I taught a Zoom yoga class tonight. It’s so strange not to be with my students, you know, in the same room, like I’m used to. At the same time, here I was in Maryland, and there were friends in Texas who joined, one in New Jersey, and one from somewhere I clearly wasn’t, because it was night where I was, and she had light streaming through her window. So although I can’t be physically present to my students, somehow, I can be with friends all over the world. And that, my friends, is the power of the internet. So although this strange time comes with many challenges, there are some unexpected silver linings, like teaching yoga to someone a thousand miles away, somehow…
When I believe my thoughts I am anxious. When I connect with reality, I am at peace. I have known this for a long time, and now more than ever it holds true. It is so humbling to admit that all of my training couldn’t prepare me for this reality. Yoga is fun and neat when you’re sitting in a room with 30 people, learning how to teach people yoga in a thriving studio on a normal day. No one prepared me for a Pandemic. No one told me how it would feel when I couldn’t see my students anymore. No one explained what it would be like to go into a store and find empty shelves. No one described the despair I’d feel contemplating bringing my children up during a widespread economic collapse. After so many years of encouraging my students to breathe, I find myself holding my breath. After teaching my students how to stay present, I find myself feeling anxious about the future. After guiding my students into deep relaxation, I feel anxiety alive in my body. I remember that this will one day be a memory. When this is all over, I’d like to be able to tell the story about how I realized I could just fully relax, how I spent my time creating wonderful things and then the Pandemic was over, and I could look back on the quarantine feeling proud that I stayed strong… I guess I better start breathing and staying present, just like I’ve been teaching all these years.
The reasonable voice says Don’t panic. But the panicky part in me panics like never before. So many questions. So much uncertainty. I hear the liquor stores are doing great right now. It makes sense. When faced with so much uncertainty, and you have to stay home, and you’re around your famly for longer stretches of time than usual and you don’t know how to do this… A nice, cold one sounds like a great idea. I’d like to tell everyone to wake up, because that’s my job as a yoga teacher. But I’m unemployed right now, sitting home, alone because my kids are with their dad. I look in my fridge. Virtually empty. Do I risk going to the store? A nice, cold one would be really great right now…
No matter what happens, no matter what shuts down, I’m still here. Schools are closed. Airports shut down. I’m still here. Mass hysteria, sensationalism. I’m just going to hunker down, and as the wave passes…. I’m still here.
Full days of mothering, teaching yoga, fitting in morning meditation and evening gratitude, eating healthy, thinking good thoughts and I realize I’d be bored if I had nothing to do. I’d be depressed if I had nothing to do. So all of this to say… I’m tired but happy.
I love how it doesn’t matter how much I’ve attempted to stay present but failed miserably… I love that no matter how many times my mind hijacked my consciousness with thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future, the present always holds me. I always am here. I always am now. My work is to know this deeply, integrating awareness of the present moment through bodily sensations, through breath, through the intention to be of service. I see the perfection of my journey, how all experiences led me to this moment. All I can feel now… …is gratitude.
Up late getting ready. Big day. Big weekend. Today I taught three yoga classes. Tomorrow I’ll teach three classes, then I’ll lead a five hour training. I made eye pillows to give the participants, as well as training manuals so that they can take the information with them. I made a kale and quinoa salad for our working dinner tomorrow. All in all, it will be a twelve hour day… Sunday I’ll teach three more classes. And somehow, somehow, I am to find the time and stamina to PACK MY HOUSE BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO MOVE. I decided it’s not time to freak out. Freaking out is an old, outworn habit, and it really serves no purpose. Instead, I’m choosing presence. I’m showing up inside each moment, clear on what the moment is calling for, and doing that. When it’s time to teach, I’ll teach. When it’s time to eat, I’ll eat. When it’s time to pack, I’ll pack. When it’s time to move, I’ll move. And when it’s time to rest, I’ll rest. I am so grateful to have been brought to this simple place, where I no longer need to chastize myself for what I didn’t do sooner (that’s hopeless). In this simple place, I see what needs to be done, and I do that. There is so much peace in the present moment.
I’m amazed I’ve been able to keep up this pace, 2-3 yoga classes a day for two months, but I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing it for my kids and for my students too. I’m doing it for the ripples of peace and goodwill that flow out into the world when I make just one person’s day a little brighter. It’s amazing how I can find the strength to go on, day after day, feeling tired, feeling wiped out, feeling like I have nothing left at the end of the day, and yet, each morning I wake up, and I’m ready to do it all over again. This feels like I’m being trained for something even bigger. This feels like an opportunity to flex my resilience muscles, my endurance muscles, my persistence muscles, my faith muscles. A year ago, I felt weak and destroyed, devastated, betrayed, abandoned… But now look… Just look at how strong I am now.
It’s a blessing to have work I love, a blessing to have enough of this work to earn the income I need to empower myself to move forward. It’s a blessing to know that the work I do benefits others, and leaves me feeling a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. I GET PAID TO DO WHAT I LOVE… this is a miracle. As I dive deeper into my work, and bring greater value to my clients and the companies for whom I work, and as I am told about the positive impact I’m having on the lives of those I touch, I am driven to keep going. This month has been a marathon, 2-3 classes every day, no days off. My body is tired and yes, there is a part of me that would love a vacation… And yet, to be blessed with work I love, to have the Universe present me with this opportunity for gainful employment, to create independence as a single mother providing quality life for my children and myself, this is true success, true wealth, true progress. And truly, I am grateful.