Recently, my husband and I talked about if we were to move where would we move to? (Don’t worry mom if you are reading this, we aren’t moving) We started going over different cities. I am a beach person, and my husband is a mountain guy. There leaves about 5 cities/states that we agree on where we could live. Then, we started getting into a more serious conversation about it and what that would mean for our family? Would our kids be ok? Could we move away from our families? Would we be satisfied if we did move? Lots of questions! But what I said, is that no matter where we moved it wouldn’t matter because we would be together and happiness isn’t determined upon where you live but how you live in the place you reside.
See, it isn’t about moving at all. It’s the ability to let go of fear if you did move, it’s about letting go of judgment and trusting the process. Sounds hippy dippy right? I know it probably is-but I wouldn’t be saying it, if I didn’t believe it. When I was 19 years old, I decided I was going to pack up everything I had, put it on a plane, ship it to California and move there. Was I scared? A little. But I was young, and fearless, and didn’t care how it was going to turn out because I know I would be ok. I did move to California. I stayed for 5 years until I moved again. Yoga teaches us to be with our natural state of oneness. It allows us to be exactly as we are in the moment we are in, so if you take away the other stuff; job, house, money, etc. Then what are you left with you can be content with-even if that is a lot or a little.
If you are worried about how things are going to turn out, or if things are uncertain in your life, always come back to your breath. Breathe in the air that will clear your mind and find the place that will open your heart. Because your heart will lead you to that happy place of gratitude and compassion. And we all know “Home is where the heart is”.
I begin to write this while I am angry. Because what better way to get your feelings out- than on paper and try for some clarity on where the anger is coming?
It seems that since I have had children my biggest struggle has been finding balance in my roles-mother-wife-business owner-friend. I am one of those women that want to do it all. This gets me in trouble more then I would like. I over commit, I stress myself out, and then I wonder how I got there? Knowing I did this to myself.
My husband and I are constantly checking in with our calendars and trying to make our lives run as smoothly as we can. But sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes we feel like rock stars because of how well we are doing. So, where did the anger come from in the first place? I can now see that it comes from a place that is not my true self but from fear. Fear that I am not doing enough, or that I am failing in one way or another.
I’ve realized there isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. For me, I know I need to give myself more time to the roles of my life. But, I also know I will fall short in at least one of them every day. So how do we find the balance? I say YES a lot. I mean a lot. I need to say NO more. A lot of the struggle for me is saying yes to everything. If I don’t I feel guilty and then there’s this cycle. You know the one. Make space for yourself, this is when I truly find balance. Things are hectic in my mind and in my life when I don’t put myself first which for me is my yoga practice. So the best advice I can give- be willing to forgive yourself when you fall short, give yourself space to fail, tell yourself its ok. Take time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it and lastly, go to bed early and try again tomorrow.
When I decided to become a yoga teacher, I underestimated how difficult it would be to run my own yoga business. I teach a variety of group classes, private lessons, lead retreats, and teach workshops to try and earn a good enough living to help support my family, but after 5 years- I am a tad tired. That isn’t to say teaching full time can’t be done. I know of a lot people who do it and are successful, but if you ask them if it is easy, they will tell you no.
My joy of teaching is compromised with how much driving I do to get to a studio to teach a class or to a client’s home to teach a private lesson. My own yoga practice was my inspiration to become a teacher and it suffers because of how much I teach, and hours spent building my business. I’ve realized that balancing it all has been the most difficult, and what needs to change. This is not to say I want to stop teaching, because I do love it, and will continue to do it, and when I see the progress someone makes in their practice it brings me true happiness but I also know that I need to reevaluate.
A few months ago, I was co-leading a women’s retreat, and we practiced a writing exercise of asking tough questions but answering them with the first thing that came to mind. One of the questions was “Do you have any regrets in your life?” For me; I regretted not finishing college. Self-doubt is a bitch. When I dropped out of college, I told myself I wasn’t a good student or I just wasn’t smart enough. Until today.
When I went through my YTT I cried after my first training weekend and experienced the same self-doubt when I went to college. I feared I would fail, and I wasn’t good enough to be a yoga teacher. The difference between the two were that I was a bit older, and I understood that fear is an illusion that held me back from the dreams I wanted to create for myself. So, I kept going & I became a certified yoga teacher. I can say this illusion of fear is my driving factor to believe in myself more and to work a little bit harder and to finally go back to college. I follow my heart on most days which is driven by love, so why would I give up on that now?
Yoga teaches us to embrace each moment and stay present but it also teaches us to take action in our lives. I encourage all of you to do the same. If you’re feeling unsatisfied in your career or your life, ask yourself questions and reevaluate. C. Joy Bell C. says- “Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it."
Over the past several months, I have seen so many different opinions in regards to our presidential election. Some great, some not so great but what I said to myself after reading every op-ed article, Facebook post or comment on a social media website is- your feelings are valid. See, that’s the thing about feelings- we have them. There are 8 basic human emotions that we experience-joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation. There is some significant evidence to back this up, and I am sure you have experienced each one of these emotions. So imagine with me for a moment a time when you felt joyful, and then imagine a time when you felt sad. We all experience emotions and not at the same time. I think as humans that is where we find disconnect. When I experience joy, you could be experiencing sadness. What is important to remember is just because I am joyful and you are sad it doesn’t make your human experience wrong or less than mine. So if you stay in the present moment, take a breath(or maybe a few) and realize that we are all human that have emotions, you can find basic goodness, and understanding that there is good in all of us and your feelings and mine alike are valid.
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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