I have been learning about making space.
One year ago today I was in Nebraska. I had sold my beloved home in Ohio, said goodbye to dear friends and left the students and yoga studio where I had taught for five years behind. I was driving into the unknown. I had a road map for where my car should travel, I had a home awaiting me in Washington, but beyond that my life was quickly becoming full of space. Lots of space.
We were moving for many reasons, primarily for a job transfer for my husband, but also for a slower pace of life for our boys. Our daughter was heading off to college and in the busyness of disengaging from my life in Ohio and coordinating a cross country move, I gently set the plans for my own life on hold until we were settled.
The summer was filled with unpacking, summer camps, college preparations and new business demands for my husband. I maintained a personal yoga and meditation practice, but I began to deeply miss my sangha – my yoga community in Ohio. I missed teaching, I missed taking class, and I missed sharing the wonderful energy and space with like minded, peace seeking people.
In the fall I was hired at a very small, local studio to teach two classes a week. The attendance was sparse at best, filled with mostly beginning students who had a mild curiosity about yoga. I tried for months to attend various other studios in town, but barriers were thrown in my path time and time again. One vivid memory was backing out of my driveway on a Saturday morning with just enough time to make it across town to class when my car wouldn’t cooperate. I got out only to see I had a flat tire. Thwarted again.
I became somewhat despondent as the bleak days of a long and hearty winter set in. I became resigned to the fact that this was now my life – teaching in a small, unknown studio with no chance to connect.
One day, in the midst of the gloom, I received an email from a downtown studio advertising a teacher training. I had been faculty at a training in Ohio and felt immediately that I should email the owner and ask if she was in need of faculty. I included a listing of courses I had taught there. Within minutes she emailed me back and said that the beginning course was fully staffed, but she had been wanting to develop and advanced training course and would I be interested in meeting with her. Would I?!
In the following months I was hired to develop and teach in this training. My small studio class began growing and growing. Students began requesting my private services and I expanded into online sessions. I met a man with a media company looking to develop online courses who wanted to partner with me in development. After almost a year of studio isolation, I was able to attend a local training and met an incredibly like minded yoga therapist who connected me with valuable resources. After months of feeling almost abandoned, I began to sense those connections returning in new and exciting ways.
Spring in Washington is heavenly. As the cold snow gently faded away, it was replaced with everlasting green. Trees, grass, shrubs, plants, and then there came the flowers. As the sun began to warm the earth again, life returned.
Today, I finally purchased flowers to fill my large pots that had been sitting lonely on my deck for weeks. As I filled the pot with soil, I could feel the warm earth on my hands. As I carefully removed the dahlias from their somewhat large container, I could see the roots beginning to bind. They were beautiful, flourishing there, but not for long. They needed new soil, a bigger pot. They needed space. The snapdragons and the long vines almost screamed as I separated their roots and divided them, leaving them space to flourish.
As I stepped back to admire my work, I said to my flowers, “You needed space.” Almost as an echo, I heard them respond, “You needed space.” I looked at the vibrant dahlias and could see, suddenly, that I had grown to my fulness in Ohio. I developed as a teacher, there. I began my formal yoga therapy studies and my private session work. I was happy, thriving, just like my dahlias, but not for long. I needed space in my life, space in my surroundings. I needed to be separated from my dear, close friends in order to make space for other connections that are growing here.
As I slowly poured the water on my tender, somewhat upset plants, I gently told them that now they had room to grow, to reach a fuller potential that if I had left them where they were. And I heard them whisper back, “As do you.”
Growing is painful and uncomfortable. It forces us to separate from our stability. We resist and often don’t understand the purpose of our experience. But oh, what beauty awaits us when we can welcome the space.