“You either say how you feel & fuck it up
or say nothing & let it fuck you up instead.” —alinesxg
Last month I was speaking with my good friend Judie about the weird feelings I've been picking up in the air. She is my go-to person for checking in on what the universe is up to and I highly recommend her services if you are looking.
During our conversation I expressed how my emotions have been all over the place and I feel like I am being pulled down hard. She offered that it sounded like I was "getting affected by Neptune. It goes retrograde next Monday but it's affecting the new moon. Neptune can affect our emotions. Water, flow." This made total sense to me as I am a very Water person (if you don't get that, don't worry--it does sound a bit woo woo but it's what I believe) and it gave me something to work with. So off I went to work on that.
Then a few hours later she dropped a bomb.
She mentioned that the "teacher" I studied under for a time and also worked (or is that slaved?) for is back on the scene in our old community offering up a "Master Class" on Saucha. According to the studio promotion piece Saucha is "the personal practice of cleanliness – of body, mind and spirit. At the physical level, saucha applies to our bodies as well as our environment. Keeping our external space (our home) and internal space (body, mind and spirit) clean, we are able to move closer to keeping our perspectives real with clear consciousness."
It sounds harmless enough, however, this teacher is one who used her position for years to manipulate, lie, and cheat her students & employees. She engaged in unethical practices including abusive language, manipulation, shorting of pay, and outright lying and breaking of agreements. Bridges were not just burned by this woman, they were NUKED.
To see that a former student/staff member, who I witnessed receiving the abuse I also took, who I confided in and sought refuge with, is now going to host this teacher took the wind right out of my sails. Let me be clear, at no point did she make things right with me. She just waited me out and wore me down. When my mother died in 2013 I was just about to file suit against her for breech of contract and payment of nearly 7K in promised pay but the sudden death of my mother took all of my strength and focus to get through. She continued to made empty promises of fulfilling her obligations and making things right up until I stopped asking around 2015. She NEVER followed through. She never made things clean.
Judie counseled that perhaps because the "new moon was square Neptune" I may be feeling confusion and that also "interestingly people from the past may show up to finally heal." She asked me "if there's anything you can do to release this experience?"
So releasing is where this post is coming from. A public, again, airing of this pain. A setting straight in my own mind that this happened, I was hurt, I didn't deserve it, I forgive myself, and it's time to do a bit of cord cutting to this negative piece of my past. This does not mean that I will forgive her. No. She has done nothing to deserve forgiveness and I kinda hope that Karma catches up with her and bites her in the butt and doesn't let go. I reserve forgiveness for me and now I'm working to extend that forgiveness to a community that did nothing and actually fed the monster ego that woman possesses.
All it would have taken was for one person, one respected teacher to not just quit, as many did, but to speak clearly and calmly about why they were leaving. To have talked about it. To have been open about how that was not how people should behave. That the ideas of surrendering to the guru that she espoused (a doctrine from Gheshe Michael Roach-another piece of shit wolf in Monk's clothing) were just tools of manipulation used on earnest, open hearted, wounded, group of people looking for something bigger to belong to. Looking for meaning and community.
We should have been looking inside. But the package she presented was pretty and she didn't guide us or empower us. She kept us mesmerized and confused and guilty of our feelings of doubt and with the silence of the larger community (oh there was talk-an open secret that was never quite confirmed) it was all to easy to accept.
One day when I had enough of the empty promises and guilt trips and wasted time, I left her studio and saw the "new me" struggling to take care of the million and one tasks she was assigned. This "new me" was a kind woman with a huge heart and a belief in the power of Yoga and a desire to serve just like I was. She was also being taken advantage of just like me. Her family life was suffering, her pay had been "delayed", and whatever she did was always not quite good enough.
In that moment I tried to warn her. I did speak up. But I was speaking almost alone and I wasn't really sure how to voice the many things I had on my mind. It was uncharted territory then. Speaking out against your guru/teacher was not done. Even today, people still have a hard time listening to the brave voices speaking out about their truths. And sadly, there are many truths to hear.
In the days following my first learning of this teacher's scheduled workshop, I reached out to the studio owner to discuss the unethical practices of the past and get her take on the present situation. After a few messages I was informed that the workshop was canceled. Perhaps my reaching out and speaking up had an impact, perhaps not. I can only hope that someone else was spared the same course of abuse & manipulations and be grateful that there was one less workshop on something I find sacred being taught by someone I know to be not genuine.
I release this now.
I forgive myself for allowing that situation to continue & for the part I played in allowing others to be hurt after me.
I promise to use her bad behavior as an example of how I should never act.
I will not let another false, inexperienced, unethical teacher anywhere near my practice.
I will call it out when I see it.
I will support those who speak up.