Glinda’s Guiding Light

Glinda-2The art of yoga teaches you to trust your gut, your intuition, that mystery feeling that you’re heading in the right direction. In January 2013, at the mere mention of Grounded, my gut was telling me that I needed to cancel the yoga workshop I was already registered for, find a 2 hour ride from Telluride, CO to Durango, CO, purchase a ticket to Atlanta from there and register for a kids’ yoga training with teachers I had yet to meet who would share a program I knew nothing about.  I had a million rationalizations for staying put in sunny Colorado, but I knew better than to deny my most authentic inner voice. I was in the calm before the storm; I could feel the energy for change building, and when I found myself in the Grounded classroom I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. After the whirlwind of travel, I immediately felt more grounded and self-assured that I was in the right place.  I really connected to the Wizard of Om series, particularly the section on Glinda the Good Witch. It was then that Cheryl and Amy dubbed me “Glinda,” and I felt like I was really being seen. I would like to share some of my journey down the yellow brick road, and how I’ve come to trust the Glinda guiding light within me.

 

Like most children today, I was bullied in High School.  My anxiety continued to grow with the anticipation of some new slander on the bathroom stalls, loogees on my locker handle, a push down the stairs, an assortment of condiments and sodas spewed on my car. Hateful words were thrown at me from across the halls and through anonymous telephone calls.  There was a song written about how I liked to masturbate with a television remote performed at a local show. I couldn’t understand why I was such a target, and I assumed that there must be something innately wrong with me. The weight of my harassers’ hate sunk me into a deep depression; in my dreams I was drowning. I developed nervous tics, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, cystic acne and irritable bowel syndrome. I suffered from insomnia, ringing in my ears, and chronic neck pain from grinding my teeth. During this teenage turmoil I received a harrowing blow. My sweet, beautiful Aunt Wendy was found next to a dumpster, beaten to death with a tire iron by her husband of 3 days.  The trial for her murder was continually postponed for 12 years, so without any closure, I added the grief of this tragedy to the collection of hurts that I kept hidden just below the surface. This was obviously a very hard chapter of my life, but it’s never all bad! I found my silver linings along the way, including my first yoga dvds. I began to practice regularly and took my first yoga class in college. I experienced tremendous growth in my early twenties, and in the summer of 2012 I took an intensive 21 day 200 hour yoga teacher training. Through extensive meditation and pranayama I explored different layers of myself, and the floodgates that I’d been holding back finally opened. It was then that memories of my grandfather molesting me rose to the surface and I had the familiar feeling of being pulled out to sea. But this time it was different. I had an anchor in my practice, I had the tools I needed to process the darkness, and I had faith in the light within me to transform that energy into something good. It was that light that gave me the fortitude to not only forgive the people who had hurt me, but to feel love and gratitude for each of them, because without them I would not have experienced the extraordinary healing powers of yoga and I would not feel so ardently compelled to share it with the world. It was that light that led me to Grounded, where I have been embraced by a loving and nurturing community, and have been given endless opportunities to learn, grow and share. No one could have told me the direction to take, no doctor had the antidote to cure all my symptoms of stress and sadness (goodness knows what I would have been prescribed in High School!), and no one could possibly know what would bring my heart peace and joy. I found the answers when I turned inward, and realized that the most crucial component of my dharma is encouraging people to look inside themselves and trust the light that shines within them. It is my wish to be Glinda, a source of loving support and guidance, reassuring you that “you’ve always had the power my dear, you just have to learn it for yourself.”

I am making this self-awareness the focus of my current classes at Decatur Yoga and Pilates and at Fernbank Elementary School. I recently completed the Grounded training for Pre-Grounded, Special Needs, and Trauma Sensitive, and I plan to apply the powerful techniques I learned with the empathy I’ve gained through my personal experiences towards healing and empowering our youth. Shine on!

namaste, Erin

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