Money Laundering: The Real Reason I Became a Yoga Teacher

It’s the first day of Yoga Teacher Training.  I’m sitting on my mat in a roomful of women I have never met before.  And the first thing our teacher does is ask us to talk a little bit about ourselves, and tell everyone what brought us here to this training.

I figured this would happen.  And I know why I’m here.  But am I going to tell everyone why I’m here?    I think I will.

The others speak, one by one.  They each seem to be at a crossroads in their life, and ready for something new.  When one of the women explains that she is mourning the very recent loss of a friend, I start to cry.  This is not at all unusual for me, as they will come to find out over the next few weeks.  I cry easily at things both happy and sad.

When it is my turn to speak, I’m already visibly upset, and there is no way I can calmly talk about why I am here; what has really brought me here.  I don’t think I can tell my story without crying even more, making everyone think that I’m an emotional wreck.   I’m not really a wreck. It’s just…this is a story that has to be told under the right conditions. These were not the right conditions.  So I said something like:  “My name is Kim and I’m peri-menopausal, so I cry at everything. I’m here to deepen my yoga practice and just see where this yoga thing leads me.”

I didn’t tell them the real reason I was there was to launder some money.

Flashback to a few months before.  I received a letter from an attorney telling me that I was going to inherit money from my dead grandparents’ estate.  Great news, right?  Inheriting money from a relative.  But this was not money I wanted. I thought this money was dirty.  When I received the check, I stuck it in a drawer and left it there.  I didn’t want anything to do with this money.

Flashback again to when I started practicing yoga.  I had heard that when you are holding certain poses all kinds of “stuff” can come up: physical stuff, emotional stuff, the stuff of breakthroughs.  And it happened for me. I’m not sure which pose I was in, or even which class, but I know stuff started to happen. I started writing about things I had never written about before.  And then I wrote what I considered a breakthrough poem: Statute of Limitations.  A poem about my dead grandfather.

Statute of Limitations

I am good at keeping secrets.
And I’m good at hiding tears.
Something that I learned to do
very early on in years.

I am good at keeping secrets.
Kept some my whole life through.
I still have not told anyone
about the things you used to do.

I am good at keeping secrets.
The good ones and the bad,
the things you told me not to tell
my mother and my dad.

I am good at keeping secrets.
It’s a thing you must have known.
You took advantage of that fact
each time we were alone.

I am good at keeping secrets.
I have never told a soul
about the way you hurt me,
the way you had control.

I am good at keeping secrets.
And although it sounds absurd,
I packed them in little boxes
and never breathed a word.

I am good at keeping secrets.
I have kept them all my days.
All throughout my adolescent
chemical-induced haze.

I am good at keeping secrets.
I buried them deep within.
When they threatened to resurface
I cut them back into my skin.

I am good at keeping secrets.
I molded them for years,
turning them into rituals,
habits, addictions, fears.

I am good at keeping secrets.
I have tied them into nooses,
hanging them over my bed,
using them as excuses.

I am good at keeping secrets.
No matter what the cost.
The people that I hurt.
The relationships I lost.

I’ve been good at keeping secrets
ever since I was a kid.
I still have not told anyone
about the things you did.

I have held on to your secrets
and you must be oh, so proud.
But everyone will know the truth
When I read these words out loud.

I have to say, I was pretty happy about that poem. I thought it was good.  It was just one more good thing that had come from a shitty situation.   All of my (adult) life I have tried to find the good in that bad.  I try to look at things in a positive way. I’m happy to be alive, and happy to have survived the rough years relatively unscathed.  With a positive spin I can say the things that happened to me as a child and adolescent made me a strong person; resilient, grateful, compassionate, and even forgiving.  I tried to see something good in all of the things that had come my way, even the most awful ones.

Then one day I realized I could take this awful feeling that the un-cashed check gave me and turn it  into a good thing too.  I could use this money to help someone else.  Maybe I could counter the negative stuff  the man who saved that money had put out into the universe with some positive stuff of my own.    One of the most positive things I knew…was yoga.

So that was it! I would use that money to take a yoga teacher training!   Yoga had done more for me than any amount of talk therapy ever would. If I could learn enough to teach it, maybe I could help one or two other people.  And I could donate the money from all of my community classes to a local Crisis Center, helping a few other people.  And If I wanted to continue, I could learn to teach therapeutic yoga for people who have been abused, raped, or suffer from PTSD, helping even a few more.  And so I cashed that check, and signed myself up!

That was why I was there, sitting on my mat, ready to learn.  Money laundering was my true intention.  But I couldn’t say it then.  I almost didn’t say it now.   All of those questions that come up: what will people think? will it make them see me differently?  But none of those things really matter, do they?

I think back to my intention. I want to keep turning it into something good. And if this post speaks to even one person, then that is one more clean dollar.


This entry was posted in It's All Yoga, Poetic License. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Money Laundering: The Real Reason I Became a Yoga Teacher

  1. Pingback: I’m Still Cutting My Teeth | Skip to My Lou, My Dharma

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  3. Pingback: This Little Light of Mine | Skip to My Lou, My Dharma

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