Where were we? Oh right. I was about to get super-vulnerable. (Hence the picture where I am, well, vulnerable. --
(click HERE for recap)
but I want to add that I was also safe at the time of that picture. And despite how I might feel, I always am.)
Back to the NOW. To the confession.To the vulnerability.
Since the summer of 2020, I have been a full-time college student again, seeking my 2nd bachelor’s degree, this time in Foreign Languages (and teacher certification---tacked that on a year into the program. Wasn’t sure at first). Primarily French, with a minor in Italian studies, and a certificate in Spanish (just a bit shy of a minor). There is hope of graduating some time in 2024, and pursuing a Master’s degree afterwards.
What will I do then?
On any given day it is a toss-up between teaching one or all of those languages State-side K-12, or teaching at the Collegiate level (trickier/variable/not great pay for a long time), or teaching English abroad in a country whose language I have studied…
or teaching yoga abroad in a country whose language I have studied.
Yep. See, since the Summer of 2020, I have also been working from home as an ESL teacher, with a particular company (probably not the one you have heard of the most), that paid well (aka, paid the best in the ESL industry) and required a LOT of commitment (but I liked it for the most part and did what I had to do).
Due to changes in regulations overseas, teaching for that company is no longer an option. I have been picking up small things here and there this semester and putting in applications other places. As for yoga, I never fully stopped.
That part of my life didn’t just go away-
(which, not surprising, really, since I have been teaching since 2003, and in all of that time, there was only one break in teaching that was longer than say, 2 weeks. One year, I think it was. In 17 years. It’s ingrained in me…
but that is also probably why I was so tired?)
In fact, after the start of the Pandemic, Spring & Summer of 2020, I led multiple online yoga classes and mediation tutorials. I still taught a few classes for other studios in the later summer of 2020 when things began opening back up, and I led a small, private yoga and paddleboard retreat. I still taught by appointment on occasion. But, I was able to let the day-to-day, running-a-business have-to list go for awhile, and really, I had no choice. I was in school! I have a lot of homework—and often, in 3 different languages. I still practiced yoga, but not quite as much…
and my body felt it. Especially since I was now sitting a lot more!
Even with a sit-stand desk, there was much less mobility going on.
I have always said to my students and my yoga teacher trainees that my injuries (from my life as a professional singer-dancer and as a yoga teacher) have been my best teachers.
Now I could add more life experience injuries to the list.
It wasn’t the first time, mind you. I worked in a steady office job for 1.5 years after a few stressful years of variable job situations and ended up with some crazy pelvic alignment issues and adrenal burnout in 2017.
THAT taught me a lot, too, and was a part of what led me to leading my first 2 yoga teacher trainings…but I digress. The point is:
I had to step back, or away, in order to step forward.
I am going to jump to the end for just a second, and then come back to fill in the gap--
I am currently considering leading my 3rd yoga teacher training this Summer, in 2022.
I am feeling vulnerable, scared, and excited about it.
I have learned so much since 2020, in multiple layers.
-My stiffness, my injuries, my “oh my gosh where did my strength and flexibility go?!?” moments have taught me more compassion towards myself and others, and I had a fair amount before—
but there is always room for MORE. (!)
-My experience as a full-time student again has brought home to me so much again about balancing life (as if that had been easy before. It was NOT. But it was even more challening now)—
balancing schoolwork, housework, family time, work-work…and oh yeah…a little thing called self-care?
So, my sense of Grace and compassion for others who are balancing things---but holding to good expectations, not as a cop-out--, is MORE.
-My actual education in regards to being a teacher and how to be a teacher, and what kind of teacher I appreciate the most, has brought new revelations as well as old ones (that I had forgotten or stuffed down momentarily based on someone else’s expectation or example that wasn’t really me)…
Well—that also makes me a better teacher now than I have ever been.
I mean, here’s the deal:
I have made mistakes as a yoga teacher.
I have made mistakes as a business owner.
I have made mistakes as a yoga teacher trainer (lead teacher of a yoga teacher training),
I have had heavy, big regrets over some of those mistakes, that honestly, broke my heart a little.
Others would have said, “that’s not a big deal”…
but to me, it was.
Because if it meant I let someone else down, or even hurt them somehow, it hurt.
(But know that I am not talking about any kind of co-dependent behavior, and that I DO know that there are times when the issue lies solely with the other person, and not with me. Yes, that does happen. It took me 40 years to learn that one, but I finally did. And it might not make another person happy that they cannot manipulate me, but…that’s their journey.)
But I have learned from these mistakes. They are not a waste.
And all of THAT…
THAT will be to the benefit of my next group of students, both in regular yoga classes or as yoga teacher trainees, as Wellness clients or students that I tutor.
None of it is a waste.
And I would so love to see how much more love and aid I can share because of them. And THAT makes me excited. To be able to bring more to the table and honor others even better. Well, that and the fact that I feel more like me again… I said I would take you back for a sec?
Here it is:
Since about the Fall of 2021, I have been feeling the tug in my heart that maybe I “should” be teaching yoga again. Now, I had taught a few times since the fall 2020, mostly in volunteer scenarios even, but for the most part, I was just letting myself receive my own practice when I could…
which was a lot less than it used to be.
But starting in the Fall of 2021, I started feeling that tug. I would question it, pray about it, and feel a peace that I needed to wait. The time would come, but for now, I needed to still just receive and take in.
A few things happened in December of 2021 that became a catalyst for movement…
and in January, I began teaching by livestream.
Less than originally anticipated, as I turned down an opportunity that would have been good income but with questionable ethics (on the part of the other party), but still, I was doing it.
I wasn’t waiting for the perfect time.
And I had a wellness client again.
I still continue to vacillate about whether or not I should teach regularly in-person with my mobile studio, or to offer to sub in other yoga studios—loving the idea and missing the people, but being afraid of letting people down because my schedule is so variable when it comes to what I can commit to currently, and I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew (or become my worst self if I do).
And I started doing some things in the yoga community again, both online and in-person.
And it felt like me again.
In so many ways, I was beginning to re-connect to a part of my spirit that had been a bit dormant…
still there, but really, really needing a rest.
And in so doing, at some point I thought…
maybe I could lead a yoga teacher training again?
And as always,
not just for future yoga teachers,
but for people just desiring a deeper connection with their practice,
and above all, with God?
Maybe the lessons that I have learned in the last-almost-two-years really have made a richer offering possible—
not that the previous one was lacking, but…
we all grow and change.
And God equips us according to what He has planned next.
His timing is perfect.
So maybe…maybe it is for such a time as THIS, that I have felt wrung out and faced scary things, and have seen how it could be to balance the self-care part of my life with the rest of the CRAZY, in order to help others do the same—
whether they just do it for themselves as part of God’s journey for them,
or because they are also being called to serve others somehow? And maybe one day I will be teaching yoga in a far flung location, in a language other than English, because God has called me…
Who knows? God does.
I just need to stick close to Him and let Him shepherd me.
Compass me about by loving-kindness and mercy. Chase after me with goodness and love. (Psalm 23)
But in the meantime, I confess, I feel fear. I am vulnerable.
What if I don’t have enough of a social media presence anymore?
(I purposely let that slide for peace reasons. And now, it means I have to ramp up and start sharing posts where I am at the forefont. Bleh. At least I can hope that God’s light shines through and people can see my heart—not just my pose!)
What if no one even remembers that I used to do this all of the time, and that some folks even thought I was good at it?
(I can always critique myself, fyi…but I do that in ANY job I do. I am “great” at impostor syndrome… but thank goodness, God’s light shines through this cracked vessel…and that is part of the point! More on that later in another post…)
What if not enough people are interested in taking yoga classes centered in Christian principles, or neutral-inspiration yoga classes with me…
let alone a yoga teacher training?
What if they all think they have to become teachers and miss the part about it being a way of deepening their practice, or their connection to themselves, and to the Holy Spirit
(and they don’t have to become teachers unless they want to)?
What if, what if, what if?
What if I let fear stop me …
from doing something that could be used to help others,
stop me from doing something I was created to do,
stop me from doing something that gives God glory?
Let it not be said that I let fear stop me.
I don’t know what the future holds.
I could write a blog next week that says, “hey guys! I am gonna manage a yoga studio in Belgium!” or a McDonald’s. Or teach English in Costa Rica. Or manage an animal shelter in Bali.
just one that talks about balancing homework and credit card statements. I don’t know. But, I can tell you with confidence---not arrogance, just confidence-- that I have a heart for the Lord, and whatever He wants me to do. Let it be unto me as He has said. The handmaiden of the Lord.
(not comparing myself to that royalty in any sense other than a heart for Him--Luke 1:38) I want to serve however He asks.
Cracked Vessel of Clay, but molded by Him.
Light shining through the cracks (and there are plenty of them!) Will you pray for me, as I consider these endeavors?
And will you pray for those God is calling for me to serve?
Thank you, from the bottom of my deep, empathic-too-much-sometimes heart.
I am praying for all who read this.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. May the God of more than enough bless you all with far more than you can ever ask, think, or imagine, by His power at work within YOU (because you are a part of the process! Ephesians 3:20)
Ps…If you would like to help in a practical way beyond prayer—which is MIGHTY—
Feel free to check out this page