The Student's Way
I can't say that I ever stop learning or seeking, but there are times in my life where my dedication to seeking involves a single book and times when it involves a year-long course of study.
The desire now is two-fold: I want to know myself in the deepest way possible, and I want those who come to me - who are also called to know themselves - to have access to tools to make this possible.
However, there was a time in my life when I used education to prove something. That I am smart enough, worthy enough, or valuable enough to do the work I am called toward.
I took an unconventional approach to my learning. After I finished my B.A. I couldn't find a "traditional" track that encompassed all of the nuances I was fascinated by.
Over the past 13 years, I have piecemealed my education together. I've picked up fragments and remnants as I go, each adding another layer of depth to something we call "transformational processes."
Which is really a fancy way of saying I want to understand and be skilled in helping people intentionally change.
I haven't been in a classroom since 2015 when I completed my Master Practitioner of NLP training. That training kicked my butt. It was taught in 126 hours over 14 days. At the time, this level of intensive learning matched where I was and I welcomed it. But now, I crave something different.
The important thing for me is that I am not my tools. I watch so many individuals use their education to become their tool - a coach, a therapist, a yoga teacher, a healer, a trainer, a fill-in-the-blank. This misses something for me. While I can utilize my tools I want to always keep this question in mind:
For what purpose?
My clients don't purchase tools. That would be like a client looking for their dream home and I sell them a hammer.It's going to get lost in translation.
I am always asking myself, "What is it I am in pursuit of and what will I need to do the pursuing?" Notice, I don't ask what will get me where I want to go. Because whatever outcome I desire isn't the tool's responsibility, it's mine. It's in the quality of my questions, my intention, and what is driving me toward that outcome in the first place.
In the past year I've shifted my thinking frombeing a practitionertobuilding a body of work.A body of work which is never-ending, full of complexity, and is teaching me so much. From this place I went in search of what I wanted to immerse myself in next.
As a practitioner I overly relied on my tools. As a builder of a body of work I have to set the tools down as what drives me, and let a different kind of guidance lead the way. Then I get to pick a tool up as I go, as it's needed.
From this place I looked into a full spectrum of opportunities - Equus Coaching with Koelle Simpson, Ph.D. in Depth Psychology and Integrated Healing Practices from Pacifica (although I'll admit I mostly wanted to be called Dr. Andrea), several schools on Yoga, and even Past Life Regression Therapy with Dr. Brian Weiss.
Here's where I landed. A few weeks back I was sitting in my 2-day coaching mentorship with my current cohort of clients witnessing them have breakthroughs, deep insights, and play with horses.
One of my clients asked why I wasn't participating in one of the activities? I told her that I can't participate and hold space simultaneously...and that I am often envious of myclientsbecause I build experiences I wouldthoroughlyenjoy.
I knew at that moment that more than a classroom what I need and want now is a slow process, embodiment, a small community, long-term engagement, and something that will encourage me to tuck inside for a while, giving me new access and new language for where I am.
I enrolled in theYoga Conservatory with Kate Holly. While there are many reasons why among the many yoga teacher trainings I chose this one, the word "conservatory" captured me. Right on the website is this definition:
"An immersive school for the arts, where students are able to master their craft in the safe container of support and nurturance built by their teachers. It's a school that holds space for both rigorous dedication to practice, and encouragement to experiment, step outside the comfort zone and potentially fail."
"A rigorous dedication to practice..." Yes! Done. Sign me up.
A school that is actually encouraging its students not merely to learn asana but to immerse yourself in the study of life through the lens of yoga.
Am I shifting careers? No.
Am I going to move from coaching to teaching yoga? Not exactly.
As I've done with every school of thought I've dived into, I hope to layer this new practice into my work. I hope to weave the history, tradition, energy, and practice of this science into what I am already doing - transformational processes.
This is similar to why my students enroll in Awaken Your Life: because they are craving something more. They want to let their life experiences, their big questions, and their calling drive their contribution in the world.
I am no different.