When we are all getting on, have we gone all twee or is someone somewhere pulling the strings? In every walk of life the best form of control, is ensuring people have something to lose.
Personally I don't like ranks and blog awards. I think they make us competitive, which don't get me wrong, isn't always a bad thing. But what is, is when you get judged by your rank.
I have heard tales of bloggers who were ignored, on more than one occassion, at the dinner table, until hey presto, they were worthy of being spoken to, as they had "arrived". Oh I hate this culture. If you look at someone's rank badge, before you decide to read their blog, shame on you! Go away and say 10 Hail Mary's and come back and read the rest of this post.
You'll notice I don't have a rank badge on my blog. That makes a lot of people wonder "who is she?" and hence is one reason (amongst others) why I get less comments nowadays. Do you really need to know who I am. I tell you everytime I blog; I have a You Tube channel, and a Twitter account. Yes, I am not on LinkedIn but does that really mean you don't know who I am.
This vibe is all too familiar to me, as when I was a Kundalini Yoga Teacher I had only done level 1. Upon meeting a new person, they would very early on in the conversation ask if I'd done level 2. No, I haven't. So shoot me! They'd want to know who I had trained with (the yoga equivalent of wanting to know if I was yogic Oxbridge) and whether I have a spiritual name. There were other questions but as I haven't taught since Aaron was born, I am out of touch, and can't quite remember what used to be an all too familiar "script". Anyway it got to the stage where I wanted to have badges on my shoulders to show my ranking to STOP all these inane questions.
A few years ago I ran/hosted/organised/chaired/taught a Yoga Retreat in Ireland. An argument happened between 2 ladies and it epitomised what I am trying to say here. Get a coffee and let me tell you the tail IF I can remember how it goes...
Okay, so to set the scene, the retreat was residential, and it was in the West of Ireland. I had said on the flyer that there would be a gym, sauna, etc etc... The accommodation was in several cottages, that were in the same location as the hall where all the yoga would take place. The most senior of my attendees (in terms of *rank* waaaaaaay more experienced than me - I was honoured she came) had arrived early, and taken my flyer literally, and having flown from the UK, headed straight for the showers. When a group of us arrived in one of the cottages, she (C) was sitting there with beautiful, freshly combed long (wet) hair, looking rather chilled. Another symbol of being established in Kundalini Yoga is the wearing of a turban. She wasn't. So little did I know, a girl who arrived with me, (M) pigeon holed her on this basis. In a matter of seconds, she'd been given a category. She was a non-turban, non-white clothes, wearing person, probably inexperienced, and certainly not a threat. Funnily enough this couldn't possibly have been further from the truth. She was right up there, even owning her own Yoga Centre, and had personally met Yogi Bhajan. But, like with first impressions, they are NOT always right.
So the judger, "M" proceeded to establish herself as the most senior of the attendees. She only deferred to me as I was the teacher, or I would have been trampled on too. Her way of doing this was to name drop in EVERY conversation. I am not being catty, it was literally out there, in sirens, with a megaphone. She also offered to do all the cooking, of course, being the only one who knew what yogis should eat (kidgeree etc...). But the experienced yogi, the next day, was by now in "whites" (the cotton clothing we wear in KY), AND wearing a turban, AND looking rather sublime, and serene. But she wasn't acting senior. She was comfortable in her own skin, and had made a decision to be humble and vulnerable on this retreat, and to learn something. She decided she was going to go within, on this retreat, and learn something. Everytime I spoke (between Kriyas) she learned something from what I was saying, and took notes. It's never too late to be a student. Anyway, a couple of times she mentioned, quietly that she had a "draw" to come, so strong, that she couldn't quite believe what she'd one. She was hosting a *famous* American yogi (and recorded artist) at her Yoga Studio the same weekend she was in Ireland with me, and she wasn't physically there to receive her and look after her. The flyer for my retreat had made her decide that for her it was "me" time and she had delegated the hosting (despite its importance) to someone else.
Well anyway, the person coming to her yoga centre out-ranked all of the others that "M" had been name dropping and remember M is still fuming as she had done her pigeon holing so so inaccurately. Had "C" been wearing a turban on the Friday, they'd have been the best of friends, but she knew she couldn't suddenly do that 24 hrs later or we'd all smell a rat or at the very least a sycophant.
So what did she do, the next time "C" subtlely mentioned her American guest (and it was IN context of the conversation we were having at the time) she (M) let rip! She accused C of name dropping, which shocked us all to the core, when we knew it was a criticism she should have levelled at herself, and all of her frustration at getting it so so wrong all came tumbling out. It was as clear as a diagram on a page. It was powerful, and like a thunderstorm, it wasn't just a few sniped sentences. I think there were tears (but I am not sure as it was years ago). But it was BAD. We somehow managed to finish the retreat, (despite this being in a refreshment break of an active day/schedule) and even stayed on a day extra but suffice to say M did not. We had a "ball" in that last night as the tension was lifted and me and C did a beautiful sadhana on the final morning. She never mentioned it. It wasn't her "stuff" and she wasn't holding any grudges. But shall we say it was interesting. I wish I remembered the minutiae but the lesson I learned from it is good enough.
Ironically enough in tandem to the negative experience above a positive experience in a very similar vein was occurring. At the other end of the spectrum another attendee was acting like a wise old owl. She was VERY new to Kundalini Yoga and yet you could tell she knew it all. Either her chakras were all balanced, or she'd "been here before" but if I was the person on the desk who handed out shoulder stripes, she'd have EVERY SINGLE ONE. You see in life sometimes people are at the end before they've begun. They've done the journey, they have got the roadmap; maybe they are just here to be an example to the rest of us. They don't have the stripes, or the rank, or the award, but they've arrived, from the moment you've met them. I jokingly gave her a spiritual name and we called it her ALL weekend - not being an expert in these things, I did know you were senior if there was a Guru in there so she was affectionately called Guru Gobind all weekend :-)
You know that they know. You don't need to teach the taught.
They don't need to climb a greasy pole. In fact that don't even need the pole. You can climb up, and back down, and they'll still be there, probably enjoying the sun. I am not saying that is me, but I can certainly name a couple of formidable bloggers that do fall into that category. I think we all know who they are. They are they and they need no introduction. We are in the rocky boat whilst they enjoy the sun on the beach.
Where's my towel I want to get there?
So please, don't judge a book by its cover. Focus on the sun and not the pole, and for christ sake get out of the "sea". Most importantly never let anyone censor you. Censorship is not good and freedom of speech is. After all we have spent thousands of years fighting for it.
Your voice is what you were born with. Use it don't lose it.
You don't have to comment, you can just say #WordsHeard
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the flies is the literal translation of Beelzebub
Guru Gobind Singh
Bye for now,