Meet Phyllis Mathis, my beloved friend and mentor of over ten years. Phyllis is co-founder and managing editor of Voca Femina, and the ontological coach behind Resonance Life Coaching. Phyllis, with her profound wisdom and genius, and I joined our powers to cook up the Integrate Retreat in April, which promises to be the most transformative event I've been a part of yet. (There's still room for you to join us.)
Today she shares this story with us:
If you’re very lucky, at some brief moment in time, someone may come along and change your life.
My someone’s name was Jay. That was the American name he adopted to prevent his yoga students from slaughtering his true Korean name.
I was an ignorant, overweight, green around the gills yoga-newbie who had grown up on the belief that to darken the door of anything “eastern” was akin to dancing with the devil. Nevertheless I found myself enjoying the newfound flexibility, clarity, and strength provided by this modern/ancient practice, under Jay’s expert instruction.
Included in my studio membership was a periodic “energy check” – a session with Jay in which he would poke around certain pressure points, looking for anything out of balance, any way he could help his students achieve a healthier balance.
That particular autumn had been rough. My long-time business partner and close friend had turned vicious - in typical mean girls fashion - and had eviscerated me in front of my colleagues, just weeks after I had signed a five-year contract with her. I was a mess - stunned, wounded, and at a loss for how survive a whopping five years with this woman.
I was in that condition one day after class, when Jay offered me an energy check. I warily followed him into the treatment room and lay down on the mat.
He poked and prodded while I wondered what information he could possibly be gleaning, and for what purpose. He moved his hands to press a spot just below my left collarbone. I yelped in pain.
“What is that?” I asked, completely surprised.
“Ah,” he said, “You have problem with co-worker.”
“How do you know that?” I demanded. How could he possibly know that?
“This energy center have to do with relationships, coworkers,” he replied. “Tell me what is wrong.”
I gave him a brief history of my humiliation and betrayal. His response startled me.
“You have to fight!” he said, eyes narrowed, intense.
“Oh no, I am not a fighter,” I blurted. How could I explain the situation, my cowardice, my complete lack of skills in the art of confrontation, my thorough intimidation under this woman’s glare?
“In a fight, she is a lion and I am a chicken,” I offered, hoping a metaphor would bridge the cultural gap.
His eyes did not lose their intensity.
“Even a chicken knows how to fight for her chicks. You must fight like a chicken – for your soul!”
His words hung in the air, the moment stretched out in time.
The oracle had spoken.
I took his words home, tucked them into my heart. Soon I managed to recover my dignity, face my partner, establish my boundaries, and get my power back.
Not bad for a chicken.
Shortly thereafter, the studio closed and Jay was gone.
Five years later I realize that I was very, very lucky. You never know who might show up to change your life in an unexpected way.
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