After I announced my leave, I was surprised by the feeling of deep loss that set in. I realized I was leaving many identities, many people, many places I have dwelled in for years. I realized I may not run into acquaintances or friends as often as I do ever again. I realized I most likely won't see the majority of my yoga students ever again. And that made me really sad.
I have spent this past week mourning all this. Endless hours in my bed oversleeping, binging Netflix and eating my feelings into cartons of Chinese food. Perplexed and lost at the fact that all I ever wanted for the past four years was to be a full-time yoga teacher with free health insurance... and here I am, living the dream, and I am quitting all my gigs and canceling my health care at the end of the month.
As odd as it seems, I know the fact that I no longer cling to these attachments is a sign of my growth, healing and evolution.
I am no longer the woman consumed with fear and "what if's" about her health. I am no longer the woman far too invested in what other people think about me. I am no longer the woman who clings to living out her dharma in a particular way. I know my dharma is so much more than being a yoga teacher. I know that I want to do so much more than teach downward-facing dog.
Yoga will always be a part of my practice and my life. And it will, most likely, always be a part of my career. But it will no longer consume my life the way it has and repress the other gifts, talents and interests I have to offer and explore. I mean, I was an art major. I used to make art. A lot. I used to write. I used to dance. I used to create. I used to do things!
This next season is about reclaiming my yoga practice for myself. Allowing my practice to simply serve my needs rather than serve as a means to “keep me fresh” as a teacher or pay my bills.
The other day I went to a coffee shop to sit, write and get really clear about my intentions for this next chapter. A stranger approached me and sat down to strike up a conversation with me. He saw I was thumbing through my Greek Islands guide book and asked me about my plans. He had visited Greece before and shared with me a bit of his experiences. And then he asked me:
"So, Jessica, what do you love?"
And I tell you, I could not come up with an answer. I was speechless and completely dumbfounded by my speechlessness. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized how distanced I had become from myself over the years being self-employed, throwing myself into task after task, step after step and never really calibrating my decisions against the greater truth of what makes me feel healthful, inspired and really clear about the answer to this question.
This question has become the answer I am seeking in this next quest. I refuse to live this life without a clear knowledge of what I truly love.
I am currently reading a book on pilgrimage and in the last sentence of the forward, the author writes:
"Travel safely, travel soulfully, travel gratefully and, Stranger, pass by that which you do not love."
And so, July 12th, my pilgrimage begins. Greece, India, Turkey and wherever my heart leads me from there.
Thank you in advance to all who support me in this journey. And to all my yoga students: so much gratitude for all that you’ve taught me. I may not be able to teach you poses anymore but it is my hope that we continue to support and inspire each other to seek deep love and greater joy.