Sitting in my local cafe, The Little Shop of Plenty, I reflected – Beyond Being’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge was complete. It was as though the morning marked the start of a new story – I would usually call past Nature’s Harvest in the morning on my way to work after personal training or yoga. I was blessed with having the choice of how to start my morning – something that many do not have. Imagine having to go to work in a job that you did not enjoy? We all have bills to pay and goals to fund however, so many people do not dare to pursue the things that they really love. I was truly grateful for the life I created, having the choice – at least the courage – to pursue the things that I want.
It was difficult to believe that 30 days had past so quickly and that in two weeks, I would be in Italy. Yes Italy – my third trip for the year. It was an idea that resurfaced on day 7 of the challenge.
I had only returned to Perth earlier in 2017 – a strategic move to fuse my legal practice into my consulting work. Fascinating too, thinking about life’s twists and that so much of what I had today was a product of following my bliss – even though that could be challenging at times. In 2015, in between consulting projects, I joined a retreat in India where I met yogis – who became my friends, some who are still my teachers in yoga and life today. Following my illogical feelings of being drawn to a flyer in a cafe where I worked at the time, had opened my world personally and professionally in a way that I never imagined. I’d held onto that brochure for almost six months before I decided to join that retreat in India, only the day before it started!
And now, just over two years later, I was practicing with teachers I’d met on the retreat. It felt familiar and created a safe zone for me to BE. Yet the early days of the challenge brought up feelings of restlessness that I had been feeling since I returned from Milan in July. Where was I heading with my career? Who am I in the world? Am I following my path in Perth – and if so, how long would I keep walking? I had a strong sense of wanting to do a project overseas, create space to write, reinvent my brand – I had my heart set on a course in Luxury Brand Management since the beginning of the year and it would start in September – maybe the course would give me the space I required? For an unknown reason, I could no longer sit with my feelings, sit in my job.
I enjoyed my work and my team – I could sound my ideas, be myself – my Director, also a yoga teacher, seemed to understand my kind of crazy – I admired both him and his wife, (disclaimer, the owner of Beyond Being) where I followed teachers that resonated with my own personal journey – through their narration, their approach to practice, their music I seemed to reveal my own story. And maybe “my story” was exactly what I was letting go of during these thirty days. By day nine I had decided to go to Milano, day ten do a yoga teacher training in Milano, day twelve let go of a friendship that no longer served me. I applied to do a phD. I felt unstoppable. This seemed to reflect the crazy pace that I was living my life in Perth – between family, friends and maintaining my professional profile, health (diet, training and yoga) finding space for me, for my writing and my direction seemed both stifling and overwhelming. I was pushing myself on the mat to the point that I felt I no longer had energy or desire to practice!
I craved space to write, to contemplate and above all to BE. As I continued to push myself, I accepted that I needed to adapt my yoga practice if I was to survive the challenge. Push push push. I had to slow down. I recognised and started to cut back appointments and realised that the space I created would soon be filled with other activities – what caused this pattern of behaviour? The constant need to be in movement or flow. As though I was not progressing unless I was moving. I started to adjust my practice – less flow, more holding positions and while I did not apply this practice to my own life straight away – I recognised that something needed to change. I needed to start prioritizing: investing energy as though it was a financial investment – and not wasting it. Even when starting to make plans for Milano – I noticed my natural tendency to fill the space I was creating in the month ahead: before arriving!
It was not until the weeks leading to my departure, and days after the challenge, where I continued my daily yoga practice, I realised that my greatest lesson was to learn to sit with uncertainty, anxiety or stressful situations. I noticed after the challenge that when I was stressed or anxious – my tendency was to create / generate noise or business that would distract me from what I was actually feeling or what was triggering it – I would have to move, change something, – perhaps without actually dealing with the root cause, the feeling that stillness signifies not making progress – and we all know that in yoga, learning to breathe through discomfort (without causing ourselves harm) is where we experience the greatest growth or release.
Stay tuned for Part 2!