In less than a week I will be on my way back to the Hawaiian Islands, a place that felt strangely familiar to me from the moment I stepped off a plane in 2014. I stop and appreciate this life I get to live. How did I end up here, with this opportunity to do something I love in a place so magical? It’s not an easy question to answer. Many things in my life that seemed to go so wrong have led me to where I am. Upon reflection, those challenging situations had to happen to allow space for me to grow and have a desire for opportunities like this.
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
I should be packing.
I tend to shy away from using that word – should. It feels a little judgmental to me. Like what I am doing now is less important than what I “should” be doing. But honestly, I should be packing. Instead I am sitting on the floor in my mostly empty living room surrounded by my random belongings that need to be packed. Sometimes things happen in my life and an idea comes pouring out of me at the least convenient time. This is why my blog posts are sporadic. They are not forced or planned. They swirl around in my head for days, sometimes weeks until complete and coherent thoughts begin to form.
It is officially spring this week. Tuesday March 20th is the Spring Equinox. This season brings a visible change to the world around us. In Southern New Mexico the wind starts blowing and lasts for days at a time. It sweeps away all the sluggish energy of winter and prepares us for the warm days of summer. The trees begin to bloom, and flowers emerge from their winter rest.
It was a challenge to leave Hawaii and not know when I would return, if I would return. It is this challenge that has led me to procrastinate writing this last post in the Hawaii narrative. There will be more about Hawaii, but this post is significant in that it wraps up a journey that I was called to take for many reasons. This journey has helped shape not only who am I am as a yoga teacher, but who I am in my whole life.
Whoa! Sorry I have been away for so long. I am coming back! Promise.
I am incredibly honored to teach a Yin Yoga workshop at Blue Lotus Day Spay and Yoga Studio in Ruidoso next month! Sunday October 18th is the day. 2-4pm and early bird registration is happening now until October 11th for only $25 plus tax. Sign up here.
Yin Yoga is yoga designed to help stretch and rejuvenate the connective tissue in your body. It is a passive practice where seated or reclined poses are held for 2-5 minutes. It is a deeply therapeutic and meditative practice.
Check out the rest of my page. My friend with T.Rue Expression photography took some amazing pictures for a little website update.
I will be back with a full post later this week.
We interrupt the Hawaii series for a humbling human realization. People are reading this blog. Not just reading it but reaching out and letting me know how it affects them. Don’t worry, I will still write the last post in the Hawaii adventure.
left the Big Island in the summer of 2014 with the knowledge that I would return. I could leave it up to chance, or I could start working and planning. I chose the latter. I learned that I could be a Cloud Nine Intern at a basic 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Hawaiian Sanctuary in August. School starts in August and my new job followed a school calendar. I didn’t let that stop me. I worked and planned and made my way back to Hawaii on August 4th, 2015.
I had butterflies in my stomach, a feeling I had not felt in years. I was on my way to Hawaii, alone. Many people asked me, “Who are you going with?” I never thought it was strange to be going alone until other people brought it up.
I am back on the mainland and slowly reintegrating into daily life again. After some time for reflection, I have come to know that my two experiences in Hawaii were completely different. Before I can tell you more about my trip this summer, you need to know a little about my trip last summer.
What compels a person to fly off to Hawaii for three weeks to attend a 300 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher training? I can only speak for myself when I say… I don’t know. There wasn’t any specific event or thought that I can pinpoint as the moment that I decided I needed to go to Hawaii. It was pure chance that I even heard about the training. Cloud Nine Yoga School’s hub and concentration of school sites is located in Southern California. A friend from So Cal saw a post on Facebook that Cloud Nine was offering partial scholarships to a 300 hour yoga teacher training in Hawaii. This friend shared the post on my page. I almost dismissed it. I didn’t have the time or money to go to Hawaii, scholarship or not. But something made me look at it. All I had to do was answer a few questions and email the instructor. Why not? It’s not like I will actually get the scholarship right? I answered the questions and forgot about the whole thing. I didn’t even check into the program to determine cost, actual location, requirements, etc. I had not even graduated from my 200 hour basic yoga teacher training yet.
I was a third grade teacher at the time. I love teaching third grade, but there was so much more to the job of teaching that was directing my energy in negative ways. I had decided earlier in the school year that I was leaving the classroom. Much to the dismay of many loved ones in my life, I did not have a plan. “What will you do?” they would ask me in dismay. In all honesty I probably would have asked someone in my situation the same question. My answer, “I don’t know, but it will all work out.” It was the end of April, the end of the school year, and I didn’t have a job for next year.
I remember the day I got the phone call from Erika Faith. My students were in PE toward the end of the school day and my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered thinking it was one of my student’s parents. I was in the noisy hallway at school and this delightful person on the other end said "Hi! We want you to come to Hawaii for our 300 hour teacher training." I can remember the excitement in my heart at that moment. Is this for real? I might have even asked her that very question. A short conversation transpired and we hung up. I still had 28 students to pack up and send home that afternoon. I was experiencing a sensation I had never felt before and I didn’t have a name for it, but it was pure bliss.
Then reality hit. Did I deserve to go to Hawaii? I didn’t even have a job! The training was taking place in just over a month, could I even get everything in order in time? So many other questions and issues ran through my mind. Over the next two days there were many conversations with loved ones and a lot of questioning myself. In the end the decision was made that I was going to Hawaii. Now the feelings I was experiencing were excitement mixed with nervousness, and even some guilt.
When I began this process I had no idea how much things were about to change. The guilt and self-doubt I was feeling, simply because I was doing something for myself, had always been present in my internal dialogue. I was about to meet a group of people who would help me realize that it is okay to take care of oneself. I was also going to learn just how much magical and magnetic energy a place can hold.
Communities are the center of life here in Hawaii. At the farm (Hawaiian Sanctuary) the community is one of a kind, and I am honored to be a part of it even for just a few weeks.
People come here from all over the world to act as interns, work, learn, and grow. Currently there is an intern here from France. Today was her birthday. She was thousands of miles away from her family and home. Over the last three days I have witnessed members of this community present her with treats, honor her with well wishes, and literally treat her like royalty. At dinner we each said words of appreciation for another person at the table and for the birthday girl. She was so grateful and took it all in with grace and a smile that radiated light and love. She expressed words of appreciation for everyone at the table for allowing her to feel like she was with a new family on her birthday. This is community. I wish this for everyone on everyday. I wish for people to genuinely express their appreciation to those around them. I wish for people to know that it's beautiful to build a community of like-minded people and celebrate the amazing miracles that happen everyday.
I am back on the Big Island of Hawaii, temporarily living at Hawaiian Sanctuary, a 44-acre tropical permaculture farm. The island as well as the sanctuary are healing and nurturing places. There is an energy and a vibration to this place. The people are unique, and not just the people from the island, but the people that come to the island to experience all it has to offer.
Often our expectations or vision of Hawaii are that of beaches, sand, and surf. Our picture in our minds probably includes coconut trees and banana trees with their big leaves. While all of these things are certaily present in Hawaii, not all of them are present in the Hawaii I am growing to love. The farm is inland and an oasis for those desiring a return to simplicity. Interns move about, cleaning, helping one another, cooking delicious food. Animals are abundant and serve a purpose as they are permitted to freely move throughout the farm. The land is carefully planned and designed to provide its inhabitants nourishment and enjoyment. There is a substantial garden next to the open air kitchen that provides additional food. This is the Hawaii I am growing to love.
There is compassion for the people and other living things that all make this farm one of my favorite places. I wish for everyone in their lives to find a place as special as this.
Beginnings are a phenomenon we all experience. It can be a subtle start to something new, or it can change you're entire existence in a short period of time. Beginnings are often disguised as, or found immediately following, an ending. And endings can be challenging.
Every yoga student has a beginning, that day they first experience a class led by a trained teacher with other students in the room. Some people remember the exact date and time of the class, while others have a vague recollection of the experience.
My beginning with yoga was one of those subtle starts. I was in my mid-twenties and looking for a workout that didn't involve me feeling sick at the conclusion. I entered a yoga class at the Adult Center is Roswell, where, as expected, there were several experienced yogis in that sweet time of their lives we often refer to as the golden years. I was an outsider to be sure. I found a space close to the wall in the back. The instructor came over and introduced herself, I couldn't have told you her name five minutes later if you asked me. She inquired about my previous experience with yoga (none) and if I had any injuries. I went through the motions of the practice, not really making a judgement about the class and I don't remember much about that particular day beyond laying in savasana (resting pose) and thinking, "How long is this lady going to ask us to lay here with our eyes closed? I have things to do. I came here to do yoga, not rest!"
I went back the next week, made a friend closer to my age, and remembered the instructors name. It was Colette. I still laid in savasana and let my thoughts go wild, questioning why anyone would want to just lay here on the floor for so long.
I kept going. I learned the names of some of the poses and started to relax a little in savasana.
I kept going. I learned Colette was opening her own yoga studio. When that studio opened at Kana Clothes I experienced a whole new practice. I learned to enjoy savasana. Colette became a friend and a mentor and I attended her classes with a dedication I had never offered to anything in my life.
I teach at the studio at Kana Clothes now because I had a mentor who inspired me and encouraged me. My yoga beginning was subtle, and I certainly never knew that yoga would become such a huge part of my life.
Beginnings are a curious thing. If we pay close attention to our experiences we can start to recognize when something is a beginning.
The very first Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says:
With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga.
Enjoy your beginnings and love yourself as a beginner in any new experience.
Who am I to write a blog? I am a person in this great big world who has ideas and words to share.