"Around 2007 I reached a point in my life where I could comfortably state that I am a teacher. That what I have to say matters to others. One would think that having my name on 2 books and 3 TEDx talks would be convincing enough, but to the contrary, it took a very long time for me to embrace that part of myself. And that part of me didn’t have so much to do with accomplishments in the present, because it was my inner child who refused to believe that he was worthy of being seen and loved.
I remember much of my childhood in detail, and what stands out the most is feeling like I was the odd one out, the weird one and I experienced deep loneliness because of it. From the age of 14 I was already reading philosophical and spiritual books, trying to make sense of life. Unusually tall for my age and my athletic appearance didn’t resemble my inner world, making me feel like a 19th century philosopher in a Tarzan-like body. It was hard connecting with my peers and friendships never felt satisfying on a deeper level. I wasn’t understood by my friends nor by my family who treated me very harshly for not meeting their expectations. This planted a tenacious seed of low self-esteem, a nearly complete absence of trust in myself and the belief that I was unlovable for who I really am.
Fast forward a few years: after a career as a lead singer in my own band, and then a screenwriter, I was 38 when I took the first step on my path as a yoga teacher. Pushed into it by friends I was still very insecure as I taught my first few classes. I’ve come a long way since then as a speaker and teacher and I credit this to the inner work I have done. I eventually realized that if I didn’t heal the boy inside me that still felt unloved and unworthy, I was never going to be able to step into my light and fully take up my space in this world. Through breathing techniques, meditation, inspiring spiritual teachers and writing, I reconnected with my inner child and learned how to give him the love and understanding that he so desperately needed.
Now I have found my voice. From feeling like an odd and insignificant loner, I have found the teacher, leader, and the storyteller in me. Sharing my personal stories with people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds creates understanding and connection. Ultimately, we’re not that different from each other and I believe that when we learn to understand one another, we learn to understand ourselves. We are all teachers in our own way, and we all matter."