I grew up doing what I knew how to do best — SING. It was a God given gift, except initially I was very shy, and truly, it was my Father’s dream; a dream I wanted to fulfill for him, until it became too much.
I had to flee in order to find the freedom from expectation that I put on myself from the many years of conditioning of culture. I don’t know about you, but how many of us tried to be that person or thing in order to please our parents???
But truth be told, I had a God given talent, how could I let that go to waste? Well practically anything given to you, first and foremost, you must feel passion, inspiration, an ultimate calling to put blood thirst of work into it, sweat, tears and love into your calling, right? Well, unfortunately, that was not mine.
So what did I do? I ran away (not literally), but got up and left LA. I remember my friend saying, “no matter where you go, there you are.” At 24, I heard that faint voice following me from one home/city to the next.
It was when my best friend began taking a yoga teacher training and then my sister speaking about her admiration for her yoga teacher that I found myself at my first yoga class back in LA in 1996.
I found a love for this practice when it gave me a pathway to embody freedom, truth and clarity. That was it. It was my way of living, my place of refuge.
My first teacher Max Strom pulled me aside after practicing with him for about 2 years and said, “Cari, why don’t you come to my teacher training?” I thought that’s funny, no way! But when he pulled me aside two years later and said, “Cari, it is NOW time for you to come to my training. Lets go sit down for a cup of tea, and I will tell you what I see in you.” I was done.
Not only did Max gift me the reflection to see myself, he was my mentor; my first one ever, and he showed me the true meaning of unconditional service for the highest purpose.