When I was a small girl, my grandmother used to tell me and my cousins stories about a gypsy wanderer named Tarankuku. Tarankuku very conveniently used my grandma's pantry as a passage way and occasionally came by to steal and eat children. The pantry was a dark and mysterious place for us children, full of weird, smelly items and forgotten kitchen gadgets, and whenever there was a sound in the house (or whenever my grandmother wanted us to shut up), she would tell us that Tarankuku is about to come by to steal us and we should better behave! And it worked :) Of course, there was an age limit of maybe 7-8 and by then we all knew the trick and even started using it on our younger cousins :)).

As I come to the beginning of my third week in YogaWorks yoga teacher training, I am discovering the Tarankukus, dusty kitchen gadgets, forgotten jams and a ton of other interesting stuff in my mind's pantry. At the end of class everyday, I find myself looking at everything differently, my conversations, my thoughts, my internal chats, the people I see on the street, the people I talk to, feelings, thoughts, plans, everything.

I notice how I judge people, how I sink into thoughts of self-critism, how my soul sinks as I sit in the couch and watch meaningless TV, how I look at myself in the mirror, how I get jealous sometimes. My struggles, my stories rise up in my chest. I see my limitations or the limitations that I created for myself. My spiraling down fears of future, fears of not being enough. My laziness, my dark side, my emotional flood gates. It's not all dusty demons, I see the love in me more clearly now. My fighting spirit, my quest for joy. I see my intention to be a better person. I see how my smile can light up a room. I see my journey in life, knowing it is a small step to wholeness every single day. A small step is all it takes to get to know me (and the me in others) better.

I am beginning to touch to a side of myself I never knew existed. A side that is more than ready to change, and is already changing me. I find an ease in my days. It is not a sparkly fireworks happiness but more content, more solid than that. It is a belief that I am good inside, capable, strong, loving and ready. Ready to take small steps.

I believed in Tarankuku for a long time (longer than I'd like to admit :), even now I find it hard to sleep with my closet doors open. The last time I was in my grandmother's house, I went into that pantry. It has been a while since she is gone but it still smells like her, a scent I can't describe but I know it's of her. It makes me cry every time since I'm reminded of how much I miss her. I'd like to think that she is watching me, and being proud of my transformation and maybe having a chat with Tarankuku occasionally over tea in her pantry :).


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