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Breaking up is hard to do, Part II: What would Bapuji do?

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Breaking up is hard to do, Part II:  What would Bapuji do?
Bapuji sitting with garlands of flowers

Bapuji at last public appearance in PA

What would Bapuji do indeed? That question is the chorus for this “Breaking up” blog saga of mine. Last time, I shared how a virtual cold shoulder by my once beloved spiritual home left me saddened and confused, about my relationship with Kripalu and my life purpose as a whole.

 

My dilemma seems small now, even to me, in light of the suffering unleashed by the Super Storm, not to mention the exigencies of the election. And before that, your comments were balm for my wounds. Still, I am moved to continue my strange saga, eager as I am to get to the bottom of it, and claim my role—and help you illuminate yours—in a world so in need of our light.

 

I first approached Kripalu soon after publishing Bare Naked at the Reality Dance because I had a great idea. It arrived one morning in a flash of inspiration, as if it were God—or Bapuji—given. I suddenly knew I was meant to share Bapuji’s teachings, as embodied in the down-to-earth America woman I am, with Kripalu Yoga teachers. And I wanted to do it at their fall 2012 conference just as a friend had done with her related book last year. It felt so right I could taste it.

 

In May, I emailed a well-placed former colleague there. She referred me to the person running the conference, whom I emailed at once. No response after several weeks? No problem! I was passionate and I was determined. At the suggestion of another old Kripalu friend who’d read and loved the book, I sent signed copies with notes to the planner and others she felt could help me. When, after sending more emails, there was no response by September, I left a warm, detailed voice message for the conference planner.  Surely I would hear from him now.

 

But I didn’t. It’s been five months since my first attempt, and I’ve had nary a peep from anyone at Kripalu about my offer, not even “Got your email” or “Thanks for the book.”  Nada. How can that be? How to make sense of such total disregard of a sister seeker, one of their very own?

 

Given my two dedicated decades as an early Kripalu Yoga student, teacher and, for ten years, a Network regional leader (I received their Global Service award for “exemplary leadership” in 1994, for God’s sake); and given that the source of inspiration for the book I long to share is the self-same Bapuji on whom the entire Kripalu enterprise is founded, the complete brush-off I experienced feels beyond bizarre. Even if I had no connection to Kripalu, such silent treatment in the face of a well-founded offer to contribute one’s time, energy and life work is hard to fathom.

 

Trond, who was brought up in the polite European culture of Norway decades ago, is incredulous. Still, we both recognize that most people are absurdly busy and can easily miss or be overwhelmed by missiles arriving en masse. But while I am online a lot and growing accustomed to an increasing non-responsiveness all around, I really, really don’t like it.

 

I don’t like it because it’s leaving me out in the cold, of course, at Kripalu and elsewhere in the world I’d hoped to enter with my work. But I am even more disturbed because of what my experience suggests about where we are and what has happened to us, as communicators and as human beings. Far too many of us—myself sometimes included—are not being who I know we mean and want to be in a world that craves our best selves—our souls.

 

Caught up in the frenzied pace of life on and offline, even we whose express purpose is spiritual awakening and compassion can lose sight of each other (and ourselves) in the rush to an elusive end. More and more, we ignore and run over each other in a race that no one can win. Precious few of us make the quiet quality time it takes to love and respect, and see and hear, each other in the way we ourselves want to be loved and respected, seen and heard. I for one am extremely grateful to those of us who do respond to efforts to reach out and touch each other with love.

 

As for being ignored by my former spiritual home, I suspect that I (and probably many others) have simply gotten lost in the “too much to do to notice you” Kripalu shuffle. What a shame!

 

What would Bapuji do?

 

I can’t be sure obviously. But I suspect that having exerted his considerable will, as I’ve exerted mine, Bapuji would surrender. Rather than pushing against a wall that, for whatever mysterious reasons, seems unwilling to yield even the slightest bit, he would give it up to God and let it be. Bapuji would trust there was something he didn’t understand at play and return his attention to the most critical “play” of all—the divine play of realizing the Supreme Self that we all essentially are. Let go and let’s see what else the universe has in store. That is what I will do.

 

Besides, kids, it hurts to bang our heads against a wall, and hurting ourselves in the interest of helping others can never be a good idea!

 

PS Reviewing some Kripalu related material the other day, I noticed that the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association conference, where I wanted so much to share, kicks off with its opening ceremonies…today (which is to say the day in October when I drafted this post). How ironic and sad. That day, by the way, is the day when I finally let fly with some choice expletives and felt better than I had for a long time about Kripalu and me. And, okay, while I bet Bapuji never used the F word, that may just be because he didn’t speak English.

 

Please add your expletive-inducing or heart-warming experiences to the conversation so that we may learn from and support you.  And thanks, as always, for your loving support of me.

 

Categories: A Writer's Life, Surrender
  • Matt W

    Hi Suzanne, I read your last post with great interest, and was looking forward to seeing what comes next. I think your decision “to surrender,” as difficult as that can be, is not a bad course of action. Accepting too. Trying to figure out why people act as they do, respond or not respond as they do and don’t can be a conundrum that typically has us trying to understand on the basis of what might make me act that way. It’s even more complicated when the other is in absentia.

    But I also got to thinking that maybe this is an indication that perhaps Kripalu is not the place where you are meant to be working to place your book; that its real value lies elsewhere, in communities outside of Kripalu. In a sense, going back to your roots could be seen as preaching to the choir. But what you’ve written could be very valuable to people in very different walks of life. So perhaps channeling the energy to how you could spread what you’ve learned from Bapuji to those who’ve never heard of him (people like me, for instance).

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Thank you, Matt, for taking part in our blog conversation. I’m delighted you enjoyed our latest posts. I am coming around to agreeing with you — and Jamie, who made a related comment after the last post. You both suggest it’s time for me to move on, and out into the world of new and would-be seekers who may know nothing about yoga, let alone Kripalu.

      While I still feel reading my book would deepen the experience of the Kripalu Yoga teachers, I am going to let those sleeping dogs lie for now. And, yes, I will channel my energy elsewhere, though, honestly, I don’t yet quite know where. Let’s hope the universe — or, hey, you my readers, might be able to help with that!

  • Kate

    Hi Suzanne,
    I just read Parts I and II, and I have had the exact same dilemma!!!  My old and loyal high school friends have said virtually nothing about the 4 CDs Amy and I made. My sister says people are busy.  But I say they are my friends, and some are retired now.  I feel as you do, “Precious few of us make the quality time to love and respect, to see and hear. . . ” These have been my life-long friends, although we don’t see each other that often.  It makes me sad and has for a long time.  I thought when I see them I might say that I’ve felt sad.  But my husband said don’t put them on the spot, just ask them how they liked the music. Like you, I hope I am not bitter.  My sister said, “Was it worth it, making the music, if it makes you bitter?!”  Oh, dear!  What a question.  We cannot NOT make music.  And friends can be thoughtless, or maybe they didn’t like it, but there must be one song they liked–goodness–we have almost 500 fans now around the world.  So I am a little sad and confused, but of course, as you say, my problem is small compared to the many more real problems in our world. Still, I do wonder what gives with my friends and am trying to let it go.  But the question pops its head, and so I wonder. And I sympathize with you.  I’m with Frond, the impoliteness is staggering.
    By the way, I have just started your book.  I read the first chapter, and I am really enjoying it.  Going away this weekend and will have some needed quiet time, so I look forward to getting further into your journey.
    Love, Kate xoxo

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Dear Kate, I am SO sorry you are experiencing the infamous cold shoulder from your old high school friends. I am sure if they knew how sad you are feeling about it they’d rally to support you. I don’t hear bitterness at all, and of course you cannot NOT make music! I am thrilled to hear of your hundreds of fans! Please count me among them.
       
      I encourage you to trust your instincts about how to handle this. For my part, what I try to do is allow myself to feel the pain of my sadness whenever it arises. My sense is that by allowing the pain to come, I am both acknowledging myself and giving this sadness a chance to move through and eventually out of my system. In this way, I hope, I am freeing myself of the needing acknowledgement of others. Still, you might want to share your sadness with select friends, since I imagine that not speaking to them about it might create a wall, which is bound to affect your friendship. What do you think? Thank you so much for bravely sharing your experience with us.   

  • Mary P.

    Well, Sue, this is truly sad and unfortunate.   My vision is of your book and other communications to folks at Kripalu sitting in a big pile with other stuff left unanswered and unattended by someone who is just trying to get through the day.   It is a missed opportunity.   While surrender seems like the right thing to do in loving yourself and others, I think you have done your work by writing the book.  It is there and will speak to many people and stir their souls as it has done mine. 

    Kripalu is in a different place now and running, I suppose, as best it can in its new format.   The fact that no one there even bothers to write an email or note of even thanks but no thanks is appalling.   Where have our manners gone?  Don’t get me started on that one!  If you wantand have the energy for it, you can start your own movement, or just be your loving self caring for yourself, others and the world as you do so well.  Never stop speaking up!  Thw world needs you!  With love, your friend over the hill (in more ways than one!), Mary

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Bless you, sweet Mary, for your unwavering belief in the power of my book to stir souls. What an honor to have stirred yours! And thanks for sympathetically deeming Kripalu’s total lack of response “appalling.” I suppose it is, though I am doing my best to move beyond any judgments about it. In the next post, I will share how I’ve continued to feel my feelings, bringing me gradually toward the point where it just IS and I just am.

      Meanwhile, you and Jody better join in if you want a new movement. While I am hugely grateful you two see me as capable of creating that (and I dare say I am!), I am far more likely to choose your second suggestion — simply being and caring for myself, even as I continue to speak up, at least on the page. No matter how far “over the hill” I am, I suppose I can — and likely will — always do that. Thank you!

  • Jody

    Hi Suzanne

    I can feel the frustration and how you are trying to handle it so
    honestly and gracefully…hopefully this won’t sound a little crazy,
    but I wonder if you have ever used a divination tool to connect
    to Bapuji and ask him directly what he would do.  It only works with
    a pure intention.  Do you still feel strongly to claim your rightful place
    at Kripalu as a senior mentor?  There is another conference next year.
    That being said, I remember Yogi Desai saying once to people who were complaining about things in the audience at the Kriplau Centre “If you
    don’t like it here, go create your own” 
    So you are still in the power position here and you can still chose
    whatever direction you wish to go in.  Love Jody 
     

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Thanks for weighing in again on Kripalu, Jody. I appreciate the directness of your question about whether I still want to “claim my rightful place as a senior mentor.” Honestly, I suspect I no longer do want to “claim” it, though I might not turn it away if I were offered a chance to do meaningful service. So much water over the damn it’s hard to say.
       
      Meanwhile, I am not moved to start a movement. :)  But I am glad for your reminder that I can choose my direction. To do that wisely, I suspect more quiet contemplation, conversations with Trond, and perhaps writing in my big black journal, will all be in order. However I come to it, discernment, along with surrender, is what’s called for now. Love to you, too, Kripalu sister of old.

  • http://twitter.com/aegiscoach Sheila M. Kelly

    What pops into my head and my heart is a reiteration of what you have stated and someone has already hinted … our job is to put it out there and “allow” it to be what it will be. It also occurs to me that when I don’t remember to just “allow” then I get stuck, putting attention to what isn’t instead of what is. It doth seem rude not to respond to your lovely gifts with gratitude. Yes. But ……. hmmmmmmmm … and I do not know if this is true but … perhaps they felt some kind of strings attached to the gift. Was the book a gift or a request? I do not know.

    I’ve also learned that my greatest allies are usually not found in my closest circle of friends and colleagues. This is a tenet of The Bigger Game developed by the late Laura Whitworth of The Coaches Training Institute.

    I love the idea of surrender; as in surrender to what is rather than what we would like it to be.

    With Love to you, Suzanne, and all the wise ones you’ve gathered around you.
    Sheila

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Sheila, hello and thanks for chiming in with your helpful comment about focusing on and allowing what IS, to keep us from getting stuck wanting what isn’t. A big one, that, for both of us, it seems!
       
      As for the books to Kripalu, I sent them expressly so the staff could see what I’d be offering were they to consider my request to present at the teachers’ conference. I was completely transparent in that.
       
      Interesting point you make about where we find allies. Sometimes they are my friends (like you!). And sometimes, to my delight and surprise, they are total strangers, who show up like angels, out of the blue and on fire to help me share my message of self-love and care. I have been astonished, equally by close friends who don’t read the book and by those “stranger angels” who buy and give copies to everyone they know. There is no rhyme nor reason to it I can discern. Anyway, bless you for showering love on me and the wise ones in my world.
       
        

  • http://jimdreaver.com/ Jim

    Great Suzanne! As Byron Katie says, when you argue with reality, you always lose – 100% of the time!

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Amen. Thank you — and – Katie for that, Jim. “Loving What Is” may be the challenge of a lifetime, but what else is there to do worth doing?

  • MaurieA

    Hey Suzanne,
    Part 1 & 2 are exciting reads! I sense this as the next step in your spiritual evolution, and I look forward to seeing where this path takes you. As always, I appreciate how you use what’s happening to you and take it to the deeper unfolding. I am a big fan of revealing for my own feeling of being complete, and I love the surrendering ingredient tossed in, finding the balance of what wants to happen next with full authority of creating our lives. 
    You inspire me!
    Maurie

    • Suzanne Grenager

      Nothing makes me happier than hearing that, dear Maurie. And as you know — not least from the chapter about you in my book — you have long inspired me. I LOVE that we can use the Internet for such a passionate and powerful purpose as inspiring each other, one and all.
       
      And yes, I too sense a critical shift afoot, a huge letting go. Like it or not, I feel called to stop striving and relax into that sometimes elusive “balance you mention. Creating our lives “with full authority” is a brilliant way to characterize the willful side of the equation. The surrender is harder for me, and perhaps for many of us. But since pushing ain’t doing it for me, surrender I must (and I will :) The loving support of friends like you is helpful beyond measure. Sending you my love through the ether. 

  • Karen L.

    Dear Suzanne, I just read parts 1 and 2 and all the comments. I hear your pain of being ignored and maybe abandonmed, and your dilemma of what to do.

    You have a lot of wonderful and wise supporters!  All the words that came to me have already been spoken–let go of expectations, surrender, allow, love what is, focus where the love already is, banging your head is painful.  I like the idea of opening up to all possibilities and letting the Universe send you the partners and readers you need.

    It really hurts when your former community ignores you, and leaves you wondering why they won’t give you any recognition.  But pursuing the ”why” of anything does waste energy and is often only speculation.  We grow and leave others to grow in their own ways.  The space widens between us.  Who you are right now may not resonate with Kripalu, and that’s okay.  You’ve grown in a different direction.

    Can you let it be what it is?  If you move from your mind/thoughts to your heart/feelings, you may find some new perspectives there.  The situation may not be what it seems.  Your higher self may be asking you to let go of any attachment to Kripalu.  What you wrote in the book is about your life and what you’ve discovered.  Kripalu is only one of the passing characters.

    Much love to you as you work through this painful, but illuminating, dilemma.  I’m sure there is much more light at the end of the tunnel!  

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Compassionate Karen: I like — no, I LOVE — your (and others’) idea of “letting the universe send me the partners and readers I need” (and who may need me. :) I am, as you thoughtfully point out, already blessed with a circle of amazing friends and supporters. It boils down to my greedy ego wanting MORE, and feeling I haven’t done enough to generate the attention I hope my book deserves.
       
      But as you rightly ask, “Can I let it be what it is?” Such a great question! Not only in relation to Kripalu but vis-a-vis all my attempts to share the book with others who often aren’t responsive. The good news may be this: the pain of my attachment to what I see as traditional ”success” is slowly forcing me to the mat. It is inviting (almost forcing) me to do as you suggest – move from my head, where the attachment and the pain it generates, arises, down into the bowels and heart of me, where self-love and peace live. To the extent I can allow that shift to happen and let go, there will indeed be light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for your valuable perspective, my friend, and for holding my hand. I am holding yours as well.   

  • Suzanne Grenager

    Compassionate Karen: I like — no, I LOVE — your (and others’) idea of “letting the universe send me the partners and readers I need” (and who may need me. :) I am, as you thoughtfully point out, already blessed with a circle of amazing friends and supporters. It boils down to my greedy ego wanting MORE, and feeling I haven’t done enough to generate the attention I hope my book deserves.
     
    But as you rightly ask, “Can I let it be what it is?” Such a great question! Not only in relation to Kripalu but vis-a-vis all my attempts to share the book with others who often aren’t responsive. The good news may be this: the pain of my attachment to what I see as traditional ”success” is slowly forcing me to the mat. It is inviting (almost forcing) me to do as you suggest – move from my head, where the attachment and the pain it generates, arises, down into the bowels and heart of me, where self-love and peace live. To the extent I can allow that shift to happen and let go, there will indeed be light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for your valuable perspective, my friend, and for holding my hand. I am holding yours as well.   

    • Karen L

      Suzanne,

      Just one comment—success is really just following the wisdom your highest self and walking firmly on your own path—no matter what others do or say.  The Universe will support you when you live that way, so following the traditional path to success may actually take you off your path.  It’s so hard for us to let go of our traditional views of things, but it sounds like your pain is helping you make that choiceJ.
       
      Much love,
      Karen

      • Suzanne Grenager

        Brilliant  followup comment, Karen! I LOVE your definition of success as following one’s own guidance, which of course includes being able first to hear it! And how right you are that, in my case, trying to follow the traditional path to success has been leading me astray.

        Though I have often felt out of sorts as I’ve pushed to try to *make* my book a ”success,” I have not trusted myself enough to let that way go. That is, until about now, when the pain of not listening closely to myself has practically forced me to a gentler path. I appreciate your calling it a “choice,” because it is. After all, I could keep pushing against my better instincts, pain and all. But with so much loving support from you my blog friends, I will not, and please hold my feet to the fire!

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Suzanne,

      Just one comment—success is really just following the wisdom your highest self and walking firmly on your own path—no matter what others do or say.  The Universe will support you when you live that way, so following the traditional path to success may actually take you off your path.  It’s so hard for us to let go of our traditional views of things, but it sounds like your pain is helping you make that choiceJ.
       
      Much love,
      Karen

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