It’s Springtime. Time for things to bloom, change and grow again. For those who don’t know, I made a major career change just recently. It was quite scary but I was once again so glad to be able to witness the various feelings that were going during that time to make the best choice for me. Sometimes we hold onto stories and start to adapt them even while they are happening; trying to mold it into the story we want to share later. When we learn to stop there, pause, we can clean up and bloom into something even grander than we imagined.
For years I was an accountant. I put myself through college, paid for it and got my CPA. Not because I loved it but because the thought process was normal for me and I always felt it would give me a great base to anything I did in life. I never thought I would be doing it for 15 years but I did. My problem was what to do next. I found myself recruiting and enjoying helping others in their career paths. But still something was missing. The feeling of helping others quickly passed as what you did yesterday didn’t matter so much as what you do next. It drains the energy to live each moment that way. Never for once just enjoying the moment. Always worried about tomorrow.
Then I had a major life event with my stroke a couple years ago. Wow did I try hard to get back to the person I knew. I hid it away knowing that others didn’t want to know the reality that we all are changing but sometimes those moments spring up on us much faster than we expected. I went back to work part time in the office but still kept going at home; so still working full time. The pressure of my work had me concerned every moment. Even in the hospital I kept going and made a job offer happen; never letting the people involved know where I was calling from. I”m a hard worker and for me work is all I’ve ever done. I’m not complaining; it is just knowing myself. But the balance was off and I knew it but didn’t quite know how to change it.
I slowly started returning to work but still making it a full day was hard. The drive was over an hour just one direction and my right eye still has problems to this day, that I can’t seem to figure out the causes. Some days it is fine but others it is blurry, dry and irritated. Stress is definitely a factor and I need to stop, rest and meditate. The numbness started to go away on my right side of my face though and pushing myself seemed to help. After a few months though I was told that if I couldn’t come back full time to the office I would be let go. There were so many feelings with this. A feeling of sadness, shock and hurt as anyone feels being told they may be let go. Underneath was anger for the lack of support and understanding. Along with all this was a place that knew what would make me happy. I just didn’t know how to get to it.
So instead I went my old comfortable way. I returned back to the office and pushed past the moment. Now looking back maybe I should have taken disability from the start. It just didn’t occur to me and unfortunately management didn’t mention it as an option either. Instead of focusing on my health I went on pretending. I tried going to networking events but standing with heals on carpet was suddenly so hard and foreign to me. I went to Kaiser once a week for blood work as I still struggled to get my blood at the levels they wanted on the thinner medication. I spent my time really trying to please so many; doctors, bosses, family.
I found myself introduced to Sara, an owner at Mind The Mat and the moment she and I sat down to talk there was something about her that is a reflection of the studio. I told her that for years I have thought about my next step to take with teacher education and wasn’t sure what to do. She mentioned Kripalu. I knew of it and saw the ads in the Yoga Journal but really didn’t know much about them. So I went home and researched. The moment I went to their webpage and read the story, mission and message I knew that it was right. So long story short I applied for the 500 hour teacher training and was accepted. I started teaching at Mind The Mat and signed up for my first two modules in 2014. I had over 6 months till I went there, so I thought I would be much better physically by then. I just needed a goal – or so I thought. Later on I had a procedure to check the blood-flow of my neck; just about 4 weeks before I went to Kripalu. A thin needle inserted into the groin gave me a longer recovery than I had expected. My leg would get tired out just from climbing one flight of steps. So I considered canceling my training. I went to it and discovered that just like the first Yoga Sutra “Now I practice my yoga”, I have to do this “Now” just as I am. Injured and hurt I come to my practice just as I am. Face it and let go of my resistance to the change. The journey of getting to that place was a struggle that I’ve written about. Yet underneath it was a wonderful place of love, friendship and strength. I met Megan, the other owner at Mind The Mat,and shared with her my health story and she told me she had heard about it but didn’t realize it was me. To my surprise she and Sara didn’t make me feel ashamed or embarrassed. Instead they made me feel strong and appreciated.
All the amazing people and environment at Kripalu and Mind The Mat helped me to return to my life including my recruiting work. I was getting stronger and better for sure. When I returned for the next module I did some even deeper digging and insight. Cleaning out the feelings there which included a lot of crying. We were asked what do we think holds us back from change and I quickly raised my hand to say “Fear”. I shared that I knew exactly what it was and that I also understood that it wasn’t real. We can be stuck in the fear though, of the unknown, that no amount of logic will help us. I kept telling myself to stop worrying – everything has always been ok – but then start to freak out again.
Still I wrote, meditated and shared with my closest friends. Waiting for a sign of which way to go. Then I got an email one evening from Laura at Mind The Mat . Really wasn’t expecting it but they were looking for someone to be their Director of Operations in a role I knew I could do quite well. They wanted to add to the existing role; someone to handle payroll and other items that I knew my former accounting background would be great at. I found myself typing up my resume, something I hadn’t done in a long time, and sending it. I talked with my husband and we both just agreed lets just see. In fact, that became my mantra “lets just see”. So I went a few times to meet, discuss and hear more. Each time coming back to bring information, processing and talking with my husband. Which way to go? “Lets just see”. One night at 1am we both were up, worried, thinking and suddenly I had clarity. I was still trying to please everyone. Could I work part-time recruiting to help them? What about insurance, retirement and what if this didn’t work? I pushed all that out of my way to get to the center of the issue.
When I left the last meeting with Mind The Mat I felt so ready and knew that if it was meant to be it would be. I was still scared but not afraid. I quickly wrote a meditation teacher I know and trust, Jonathan Foust. I listen to his Podcasts and meditate to his messages. I was trying to make a decision and instead of talking to others, I trusted myself.
So I left my job in recruiting and it was quite a peaceful process of saying good-bye and so many people I worked with were wonderful and reached out to me to wish me well. I quickly started my new role and took my own advice that for the first month don’t try to overdo other areas in your life. Go to work, go home, eat go to sleep. Find the balance. For the first month there was so much and Jonathan gave me great advice there as well. He said that when you are someone who is very organized and finds great pleasure in doing this, it can go overboard. So be aware of this. Know when to pull it back and find other things to be healthy.
I have been in the new role for just over a month and it wasn’t till I was there one month to the day that I finally felt some peace with it. Started to feel parts become quite my own. I no longer had to look up how to process something and I know what has to be done today vs can wait till tomorrow. Things that had to be cleaned or set-up are done and now just maintained. I’m getting ready to go to Kripalu again for my next couple modules and also graduate in June. The management where I’m at has already started preparing for me to be gone and they see the value of having time off and how each of us needs this daily. It allows us to come back even stronger and healthier this way. It doesn’t make us weaker and we need to put the phones, computer and electronics away. Even breaks from our Yoga Practice or style are so healthy. I can’t wait to practice Sadhana twice a day at Kripalu. This style will be lead for a brief period and then you just move on your own. Or don’t move – do what you need. But you start exploring and move away from being like everyone else and get into a place from within where you pay attention and listen. We end meditating and writing. For many being that aware and mindful is difficult. We interpret our thoughts into a kind of reality. We fight and resist. The Buddha talked about the 5 Hindrances – thoughts or feelings that will always hold us back from happiness. Even working at a Yoga Studio I am still faced with seeing those Hindrances. Someone is bound to blame, judge, doubt, be restless or bitter. My practice though has helped me pause in it more and be in an environment that is healthier for me right now.
I believe I finally let go and although I knew what was right it was letting go into my Dharma, my calling that has brought me happiness. Right now I am trying out what is called the Butterfly Effect. One butterfly can cause a reaction to the wind with its movement and it can be felt from quite a distance; even the cause for wind storms. My new role has a mix of responsibilities from cleaning, sweeping, checking in students, maintenance to payroll, managing staff issues, processing charity auctions and management meetings. No role is better than the other and all are needed. Nothing is beneath me. I do so with a smile. I am hoping that one persons actions can inspire others without forcing it, making rules or dictating it.
As some students want to pass by the desk and rush up to class, I’m hopefully getting them to see the value in not running all the time; stop, check-in, say good-morning or evening. Ask someone how they are doing. Even if you never see them again. Teachers too. We can each go about our day making this part of our yoga too. Instead of just getting your coffee, thank the person so much and wish them a great day. If you see some trash you pick it up and throw it away. Look at someones eyes when they are talking to you, listen and don’t respond. Just smile.
We can each experience the Butterfly Effect if we just lived in the moment right now. Pealing away the emotions to get to the center – funny enough though the physical center is our heart. A place often referred too for feelings, emotions and love. We guard it because it has been hurt but as we start to let go of that fear we can let in some of that love and give it to others as well.
May you have a wonderful day and if someone hasn’t told you yet – you are amazing!