A Knock on the Door

Something I Am Grateful For
by Tracey Rich

Just one shade braver than I had ever been before, that's what it took for me to knock on that door. In all my shy twenty years, innate curiosity had never taken me that far. I walked down the stone steps leading to the front door of the house that sat at the top of Love Circle, and with three tentative raps, my life began to unfurl into an adventure of discovery, and into the teacher I would become. My mentor opened the door.

I had begun my journey of Yoga earlier that year in the spring of 1978, taking classes in a tall brick office building on Broadway and Division with three other curious and dedicated souls. We gathered twice a week in a small office space called the Yoga Science Center with a gentleman from India in the same building where I spliced reel-to-reel tapes for a Nashville jingle company. As my learning evolved over the years, although it was never expressed as such at the time, I was studying Raja Yoga for those initial six weeks. No matter the expression, the fullness of the experience was a homecoming. The same sentiment I would hear from my own students again and again over the years. The previous uncertainty about Yoga that I had, and the precipitous funk I was in, quickly faded into interest and aliveness.

Attuning oneself to an inner prompting is sometimes like having to use a metal detector over a seemingly empty terrain to find lost treasure. It can take time and patience, and you may receive no signals for a very long time. All the wonderful, clichéd sayings like, taking the road less traveled, and the journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step, still ring for me. Listening to that whisper that lead me to seek out Yoga, and the deeper calling to respond to an awareness of living more fully, were in my heart and mind.

I knocked and the door opened in so many meaningful ways. I became an apprentice to my own life  through Yoga, and to a teacher by showing up. Ready to soak up the knowledge of a wise, older woman, June LaSalvia became my mentor by seeing in me a budding consciousness and a simpatico spirit, and by treating me with patience, kindness, interest, and empathy as a young woman burning with the bigger questions of life. Much of what June taught me, aside from a form with beautiful breath and movement, was something about simply being your truest self, open to fellow travelers on a road of inquiry. I realized Yoga was not a closed system to be memorized or mimicked, but a deeper engagement with all of life. I remain a student of that teaching.

Someone held a door open for me and took the time to see something that I could not yet see in myself. I am grateful for being offered an opportunity to step through that door, and eventually at overcoming the fear of stepping into my teacher's shoes. I am grateful for having had a mentorship where love and mutual respect were the currency.

Reflecting back on that shy, young woman who acted on a spark of curiosity, and exhibited an unusual bit of bravery, by putting herself forward, brings me an even greater appreciation for the way life can unfold. When that door opened, both literally and figuratively, I am so grateful that I walked through.

At this time of giving thanks, I offer gratitude to my teachers, to my students, to the over forty years of inquiry, learning, and teaching, to Yoga, and to finding the teacher within myself.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.