Farming, Yoga, and Home Runs

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My upbringing was busy, it was movement and doing. It was work and not so much rest. A typical lifestyle for farm living. My father was living out his dream and it’s a dream he continues to be proud of today.  In turn, I continue to admire his tenacity and dedication to what gives him life and fills his heart. My role as his oldest daughter taught me responsibility, discipline, and an appreciation for what our world in all of it’s purity could offer us. I took this power, energy, and drive into my own life. I had my babies, stayed home to raise them and found clever ways to save a dime here and there to make “my dream” a possibility. My dream at the time was to stay home with them, experience life with them through day trips, duck feeding, cookie baking, lazy afternoon book reading. I learned quickly that life in NJ on a single income was a tricky endeavor. Still, I made it work and haven’t regretted a moment. During my 11 years at home with my three oldest children, I continued to learn as I poured myself into Yoga training in every facet I could find. I refused to stop working on me and I refused to lose myself in the daily triumphs and struggles as a stay-at-home mom.  I was working towards a goal and not exactly sure where it was taking me. 

    In 2015, I was given the opportunity to open a Yoga studio with a friend. This was it! All I had been working toward became a reality. The time spent traveling to NY for children’s training, my time poured into my 200 hour training, the long weekends I spent in Lambertville, NJ for my prenatal training, my continued work towards my Yoga Therapy Degree, Reiki training, and various other certifications too many to list was all in preparation for this time. I was building a stock of knowledge that I trusted would be used some day. My work ethic as a 12 year old farm girl cleaning out horse stalls every afternoon and hours spent mowing lawns, weeding, and helping with hay bailing kicked in. Owning a yoga studio was my dream and it so perfectly became a reality. The people I met, the conversations I shared in a small Shore town yoga studio will forever be a treasure to me. The classes I taught came into being through the beautiful energies that walked through the doors of my little cocoon. It was a safe space and everything I envisioned it to be: a family, or in the yoga world, a “kula”. I planned workshops, taught classes, trained adult teachers, and even children teachers! It was work, but work I sincerely loved to do. And I sincerely hoped my members (my people) saw that. 

    However, life throws you curve balls and it wouldn’t be a fun ride if you didn’t embrace that. I made a choice, a very difficult choice to say goodbye to something I had wanted so badly for so long. But, after prayer, meditation, and long discussions with close friends I trusted, I embraced the reality of doing something I kept telling my students to practice. The message, “Learn when to let go and further yet, stand in the center of your circle and let all things take their course.” I cried, I grieved, and sometimes I still do. Above all, I felt peace and I knew greater and better things were coming to me and my former members. 

    When you hold too tightly to “your plan” and the way you think “your life” should be, you limit the greater possibilities ahead. You box yourself in, instead of embracing the unexpected curve balls thrown your way. But here’s the thing: with every curve ball and beyond every twist in the road lies oceans of treasure waiting for you to jump into the waves. Our heads (our ideas, our minds) can get in the way of further development of Self and what this world and other relationships have to offer. 

    Recently, I had the opportunity to spend three days at Kripalu Yoga Center amongst the Berkshire mountains of MA. I floated in and out of yoga classes and workshops, talked energy with strangers, lost myself in an amazing Yoga store, ate delicious and pure organic food and felt as though I was a normal human among “my” people. Every conversation I passed was yoga related. It was bliss and for a few days I felt like a fairy and not like a tired mom of five kids. Upon completion of a Yoga Dance class that was crazy fun, freeing, and a complete release on so many levels I ended up in conversation with a young 20-something (ironically) from the Jersey Shore. He was in his final days of his 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program. He was sharing with me his hopes of teaching, traveling and applying all that he was learning as soon as he got back home. Feeling like the older, 40 year-old, mentor-like woman he was talking to, I felt like I needed to share a message I wished someone had shared with me at his age. As much as I admired his work ethic and eagerness, ideas, and fire, I needed him to know one thing. That one thing is to allow life to find you. Allow the energies of this world and faith you have to bring you the unexpected opportunities that are perfect for the particular moment of the journey you are on. He interrupted with questions about moving forward, what to do, where to go, and how certain paths might look. My answer remained consistent: allow things to come to you and embrace the change with eager anticipation for the better that was right around the corner. He was getting it because I saw him take a deep breath and seemed to radiate a relief-type energy. He was beginning to understand in our short 7 min. conversation that his head and his human-ness didn’t need to figure out the answers. 

    So we can work hard on farms, work hard on every yoga certification under the sun, but we can also work hard on being brave and allowing life to shake us up a bit. Those curve balls are meant to help you!  Life sees you worthy and strong enough to embrace them and to have the courage to trust them. Yes, there will be melt-down moments of fear and worry, tears and questions. But look at those moments as mini chapters of self-work from the text book of your own personal life. 

    I’m not sure where I’m going, but since the passing on of my studio, I can earnestly say that the opportunities that have come my way would have never been found if I didn’t knock that curve ball out of the park!  It takes a strong person to trust the process and it takes a stronger person to have the faith to continue moving forward rather than fall back in comfortable patterns. I’m proud of my strength and the people who have supported me in it. You know who you are and you are deeply loved. From me to you: Namaste.