Kalani Honua Blog - self-acceptance

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tiffany Jentsch

Note from the author:

I purposely signed up to do one of our communities weekly inspirations in October of 2013. I figured that, 2 weeks out from the Hawaii Yoga Festival (an event which I’m coordinating) there would be potential for stress, anxiety and pressure from the clock.So I thought, what better way to ground myself than by standing up and trying to inspire my entire community in just a few minutes? My ego works in interesting ways. Here I share with you the inspiration I offered to our Kalani community that day in October: 


Today’s topic: The ego. From the time I was first introduced to Freud’s teachings in Junior High, I learned that my ego is the cause of all my misery. When I entered college, in Psychology 101 they taught me the same thing. When I started my career in the health and fitness field, I witnessed first hand how a person’s ego inflicted massive emotional pain and even physical injuries. When I walked into my first yoga class 9 years ago the teacher told me to leave my ego at the door. And finally, after sitting my second 10-day Vipassana course, I got a nasty dose of how my ego had certainly been the cause of my misery.

So it’s no surprise that somewhere along the way, I linked up that my ego is the source of ALL my pain and it must be destroyed. Many of you might agree with that statement. However, no one ever taught me the benefits of my ego, and no one ever led a class teaching me to let my ego speak. The core of most teachings that I received was to identify the ways your ego was abusing you, then silence it!

When I arrived at Kalani 7 months ago, I was on top of the world. It was a brand new, exciting chapter in my life. It had been a life-long dream to live in Hawai’i. Little did I know, Pele was waiting for me…ready to chew me up and spit me out!

We use the phrase “E Ho Mai” a lot around here. “Let it come, let it flow.” It makes total sense, but when you’re in the middle of a “crisis” and someone says “e ho mai”, oftentimes my brain is more like “e ho mai God! What is happening?!”

I had been in a bit of a funk the past few months. I closed myself off to others and spent most of my time alone at Chez Stiffy (That’s the name my friends have given my tent…it’s not as dirty as it sounds!). During those lonely hours, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell I was doing here! This little voice in my head kept aggravating me, challenging me to look at my life.

“Am I just wasting time here? What am I afraid of?” are just a few questions I repeatedly asked myself. I enjoy accomplishing things, setting goals and achieving them. I really miss speaking in front of crowds, sharing things that I’ve learned and watching the moment a person realizes how powerful they really are. It’s magical. Teaching people, performing, achieving goals, hearing people tell me that their life improved after talking with me…that feeds my ego…but it also feeds my spirit.

The balance of ego and spirit, in my opinion, is one of the secrets to fulfillment. I’ve learned that the ego isn’t as bad as I once thought it to be. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up and speak in front of hundreds of people each week. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have traveled around the world..a lot of the time solo. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have studied so hard. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have developed the confidence to make a positive impact on people all over the world. Without my ego I wouldn’t be up here telling you all of the ways that I’m awesome! I believe that I’ve been put on this planet to help people realize their true power and show them how to step into it. So without my ego…I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my destiny.

That little voice had been beating me up for a few months. It wasn’t like a full on beating, it was more of a constant thump on my nose, just slightly irritating. It didn’t really hurt at first, but after a while, with it’s unbelievable perseverance, it started to get painful! If you know what I’m talking about, I want you to listen very closely now. Will, a friend of mine here at Kalani, gave me some great advice while I was doing this to myself, so I would like to extend that to all of you now.

He said, “Tiffany,” and I’m paraphrasing, “let that voice speak instead of trying to silence her. Let her have a voice. Write it down and let her be heard. Then get her on your side…because she’s powerful.”

That really made me think. So I did let her speak and I wrote down her thoughts for hours (that bitch is long-winded!). And Will was right – she is powerful. Instead of fighting her, I’ve used my communication skills and I’ve gotten her on my side. So the point of my story is this:

Your ego is not the enemy. It just likes to showboat. You can still let your ego in the car, just make sure you let your Spirit drive. But don’t forget, the ego is the world’s worst backseat driver! He thinks he knows where you’re going but he gets lost all the time! Your humble Spirit knows the way – though sometimes it just might need to pull the car over! But just as you wouldn’t throw your unruly child out of the car, don’t try to eliminate your ego. When kept in control, it serves you greatly and has a powerful voice…love it and let it speak through your Spirit.

I love all of you from the bottom of my heart and I’m proud to call you my ohana. So let it come, let flow. E ho mai God, we are blessed!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Jim Larsen

Jim LarsenFind yourself here. That's what it says on the coffee cups here at Kalani, not as a mandate, but as an invitation. Spend time here. Understand yourself. Get to know the real you, away from the pressures of the social role imposed on you from whatever part of the world you came here from. Anybody allowing themselves the opportunity to do that will undoubtedly free themselves of the pressures of expectations placed on them that simply don't matter.

For example, there was a time when I was self conscious about how I presented myself. I could feel a thousand judgmental eyes staring at me, assessing me, judging me. I felt overwhelming pressure to present myself as perfect as I could. The following is a journal entry I wrote reflecting that time in my life. It was written in November of 2005 while living and working in the Washington DC metropolitan area:

Sometimes I might find myself standing around with my hands in my pockets, but I don't want to stand around with my hands in my pockets, because standing around with my hands in my pockets makes me look slouchy, and slouchy is not how I want to present myself, so I want to take my hands out of my pockets, but I don't want to make it obvious that I am trying to correct myself, so I have to come up with clever reasons to take my hands out of my pockets; like maybe I'm swatting a fly away, or I have an itch, or maybe to give you one of my patented punches of doom to you stomach. The problem with that, though, is that questions always get asked, like, "Why did you do that?" And I say the first thing that comes to my mind, which is usually, "Sorry. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I'm a Gulf War Veteran you know." Which is a lie, but now you have lots of questions about my experiences and want to hear some war stories, but I don't have any so now I just want to get away from you, so I turn my head away and go "Ring ring ring" then I say "Excuse me, I have to take this call." Then I run away as fast as I can.

My time at Kalani has helped me overcome this need to present myself as a perfect being. I accept myself just as I am. If I want to take my hands out of my pockets, I will just do it. I no longer feel the need to make a game of it. No more imaginary flies. No more pretend itches. No more senseless violence. No more self-consciousness. If I appear slouchy to you, then could it be that I am merely a reflection of you? I am but a mirror. What you see in me is completely based on your image of yourself. Having trouble understanding what you see? Let the energy of Kalani work its magic on you. Find yourself here.