When I was sixteen years old, I won a music competition where I played two pieces of classical Western music on the piano. The piano had been my passion for four years. Beethoven and Chopin were my best friends. When I won that competition it was like the universe saying, ‘yes, you are good.” It made me happy from the core of my being.
When I was in college I wanted to major in music and my parents wanted me to become a doctor. I ended up taking pre-med classes for two years while being in awe of my friends walking to and from the music building and talking in the dorm rooms about rhythm and harmony. My heart was torn apart in college. Though my parents wanted me to have a lucrative career and stable life, I wanted to play the piano.
I didn’t end up majoring in music and I don’t blame my parents. I can see now that I didn’t have the courage to insist that I honor my feelings. It is hard to live your truth. In the Gita, a warrior is described as someone who is daring and resolute with a strong will power and fierce determination. I did not know then how to fight the battle in my mind in order to honor my soul. I did not know how to make my outer world a reflection of my inner. It is one thing to know your truth and another to be able to express and live it.
When I was ten years old, I saw for the first time a friend’s hands move across the piano. When I saw that I knew right then that my hands had to do that. There was no question. There was no thinking that, “hmmm, maybe someday I will learn how to play the piano.” There was only an absolute certainty, necessity that my fingers would move across a piano and make beautiful music. That is just what happened.
When I was twenty-three years old, I stepped into a yoga studio for the first time in my life. I had practiced yoga with my mom at home, but, I had never seen a group vinyasa class. The moment I saw about thirty bodies glistening with sweat and beaming with strength and absolute beauty, moving in harmony like the most graceful, sacred dance I had ever witnessed, I knew at that moment that my body had to do that. There was no question. I began to practice everyday and built my body up to do just that.
My passion now is to lead people through meditative movement while choosing music that is beautiful to move to. When I go to a class of an inspiring teacher, I know that this is what I am meant for. When I am that inspiring teacher, there is nothing that gives me more satisfaction.
Life is one constant self-discovery. Everything is changing constantly including our very selves. When I practice yoga or do anything really, I am intrigued with what within me will come forth. What treasure about myself will I discover now? I like to see myself as water or fire or wind or space rather than something that is always solid like earth. If I see myself as water, for example, flowing and formless, I am more receptive to get to know my changing self. If I see myself as solid and fixed, I miss out on who I am becoming. “Relate to the world in ever new ways and grow into freedom,” says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.
After having a child, I kept wondering when I would go back to feeling like my “normal” self again…the Reema that I was before having a baby. I waited and wondered. I felt nostalgic and frustrated. Then one day I realized that that Reema is gone, like fire, like wind. And, the Reema that is here is different, changed.
My work is not to try and retrieve who I was before having a baby but to be receptive to who I am now. Instead of this being depressing, it is exciting! Instead of holding on to what no longer exists, I feel like a child discovering who I am.
“When you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.” – Jesus
“When you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save the world.” – Krishna
May we have the courage to bring forth what is within. May we experience the peace of knowing ourselves and the pure joy of being ourselves.
Who are you now?
I bow to the light within you that is free of form and therefore free to form into anything.