As a trained yoga teacher, my fulfillment used to settle out in a place, with words I detest hearing about in mainstream media—“on the mat.” For years, yoga has provided me solace and respite, through breath, sweat and movement, from my often-demanding career in the publishing and marketing industry. I felt relieved to show up in the studio, where I could be comfortable and myself in a room with four blank walls and soft lighting. I could create whatever I wanted in there, and that creative spirit and desire to share was what led me to pursue teacher training.
When I fell in love, quit my job and moved to South Florida, the walls of the studio, the compartments I had created in my life to “maximize efficiency and effectiveness,” as the saying goes, quickly fell apart. In new yoga classes, I felt like I only heard teachers spouting off the same song and dance, providing students a place to blow off steam and find peace away from their day-to-day lives. That used to resonate with me, a lot. In fact, it used to be my life, going to class six or seven days a week to get my internal fix.
But all of a sudden I didn’t need an escape from my job. When I transitioned from a full-time writing and editing job to what amounts to part-time writing and editing from our warehouse home, I became my job. I worked when and from where I wanted, and with the rest of my time, I rode my bike, followed new recipes in the kitchen and slowly started learning about ceramics and pottery. Consequently, I became somewhat frustrated with the yoga I found, or I could say created, in Miami. It suddenly seemed like too much of a Band-Aid for a much deeper cultural paradigm so prominent in the West.
Part of my partnership involves utilizing my writing and editing skills. No longer only putting these talents to use within the confines of work, getting paid and sitting in a stuffy office where I’m expected to sit for nearly 8 hours solid, I had a lot more creativity to explore. Whereas I once escaped work to use creativity to practice (and write about) yoga, now my creativity had created a space of its own. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to make myself write about Jeff’s pots and Epple Seed Arts’ Haitian artwork, and there are many inherent challenges that come with working and living with your partner. But when I write from my heart to tell other people about our mission, our goal, our drive to be transparent and authentic, it flows more naturally than any client-based material I’ve ever created. It comes across better than any message I tried to translate to students by directing them to move their bodies in a certain way.
Now, instead of the space I considered simultaneously comforting and stifling, working and playing and practicing and riding and GOING…constantly, the space I allow myself to create in is more open ended. It’s often accompanied by music from either the local jazz station or college radio station instead of Spotify playlists. Indeed, without wireless internet in our warehouse, most of my online “connectedness” comes in spurts. My work as a writer and editor is balanced just as much by my drive to think, contemplate, as well as put my doodling skills to work decorating pots of Jeff’s and helping out around the pottery studio. My yoga, on the other hand, comes and goes. I went to a class at the Y for the first time in weeks on Tuesday, and I experienced a yoga high that I hadn’t felt in well over four years, save for during teacher training when we practiced 4 hours a day. I’m rediscovering my body on its own, outside of the constricted element I once—and likely will again—inhabited.
There are days when I wake up angry and crying that we live in a warehouse and on a school bus, in a city that’s built for cars and driving and in a geographic setting that can be isolating and alienating. There are other days when I’m so charmed by the Magic City, it’s weird nooks and crannies, the lush fruits of the land, the calm and steady yet unpredictable and ever-present waves of the ocean, that I can’t imagine life anywhere else.
And that’s the point of this post and my writing. We all experience different settings, life situations and phases that come and go, like friends and wardrobes and apartments. What matters is that we allow ourselves the grace to live and learn from each moment no matter the happy highs or uncomfortable lows. That’s what it means to me to live each day fully, following the arc of my life that is unlike anyone else’s, unique and special to me, and to respect that each person is on his or her own path, doing as best she can.
Amen to that, sister.