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A Conversation with Seane Corn: Part Two

Magazine: ORIGIN
Issue 5




A Conversation with Seane Corn Part two

Maranda Pleasant: If we can get this message out in quantity to women, there's going to be mass revolution.  A personal revolution. Women are going to speak up.  We're going to use our voices. The sisterhood will start supporting itself again. When we isolate, we wither. We have to come together and support each other. When a woman raises her voice ... she's sometimes attacked rather than supported, so that's one thing that I love about you. I don't just see you, but I see this sisterhood actually supporting you.

Seane Corn: OffThe Mat is run by nine women now, and I rely on these women both on a personal level and on a professional level. They are so strong and so honest. They will not only call me up, but they call me out. And I need that. And they do it in a loving way. Not because they want to disempower me, but because they want me to be even more honest, and more real. And they expect the same from me, for them. I have never ever worked with a bunch of 112 women who are so smart and beautiful and so not afraid of their emotions and their truth-telling. Their emotions not being a part of the problem, it's being a part of their artistry. I'm so proud. I do have a very strong sisterhood behind me, which is amazing and I have never felt, in any of the people that I work with, that I can't be big enough, or beautiful enough. When I look hot they tell me. When I'm brilliant they tell me. When I'm sexy they tell me. And I do the same for them. When I'm being hysterically funny they're right there with me. Oh my god, that is the best feeling in the world when women stand up for each other, because we're so used to taking each other down. I feel like with them I can succeed and fail and they would be proud of me no matter what. My failure would not be like, "Oh good, I knew she wasn't all that." They'd be like, "Okay Seane, now let's move on. What did you learn?" That to me is the kind of sisterhood I want to be surrounded by and I feel so grateful that I do have that team.

MP: Thank you. I think, to be honest, that's the real revolution for me, and not to discredit men at all, but I feel like when women stand up and when we stand

"You know there's that saying, 'You're only as sick as your secrets.' And I don't have any secrets."

together, it's going to cause this ripple, tidal wave effect across the planet, that will shift everything. And I can only speak as a woman, but I'm noticing that there's this rising up and it's so crucial. I notice women around me who have been abused or have gone through something and it's almost impossible for them to cleanse and work through it if they can't even speak and acknowledge that it happened, because they're not even going to have each others' back. It doesn't feel safe. So I think that it's really important for this magazine to be a place where we can heal ourselves, and we can have good information and people speaking like this.

Seane Corn"I want to be part of the conversation that breaks any kind of shame. It's about empowerment. Life happens. Shit happens. It's about what you do with it, that's where the grace lies."

SC:  I love talking to you. You can ask me anything. There's really nothing that I wouldn't share ... you know there's that saying, "You're only as sick as your secrets." And I don't have any secrets.

MP: Beautiful. I feel like we've gotta get it clean.

SC: I'll talk about anything. I want to be part of the conversation that breaks any kind of shame. It's about empowerment. Life happens. Shit happens. It's about what do you do with it, that's where the grace lies.

MP: Thank you for not making yourself small. I want to get you talking more in our issues; you need to talk! And I'll have it typed!

SC: That's great because that is how I'm really most effective, I always feel like you know whenever they ask, whenever I go to a conference and the AV person is like, "Do you need space for an iPod or for musicians?" and I always just kind of point to my mouth, and I'm like "this is all I need." As long as I can just keep opening my mouth and speaking, I just tty to let the word come through. But when I write it down it always sounds a little bit more formal. And a little bit more careful. I was never comfortable with public speaking. I had to work on this ... It was more than a skill that I had to acquire. I mean, I always had strong thoughts and feelings, but I didn't really have t~e ability to effectively communicate in front of groups of people. I would actually get that kind of stage-frighty feeling, even when teaching yoga. I could walk in a room of a thousand people and as long as they were in downward dog I could teach them forever, but if more than five people looked directly at me, I would feel like everything on the periphery would black out a little and I would easily lose my train of thought, and I'd get very, very insecure. I just realized that this fear was really going to get in the way of me bemg effective as a teacher. So I used to practice having people looking at me and talking, and right away I would look down at the floor and then I'd force myself ... "Okay, come on, Seane, at least make eye contact with rwo people! That's all you have to do today." And then the next time five people. And then when I had to start making speeches, I would write them down. I would prepare them and I would just fret over it. And I dtought, "This is going to get in my way of being a really effective communicator, I need to be extemporaneous.''

"I JUSt real1 zed that this fear was really going to get 1n the way o f me being effective as a t eacher."

So one day I just put the script away and thought, ~You know what, if I £-ck up, I £-ck up. but at least I'm not going to get stuck in what's safe. I've gotta go towards it." And I opened my mouth and it just flew out of me. And it's been like that since, it's just something that I definitely had to work on.

MP: I can see why doing your personal work. .. you know ifl'm not doing my work and I'm not keeping that in check, and I open my mouth and I'm like, "Oh God."

SC: [Laughter] Yeah totally.

MP: So how does that affect you romantically?

Seane CornSC: Oh, with my partners I'm incredibly outspoken ... I would think I'd be a nightmare in a relationship. I'm the truth-teller ... I'm very confrontational in a relationship. Ifl even sense something is a little off, I wanna lay it all out. My partner, I'm very grateful for him. I've been with him for n years; he has a lot of self-confidence. And because he has so much self-confidence, he never has to diminish mine to feel good about himself. I Ie's always supportive and loving and excited for me, and never critical or judgmental. Again, with him, I can be 'too big' and he just thinks it's fabulous. But it has a lot to do with his own sense of well-being. He's not insecure like that. And as a result, I can be both really strong and really empowered and I can also be really fragile, and really whiny and it doesn't diminish who he thinks I am. He allows me space to be all aspects of what it is to be a woman, which is very complicated. I would think in a relationship I would, you know; . .I wouldn't date me, quite frankly.

MP: [Laughter]

SC: I'm committed. AI, my partner, wouldn't change a thing about me. Never. He wants me exactly the way I am. Whereas on the other side of it, I'm completely roo% committed to changing every single thing about AI, from the work that he does to the way that he communicates, to the way that he raises his kids. And he just looks at me and laughs. He says, "Of course you want to change me, you want to change the world, why would I be exempt? Give it your best shot." So he doesn't, he just knows it's my nature. Growth and change .. .! want to transform everything, so of course in my relationship I'm gonna be the same way. He just doesn't get affected by it. He just looks at me and if it's of value then he'll make the shift himself; but if not, he'lllet it go. He doesn't get all freaked out by my personality, he's actually very supportive. I feel very lucky that way. MP: If you find a clone, can you send him down to Austin please? SC: [Laughter} I'll let you know. .. "Oh, with my part ners I'm incredibly outspoken ... I would th ink I'd be a nightmare in a relat ionship. I'm the trut h-teller ... I'm very confrontational ·n a relationshrp. If I even sense something is a little off. I wanna lay it all out."

Sean Corn Bio picSeane Corn is one of the founders of Off the Mat. Into the World® (OTM) and is dedicated to bridging yoga and activism. Founded in 2007, OTM's mission is to use the power of yoga to insp1re conscious. sustamable act1vism and ignite grassroots soc1al change. Yoga is a powerful path of personal transformation. At its root. the word means 'union' - of mind. body and spirit. Yoga opens our hearts and expands our awareness of self, creating space for balance and deep change in our lives. OTM helps individuals take the path of yoga "off the mat and into the world.' expanding the sphere of change outward to local and global commun1t1es. We do this by facilitating personal empowerment through leadership tramings, fostering commun1ty collaboration, and initiating local and global service projects. WWW.OFFTHEMATINTOTHEWORLD.ORG