Late to Class: On Vulnerability and Rush Hour Traffic in the Magic City

This time tomorrow,
What will we know?
Will we still be here
Watching an in-flight movie show?
(The Kinks)

I finally gave in to headphones this morning as the neighboring CrossFit gym played Eminem, the choice lyrics reverberating into my tiny office at Imagine Artisans. Somehow in the time I’ve been here, Jeff and I have totally neglected to buy light bulbs, and thus, I work with the door open, music pouring in. So with The Kinks piping into my head, I started writing letters to a few friends, decorating each envelope, adding a stamp and leaving them in the mailbox to be picked up.

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The Epple Seed Arts tap tap… pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Before I moved to Florida, Jeff and I talked on the phone for at least an hour every day. I think our friends in Chattanooga and Miami kind of teased us: around 9 p.m. every time, it was time to talk to Jeff. We’d talk about our days, talk about our plans, work, emotions, challenges, struggles. Anyone who’s attempted a long-distance relationship knows the effort and attachment that can happen from phone conversations with a lover or loved one. And the dialogue progressed, from the time I mentioned that I might like to move to Miami, to Jeff trying to convince me to move earlier, to planning his trips to Chattanooga.

One conversation stands out to me, though. After a long day of work, I recall being frustrated about not having time to write. This was a few months in to teacher training, and my journaling and meditation was starting to bring up big issues. Every morning I would meditate and spend too much time writing (and blogging, usually), making myself almost late to work, running out the door with my bike.

“You know, I would love to wake up every day, have breakfast, drink tea, do yoga and write. That would be the ideal morning routine,” I told Jeff during one of our nightly talk. “I want to have time and space to write and reflect.”

****
My yoga classes are beginning to pick up in Miami. Hayley at Brawling Buddha asked me to teach a Tuesday night class in Cutler Bay. I agreed, and spent yesterday afternoon preparing a play list, sequence and the right state of mind. I was going to teach a class to new students, in a new area of town at a martial arts studio I knew nothing about. I programmed the full address in Google maps, checked it twice, took a quick shower and said goodbye to Jeff.

23 minutes down US 1 with heavy traffic? I’ve got this, I thought, as I fired up the Mercedes and rumbled into traffic, a mainstay of getting around Miami, especially during rush hour no matter what quadrants you’re navigating.

As the car crawled to a halt in bumper-to-bumper traffic and I noticed the road blocked ahead by two police cars, Jeff’s parting words came to mind: “Don’t stress about traffic. There’s nothing you can do about it.” I checked my map, took a right turn and ventured out on an alternate route to what I thought was the studio. As I found myself circling through a neighborhood in the area that Google maps indicated as my final destination, my chest tightened. It was 6:53, and the class, my very first class, was schedule to begin at 7.

Shit.

****
During teacher training, Jessica, my yoga guide through the certification process, always warned us to be cautious and mindful of what we wished for. “It’ll start coming true,” she’d say, linking our increased intuition and openness to intentions becoming reality.

I guess I believed her at the time. But now I realize my heart knew all along that her words were true. The intentions and seeds I was planting, to move south, to balance my writing and editing skills with bringing yoga to people, were slowly beginning to blossom.

****
I pulled over on the side of the road and stopped. It was 7 p.m., I was lost, and I didn’t have the number for the studio or name of my contact. After a few frantic phone calls and nearly losing my cool, I got in touch with Jimmy at Brawling Buddha who set me in the right direction. I then got a call from the very nice studio owner, who reassured me I was on the right road and was only 5 minutes away. Somehow I recovered, pulled in the parking lot and made it to the studio.

I thanked the class for their patience, telling them I was not only new to Miami, but I was new to Miami traffic and driving. I taught a 45-minute class that looked nothing like my original plan, and I surprised myself. The words and instruction coming out of my mouth, from my heart, were spoken with confidence. Holy shit… it’s like I know what I’m talking about. It’s like I’m a yoga instructor or something!

When I finally made it back home (on a much different, direct route), I got a cold beer from the fridge and sat in on the last 15 minutes of Jeff’s pottery class. I was quiet and calm. Afterwards, he asked me what was on my mind, as I was clearly holding on to something.

I got emotional, and quiet still. Despite my class going well after the adventure to arrive, so much of what I’ve accomplished in Miami has made me realize how totally vulnerable I feel, and how challenging it can be to stay that open and be ready for new people, new experiences and new opportunities. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone, whether it’s a new city or studio or group of friends, and putting your skills and reputation and heart on the line is hard.

****
I woke up this morning feeling fresh. It’s been raining on and off, beautiful storm clouds coming and going overhead. After breakfast with Jeff, I prepared my mate, gourd and thermo of water, Cordobese style, no sugar. I sat down at my small desk, wrote a few letters to dear friends, and then let the words flow.

The intention I set months ago has come to fruition. It certainly brought other challenges that I never could have anticipated, but they’re healthy challenges. It’s healthy to grow and change and be vulnerable, especially when I’m following my heart and aspiring to bring yoga, breath and movement to people.

So here I am, in the daily routine I used to dream about, with time to write, reflect and grow. While it’s important to acknowledge the past and changes, it’s equally important to be present, to be grateful for this moment, and to continue setting intentions… because unlike the standstill rush hour traffic of the Magic City, life and everything around us continues to flow, to move and to grow. Accept it, love it, and keep your chin up.

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One thought on “Late to Class: On Vulnerability and Rush Hour Traffic in the Magic City

  1. I race my children to awake early enough for quiet coffee, writing, and now workout time. I’m so glad you found your morning peace… it’s so essential to me!

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