I’m sitting here, watching Layla chew on an ice-cube while thinking to myself, “how am I to going to get back out there?” I am happier than I’ve ever been, but I have been in a “doing-stuff” funk. Neil pretty much has to dangle a latte in front of me to get me out of our perfect koi-pond house. I haven’t done yoga every day since I moved; if I’m being honest, I’m at twice a week at best and that’s not my best. I haven’t read much. I haven’t written a thing in months. All this inaction seems level considering all I did for months was read and respond and write and move my body. In my mind, it’s much bigger than “I’m just taking a break,” which is what I mentally chalk it up to for fear of going crazy. This idea of a “break” has literally taken the shape and attitude of “I don’t know what I want to do,” a frightening thing for a person like me…which is why I’m sitting here, forcing out the words over cold brew.
Summer always seems to fly by, leaving a wake of enlightened newness and curious uncertainty behind it. Before the frying Louisiana heat hit, I was in an academic vortex swirling my way towards graduation and a summer that was full of promise. I’m not saying that I was disappointed in the season by any means. I think if anything, I was overwhelmed by it. Life turned in to a full-on heightened emotion marathon and once it slowed down, it left me feeling empty, reeling on the high. I finished college, completed the first of many yoga certifications, moved back to New Orleans, and most importantly, GOT ENGAGED TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! To say it was a lively summer would be an understatement, and to try to express my happiness with just words is honestly what’s been keeping this laptop at arm’s length. I feel like I can’t do any of these feelings justice.
But I’m here to try.
Graduating college is something I still can’t comprehend. I know it’s a common, every day occurrence, a totally ordinary something, but I feel so empowered by proving myself wrong so many times. Most of you reading this finished your undergrad in four years, give or take a semester or two. A handful of you were amazingly lucky to have college completely paid for by either scholarships, grants, parents, or grandparents; maybe you’re reading this, silently thanking your aunt or uncle for squirreling away $20 here and there so you could have gas money to commute. Maybe (hopefully) you’re still working towards your higher ed goals. (It is so worth it.) My personal college journey — financially and physically — was long and wild and I’ll certainly spare the details about all of that. Suffice it to say, it’s done and I can’t believe I did it. It was the one thing my father asked that I start and finish, and even though it took over a decade of major ups and downs, I DID IT. I actually removed this looming obstacle completely out of my way. I started to type “all on my own,” but that wouldn’t be the truth. While I did do all of the studying, cramming, testing and etc etc, I did NONE of this solo. I have had the most incredible support system over the last two years and it really changed the game for me.
I’m not sure how I managed to gloss over the fact that last year that I passed BOTH math classes required for my curriculum, but I did, and with a grade that didn’t kill my grade point average. (Seriously, how did I not write about passing math?) This was such a huge personal victory for me because mathematics has always been the thing standing in between me and undergraduate freedom. I know I’m not alone and if you’re reading this and suck at math too….PLEASE KEEP GOING. Listen to classical music and make up stupid songs to remember the formulas and BELIEVE IN YOUR MIND because it absolutely has the capacity to do whatever you want it to do. I absolutely knew in my heart and soul that I would have to set my dreams aside and find something else to study, because wrapping up college couldn’t happen without passing scores in Contemporary Math and Finite Mathematics. And I was wrong.
Fortunately for me, I had the squad of dreams in my life, and they weren’t willing to accept my defeat. They pushed me. They cheered me on. They listened to me cry, laugh hysterically at my failures (because without a sense of humor, what are we?), and loudly rejoiced with me when I succeeded.
They were for me, and these expressions of humanity will resonate with me for the rest of my life.
While I do love a good list, I’m afraid it’s impossible for me to “tag” everyone, but a LARGE thank-you must go out to those sweet, generous souls in Alexandria; y’all got me through the best and worst of it. It was hard for me to willingly swallow the bitter pill that was moving home, but I desperately needed to reorganize and reshape my life. “Relinquish control to gain it,” right?
On this soul-makeover journey I was fed, housed, listened to, hugged, praised, constructively criticized, and L O V E D. Through the good, the bad, the early mornings, the long nights, I was supported and uplifted over and over and over. I was caffeinated, stretched, enlightened, frustrated, and completely humbled at the ability of the people in my life to push me onward, even during times of emotional stress of their own. I am so beyond blessed (what a trite word for such an uplifted feeling) to have had two years with such a specific, growing experience, with so many beautiful souls who spend their lives being for others. The brilliant part? Most don’t even know they’re doing that.
I think there were three weeks in between finishing college and starting yoga school; not much of a gap when you’re busy getting ENGAGED!!! and celebrating with family, while also packing up to move to a new city as soon as the next thing is done. I didn’t have much time to process or decompress or whatever it is you do after you finish a lengthy academic journey. (Does it ever really end though?) I thought maybe I’d use my time in Ft. Worth, TX at Free Life People School of Yoga to do that. Decompression was not in the curriculum.
My soul has been so ignited and stirred by the things I observed and learned during the sixteen days I spent in school. I can imagine it’s why I’ve had such a hard time with my “break” from “normal” life, and I’m sure it’s why I managed to get behind this screen today. You see, during my studies at FLP we talked about/practiced how to actively take the seat of the observer and notice all. I think for the last month, during my state of inactivity, I have simply chosen to see. Perhaps, this morning was the morning it took seeing it for nearly the 40th time to say “okay, enough,” and I showed up for myself. Finally.
I didn’t feel the need to decompress at FLP because we spent our days in mindful movement and openness. I wish I could make that sound less flowery, but that’s how I feel about it and I very seriously doubt anyone in my class would disagree. While there were challenging days — and I mean days so physically and emotionally challenging we were all looking at each other like “She wants us to do what?!” — there wasn’t a day that I wasn’t willing to show up….because everyone else was showing up for me.
We spent at least half of our day, every day, teaching in small groups, offering feedback, coaching each other, leaning in and on one another. I will be the first to admit: there were moments I didn’t want to do it. We would rotate one person observing, one (or multiple) practicing, one teaching. There were moments when I didn’t think I could keep going. I was making excuses in my head about dehydration, my knees hurting, feeling hungry, and so on. I would feel an overwhelming urge to find a bottle of wine, crack it open right on my mat, and say, “TO HELL WITH THIS!” But I didn’t. I would do my best to survey the room and notice. And what did I see? Everyone, moving, sweating, and breathing…for someone else.
I won’t forget teaching my last class with my small group; Gwen was my assist, Katie was practicing for me. The day started with a REALLY tough practice 9am, so by the time 430pm rolled around on day sixteen, our brains and bodies were worn out. But Katie practiced her heart out for me. Gwen gave magical, delicious assists, and I somehow managed to find energy in my mind, body, and voice to deliver an honest class. We were all able to withstand and move through the soreness and mental exhaustion because someone had done the same for us.
Though I feel that I’m not doing my experience justice, I feel like I need to save some of that good, magical stuff for just me, to give my blissed-out state longevity and not diminish the entire thing by TRYING to convey what’s in my mind. What you should know, is whole idea of “being for others” was my biggest take away from school, though there were so many things that cracked my thought process wide open, forever changing the way I think and feel. I can’t even think about moving my body in the same way. I have felt myself gently soul-searching during my whirlwind summer and know that the only thing I need to focus on is serving others in any capacity I can, and the rest is sure to follow.
Here’s a little something we practiced at school that I’ve continued::
DUDE! I have missed my writing!! That felt so good! If y’all have any questions about yoga school, college, or whatever, please find me on social accounts or leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you!