I am a misfit. We are all misfits. I never fit in. I didn’t fit in at school or after. The classic round peg in a square hole. I was the kid with the undiagnosed dyslexia, which was not as popular then, as it is now. I remember one day in 4th grade being dragged into the Principal’s office, kicking and screaming (inside my head, of course), and being told that they thought I belonged in a different class – The non-English speaking class. Still, they kept up better than me. The humiliation, anxiety and self-doubt that this caused me, in retrospect, may have been a meaningful moment for me to seek for a better way to live. I spent much of the first part of my life feeling like I was juggling between two lenses – one from the undiscovered part of myself that I instinctively knew was there, and the other being who I thought I was and mostly informed by what I perceived others expected me to be.
The start of my journey included some traditional and not so traditional routes. I was born into a classic New York Italian family in the 70’s, my family got really ‘Catholic’ at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the time we bluffed our way through the common maze of morality and ethics. None of this made the slightest bit of difference to me as I navigated through the trials and tribulations of everyday teenage life. Suffice it to say, I did not feel particularly well equipped to deal with the larger questions that were unfolding as my father suddenly passed away and than, two-weeks later…I contracting spinal meningitis. Three years later, I emerged from this peculiar rabbit hole of adversity and subsequent drug addiction, just in time to use my career as a rock singer to visit briefly with my undiscovered self every night on stage, only to step off, back into the matrix.
My dad was a highly respected drummer who played on over 14,000 songs. While raising my three sisters and I, he was also raising my half Jewish Mom. Dad was a huge influence on me, modeling a form of ‘freedom through focus’. He was a taskmaster but he promoted mastery through the process of being forced to focus, which was a delicious form of freedom – freedom from distraction. This independence of focus was to play a key role in my journey, which continues to this day.
This entire curriculum of life cannonballed me into becoming deeply involved with what is known in our culture as ‘the teachings of Yoga’. While immersing myself in the Western interpretation, I found myself in a metaphorical version of my 4th grade experience with the misfit rearing its ugly head once again because of the seemingly unanswered questions. And then, I found my teacher.
It’s funny how life-changing moments can come disguised in the most banal of circumstances. I had just finished an asana class and I was feeling pretty good about my newfound ability to get my right leg over my head. One step closer to sticking my head up my own ass. If only THAT alone was a guaranteed route to ‘enlightenment’. But, sadly, for me, it was not. My yoga partner, who back in the day I may have called – a ‘woo-woo, positive-thinker’, handed me a set of multi-colored CD’s. “Here, Katrina, I found these online and I thought you might be interested”. Reluctantly I played the first CD on the way home. It was Ram Dass, talking about the body as a spacesuit (we’ll talk about that later ;). I was spiritually ‘home’ within minutes.
I had initiated a dance with the witness, alongside the perpetrator.
The shift in my perception was profound. It felt like I was transitioning from having the perspective of an ant to that of an eagle. I discovered I could be the misfit and not be the misfit, simultaneously. A spiritual practice, yoga, eastern schools of thought may or may not be right for you but whatever you do, take action in a practice of some sort. We all share a feeling at one time or another that we don’t fit in. The misfit generates an invitation from within, to look within. I was just looking in the wrong place. Facing our inner misfit is an imperative in order for us to cultivate a relationship and to create a perception shift, internally. What is the misfit? A misfit has a deep, innate desire – whether we know it or not or can’t yet admit it – to belong, be accepted, be loved, be seen and heard. So many of us turn to self- deprecation, which separates us from everyone. Separation closes the heart. In the end, all the misfit wants is your self-love, acceptance and belonging, which kick-starts a conscious journey easing our suffering. This unites us all on the level playing field of ‘Being just Human’.
…About the writer, Katrina Chester…
Katrina’s “no-BS” approach draws her teachings from the belief that we all come from the same beautiful and sometimes broken place, and that together we can use certain methods to blast open the heart and propel our lives into the highest possible freedom. She has studied extensively, the messages of her primary teacher Ram Dass, as well as many others within philosophy, neuroscience, anatomy, psychology and movement, and she incorporates both Eastern and Western modalities in her transformational work designing it personally for others. Katrina’s site FunctionalYogaOnline.com