Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guest Writer Jennifer Smiecinski


I remember being a young girl and my mom taking me to swimming lessons. I went for a week to learn to swim with a group of other kids who were all very eager to climb the high-dive.

I remember them begging the instructor to let them jump. Finally, the instructor gave in and said, “At the end of the week, if all of you have done a good job, you can jump.”

Everyone was so excited- except me. On the last day of lessons, as promised, the instructor allowed us to climb the high dive to make that jump. One by one, all of the kids climbed to the top…. 1-2-3… SPLASH! It was finally my turn… I reluctantly climbed to the top and stood there. I looked down and saw my mom waving to me… the instructor was in the pool coaxing me to jump… I looked around a little more… then turned around and climbed down the ladder.

There would be no jumping for me. 

I am nearing completion of a year-long Yoga Teacher Training program through Greenville Yoga with Brian and Liz Delaney. The year consists of one weekend a month in Greenville to practice breathing, asana (Yoga poses), learn anatomy, and learn about meditation. In addition, there is required reading each month and a few hours each training weekend are spent discussing our reading assignment. 

I spent our October training weekend sidelined on the couch recovering from an illness. I was able to sit down with my books and dive in. I found the book I was reading was leading me on a quest for more information and more and more… After a few hours of the tailspin, I didn’t have clear answer for what I was searching for and just had more questions. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I emailed Liz and basically said, “There is so much to know- where do I start?” 

While I was waiting for Liz to answer, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that the answer about what I NEED is right here… in me. While there *IS* so much to know, in order to be truly content, I need to learn to trust myself in order to know where to begin. Yes- I want it all of that priceless information NOW but that is unrealistic. Instead of spinning my wheels and getting nowhere fast, I must figure out what I need for that day or that moment. 

During this teacher training, I have learned so much more than I ever began to imagine. I started to uncover the real me… the one that had been suppressed for many years.  I began to see  how I am driven by fear, how I don’t trust my intuition, and how I keep replaying the same story-line over and over in my head.  I always wondered why I would get so far into a book or meditation and either stop or get “busy” and not finish. At first I thought I may have ADD but now I know I was just afraid that the words on the page would touch that sensitive place inside that I had not allowed myself to feel in many years. By deepening my practice and study, I began to see that there is much work to be done on the INSIDE.

In order to find true contentment, I need to find the courage to work through the “un-shiny stuff” so I can face the person in the mirror, the REAL me, and be proud of the person I am becoming- I believe this will make me the most content I could ever possibly be. 

So- here I am standing on the high-dive again… only this time, I am jumping... 

Jennifer Smiecinski currently teaches yoga in Greenwood, SC. She will finish her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Greenville Yoga in March 2012. She loves spending time with her husband and children, eating good food, and listening to live music. She also loves hiking, running, and photography. She can be contacted at