October 19th, 2018
This is Josie’s story. A tale of a little precocious child who was born to a yogi, a mother who learned under Maharishi Ayurveda meditation and connection to space, energy and revelations. She was a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and one of Josie’s first memories of yoga was coming with her mother to one of their events and watching these women and men fly and levitate as they meditated and connected to their highest self. She woke up and went to bed with the sounds of Ravi Shankar’s ragas, of morning, afternoon, evening and night. Soft music and healing sounds calming to the nerves, would soothe her as she opened or closed her eyes.
She remembers how her mother would practice meditation as she sat calm and serene, at peace while her children played around her. And she remembers when her mother sat her down on her bed and said “Would you like to learn?” Do you want to meditate?And I said YES! And Josie’s mother says calmly, I’ll give you the key. It’s a little tool… it’s going to be your own special and private sound that’s unique to you and I will tell it to you only once, so you must remember. And then she bent down and whispered into Josie’s ear: ing. ING!
Josie, so proud of her special and unique sound would chant it steadily in her head as she sat on her mother’s bed, beside her, and meditated. And she did this day in and day out, so excited with her new tool, and this unique key… into a portal of energy that was very soothing and comforting to her. She remembers to this day that first time when things just slipped away, the bed, the room, her body; and she just sat in utter connection and feeling of Love, her Self, her core, her Being. That was it!And that first experience from Josie’s first teacher, her mother, initiated Josie on a path – on a journey into self into healing into LOVE.
So Josie armed with awareness – awareness of her Self, of the truth that is being Love. Being Human. Accepting and nourishing Self. Accepting and nourishing Life. This was her lesson, which she was mildly unaware of at that time, for she had many trials and tribulations to come, challenges and hurdles, obstacles that came in her path, or forks in the road of her journey. But one thing was for certain, when she embarked on that journey and left the comfort and support of her family and household, at such a young age, she did it in certainty of being human and she knew who she was and she knew that the meaning to life was Love. And Love could be felt in being still and in movement, and even in the spaces between. So as comfortable and as wondrous as it was to be still, she chose to move and embark on this journey. And at that time it was Alone. With no one by her side. And it took some time for her to find her way.
And her body was hurting. From traumas experienced, from mental anguishes, and uncertainty and self-doubt. To lack of trust or faith in herself and the support of her ancestors, Mother Nature, the earth around her, the trees, the animals, the birds, the Spirits. Those who were always on her journey with her, always by her side. Even in her state of not-knowing.
But her body called and asked Josie by stopping her capability to move, at the tender age of 16, with excruciating back pain, challenges in her hips and legs, to listen. She got treatment, she learned how to heal and she realized that in her zest to discover self and in her ego conscience of knowing herself and knowing the overall Quest, she Lost her connection to the tools and to the keys that were given to her. And she felt that she needed to learn more and discover more about these tools and see why they could help. And so she got into the practice, in a different way, in a way that was new to her, in a yoga studio, in a shared space where people sweated and breathed and moved together. And Ommed. And it felt gooood. It felt real gooood. She slowly became and chose to embody the life of a Student, someone that is always willing to learn, to move, to grow, to heal, to let go, to inquire, to discover.
Josie chose to learn for years, for days, for weeks, for hours, she went to teachers and practiced and learned in community and breath in movement in body in mind in heart, she learned. And this studentship went from this mild desire of just practicing, and moving and healing body and just feeling good in self which was so glorifying and fabulous into this kind of medium hot sauce feeling of wanting to learn more to study more about self, to get to know why these postures felt so good, to understand why her body or her lower back hurt when she did something, and is that normal, is that okay, is that good? Or why her shoulders couldn’t do what someone else’s shoulders could do. Why, why, she needed to answer the Why. So she put it out that she was seeking a teacher. A little energetic advertising board out into the ethers, and she got sent by an email, a forwarded link from her aunt, her sister, a nourishing and guiding female voice that knew what she craved. And she said, here it is! A teacher training, something for you to embark upon in studentship, in knowing how to teach, how to share it with others! Still wanting to learn about herself, she took it, she took the first part of it, learned how to teach, learned that she wanted to know more.
So, Josie became a teacher. She had all this information she was bursting at the seams to share all of it! Every part! Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, physically! And so she came on strong. She put it all into teaching and learning from private students, public classes, building communities at studios, offering workshops, intensives, courses, specialty courses… first in Toronto, then in Vancouver – but the constant rain drove her away (I’m so sorry it wasn’t the people)! For that’s when the Elements truly spoke and became her teachers. For Josie, even as a teacher still had so much to learn! From the students, from the experiences, from the actual art of teaching, from sharing in authenticity, to not trigger or provoke unnecessarily, and to show that a teacher can be an equal and there does not have to be a power struggle and we do not have to go back to the divide of duality, between teacher and student and realize that they are one and the same.
We can be a leader as well as learn!
So that is when Josie studied mobility, Reiki, and participated with other movement opportunities in Pilates, in Crossfit, in Functional Movement, Strength training and conditioning, she even got a dog. She started to walk, embrace the beauty of nature. And she continued to meditate reminding herself of Me, even in the direst of moments, when life threw her for loops.
It was a confusing and massively raw vulnerable opening time where you would feel immense clarity and uncertainty in the exact same breath. It was frightening, it brought up all self-doubt. But not just self-doubt. Doubt in the practice, doubt in the tools, doubt in the keys. Life happened. Our life happened. Our world is where it is at right now truly, really in reality. And so, Josie chose once again to leave the comforts of teaching and building and booming as a full time yoga teacher in Toronto and embarked on a journey of self once again. As a sannyasin, a traveling teacher of the heart. Off to South America, off to Peru, then Ecuador, where again she found communities to share what she had learned in authentic practices. They were hungry, and Josie was wanting to feed.
I learned not just how to hope, but to have faith. I learned how to feel to connect and communicate the support we have in nature, in the land that we choose to live in. In the space that we choose to call our home. In this journey of Self, always and forever, will be the sensation and feeling of coming home, of coming HOME. HOME. Home is where the heart is. Where that beating, throbbing, pulsating, moving, living, life-force IS.
She was getting closer. This journey into the heart.
Movement happened again, this time to Bahrain through LA of all places. Where she met her business partner at the time and he met with Salma Hayek and other big actors to decide on who to be in a film that she was helping write and translate from a Bahraini female poet and the concept was three generations of women in Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf. It was enticing, it was creative.
It promised security financially, Josie would have an adventure to meet and get to know a whole new community, a whole new land and it’s teachings. So, she said goodbye to Mother and knew she had to let go of anything else so she could heal and forgive her connection to Mother. Which she felt in South America and connected to so deeply and so truly and so powerfully with the helping guidance and energy of ancestors, of past-lives of healing her Self and Others. What gifts Mother Earth and Mama Ocean gave Me. And the people Josie learned from, the students, the teachers, the comrades, the friends, the lifelong connections that she cherishes so dear. She brought them with her in Spirit. And went on the journey to write about and film a story about women in a man’s world! A man’s land.
Josie went to see Father. And he stripped her bare. He showed her who she was in strong, in severe and in clear direction. She lived on a sandy, hot, palm trees, 40 degrees, humid island for 6 years.
And I learned, and I taught, I grew, I stumbled, I repeated lessons, I practiced. I practiced! All the tools that I have picked up along the way and stripped those bare. And I allowed myself to feel through them, to intuit me and my being and my loving heart center and I got to the core of things. And I rebuilt my connection to my surroundings, I established my boundaries. For safety as well as for peace of mind. And expansion of intimacy. I connected to, I lost and reconnected to faith in nature, in Mother, in Father. In Being. I grew old, I moved from the Maiden into the desire to be the Mother, the nurturer and caregiver, the desire to love and encourage myself and others to be the best version of ourselves we can be. And as in any chapter of ones’ life, it must come to an end. And it did this year, it did in 2018. I decided to come Home. To family, to create a space that I could share on a larger platform than its’ walls, so that I could reach and teach and connect and support to a student base that is not only local, but also global. So that I can keep and maintain connection and support to all the incredible students that I have already met along my journeys and where they have taken me in this world, and for the possibility and opportunity to meet new connections…
to meet YOU.