just sit on the ground. Then I remembered I had a couple of folding chairs stowed under the floor in the back of the truck.

I grabbed my phone and my camera, and as I was getting out of the truck I saw a beautiful red tail hawk soaring above the hill. I hurried to grab my chair hoping to get a good picture of the bird. Sadly by the IMG_20160316_191258811_HDRtime I got the chair, the bird had flown elsewhere. I walked over to the top of the hill and chose a good spot near where one of the swings had been, in order to watch the sunset. As I pulled the chair from the bag, I looked over and saw young man with dreadlocks sitting on a wicker throne some 10 yards from me. I sat in silence taking in the view for a few minutes, and readying my camera for what was sure to be a breathtaking sunset. As I looked over at the young man, he was unpacking something from his own bag, it looked to be some sort of drum.

As he began to play I was awed by the sound of what he later told me was called a hang drum. I had seenDSC02225 them online in videos but never live. The sound of it was amazing. It was inspiring and soothing and created a very meditative mood. I snapped a couple pictures of him, but after listening for a few minutes I forgot all about my camera. He played nonstop for a good 10 minutes. I was hoping for him to take a break for a minute so that I could tell him how amazing it was. I finally decided I had to stop him myself and tell him. I walked up to him and I said, “I’m sorry man, I don’t want to break your groove but I had to thank you for playing for me.” He shook my hand and thanked me. He asked me my name, and told me his name was Nate. I asked him if I could record him for a few mins. He said, “Yea man record away.” I stood next to him and crouched down. It was the perfect vantage point as I could see the sun setting behind him. I took a couple of minute-and-a-half videos. When he finished we both looked at each other and kind of laughed, I think we both realized what a perfect moment it was.

We chatted for a few minutes afterward about politics, the state of the world, and what each of us did for a living. It was refreshing to hear someone so young with such wisdom. It turns out we both had a pretty crummy day, and we had both come to cleanse the day away. Experiencing his music definitely did the trick for me. I told him my name on Facebook so that he could see the video after I uploaded it.

When I got home I viewed the video and I was in awe. The second video I took had a beautiful fade in as the sun overexposed the lens of the camera, and just as he was finishing up that same overexposure of the lens happened again. You can hear my giddy laugh as he finishes up. Yep that was exactly what I needed for the day thanks Nate. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed it live!

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Alone between moonset and sunrise

“It's often just enough to be with someone. I don't need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You're not alone.” ― Marilyn Monroe

“It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone.” ― Marilyn Monroe

After years of wasted time on social media, and reading into people’s lives. I have decided to go live life, and tell the story of mine. I will be posting as if noone reads it but me because it is not a grand life, it is however a grand journey with many stories, many well learned life lessons, and an honesty that most people will never share. Enjoy it or don’t. Welcome to ‘The Story of My Life’.