"Gratitude" - A Letter from our Teacher Steve, On His Departure


Sometimes there arrives a powerful call for change which nothing can alter or deny. Try as we might. Nothing is impossible. How many good things can someone leave when it comes time to say this kind of goodbye? How many ways can someone say thank you for them? Change is a natural part of life. So are goodbyes. Amidst this moment of change, I am left in deep gratitude and sometimes cannot speak for the emotions that prevail. Change is a process I am reminded. As my wife LJ and I prepare for our return to our Idaho home, to our grown children, to the life from which we came to Arizona more than three years ago, I reflect upon all of you. Our students, peers, mentors and friends. Like grafted sapling trees, you are part ‘us’ now. We are part of one another. Your journey is interwoven with ours. We are made stronger for our time together. From our willingness to be vulnerable and purposefully seek change we have emerged anew.

If someone was even close to being right when they said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, then our most challenging task ahead will be to find the equal of the “five” people that you all have been for us. I hope this will happen.

Our Bikram Yoga offers us the opportunity for equanimity (mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation). Where each of us a student the only one on our mat, in our own process, and without judgement. This yoga is an equalizer making all human beings at least temporarily the same. Humble. A mindful recognition of this rare and precious time within to heal and evolve as human beings, makes any temporary discomfort of this practice all the more bountiful.

Learning to become a Bikram Yoga teacher is kind of like learning to become a Bikram Yoga student, only under a magnifying glass with hundreds of eyes and minds watching at every turn, as things unfold, or unravel as the case may be. There is one thing that everyone going through this process certainly feels, uncomfortable. Yet, it is you our students, through your loving energy and generous patience, who allow us to continue on no matter how hard it might be for us to start again and just keep going. Thank you for allowing us to stumble, wobble and but never completely fall down. It takes a village to raise a teacher as it turns out!

To the mentors in our lives, your calling is a most noble one. To dare enough to care. To dare to care enough. To insist on ‘can’ when ‘can’t’ is all we can see. To believe when we ourselves cannot possibly believe. To instill in us faith that where you ask us to go is within our reach. You help us expand our means toward goals that to us are clearly impossible, that with time and effort, instead become accomplishments. Our previous doubts melting away in our rear view mirrors with scarcely a notice. You make the world a better place by helping us become stronger leaders. Thank you. Forever.

Should we be tempted to feel we have lost something in our departing, let us make a pledge now that this is not so. Rather let us celebrate the discovery of a new found inner strength that without one another we may never have known. Never give up!

Trust in your Self and in one another that you are in a conversation worth having. A conversation by the way where ‘impossible’ just isn’t heard.

With love and until next time,