When I read this quote this morning, I knew it was time to break my silence and come out of hiding.
I've been sitting here staring at the blank screen for longer than I care to admit, because I just can't think of the best way to begin this blog post. But, I suppose the important thing is just to begin.
In July, I closed the Body Positivity Yoga studio. And I've sort of been hiding out ever since. I guess you could say that I, metaphorically, dove under the covers and stayed there for a while. I suppose that I could call it "regrouping", which was certainly a part of it. But, if I'm being really honest, I think I just didn't know how - or if - I should move forward with this work that I love.
To my supportive community of students and teachers and friends, I've been saying "I didn't fail, and I don't regret a moment!". Over and over and over again. And it felt really true. But now it's time to get really honest - with you all and with myself.
The nuts and bolts of what happened were largely financial. There were some challenges in the neighbourhood and other behind-the-scenes problems. But the decision was made when my wife unexpectedly found herself unemployed and, suddenly, the realities of the studio's financial position could no longer be ignored. We essentially lost the luxury of waiting for business to build up enough to be truly self-sustaining - a luxury I had been, admittedly, taking for granted.
When you need to choose between keeping a business or keeping a roof over your family's head, it's really not a choice at all. So, in many ways, that part of the decision was easy.
After the decision was made, I made sure that those who would be affected were notified and given as much notice as possible. I was honestly terrified of the response I would get. I expected people to be frustrated and angry at me for not finding a way to make it work. But, while there was plenty of sadness to go around to see our little community space closing it's doors, what I felt most was love and support and understanding.
As business was winding down, I was trying to wrap my mind around how we could or should continue. How could I keep doing this work and take care of my family?
The short-term answer was, I couldn't. Not at first.
My wife Peggy went through a number of health challenges in recent months and I went through some day-job employment struggles, all of which reinforced the decision I'd made about the business. I can't imagine how things would have gone if I had tried to continue the business through all of that. And, I think that sometimes life has a way of showing us what really matters. And making a "living", teaching Yoga, was suddenly pretty low on the priority list. And I'll admit that, during my time under the covers, I questioned if I really still wanted to teach at all.
The answer was far from simple.
I love Yoga. I love teaching Yoga. More importantly, I love teaching body acceptance and connection to Self through Yoga. When I am offering Body Positivity workshops, events or yoga classes, I really feel like I'm making a difference. And I miss that work. But I don't miss running a brick and mortar business. To be more specific, I don't miss trying to "make a living" teaching Yoga or trying to keep the doors open on a physical space.
The reality of owning and running a physical yoga space took away my ability to focus on what's most important to me: my family, my community, and my passion for making a difference.
I got mired down in the nuts and bolts of business ownership, in numbers and bookkeeping and profitability and had little energy for what really mattered at the end of the day.
The reality is that I did fail.
I failed at doing something that I wasn't meant to do.
I failed at recognizing when it was time to forge my own path instead of trying to shove myself into a mold that existed already.
I failed at rolling with the punches and getting right back 'on the horse' again.
But I'm learning. And I'm growing. And in the end, that's all that really matters.
What I (eventually) realized, thanks to a few knocks upside the head by the clue-by-four that my wife wielded, is that if I wanted to move forward I had to accept what didn't work before and I needed to be willing to truly think outside the box and redefine everything moving forward. Most importantly, I needed to be open. Really open to possibilities and opportunities.
So here's the thing: I don't have any idea what I'm doing, yet, though Peggy and I are working on some ideas. But, I am finally ready to come out from under the covers and get the energy moving again.
So yes, I'm going to be teaching. Yes, I'm going to be involving myself in new projects. I can't say yet what those things are going to look like, exactly. But I can tell you that I'm not going to try to stuff myself into someone else's box. I'm going to follow my heart and play and see where this adventure takes me.