“To journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and to be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.”
– Mark Nepo
Hi friends, welcome to June! I am just settling back in after a crazy fun weekend in Sarasota, Florida where we celebrated my best friend’s wedding. It was incredibly special to see her marry the love of her life, and it was also a 4-day flash back into Dave and I’s previous life. All through my 20’s, I spent 4th of July weekends in Sarasota at Taylor’s house – long days at the beach drinking Bud Light Lime (it’s delicious, don’t judge), warm nights bar-hopping and dancing our butts off (which always ended with a stop at a nearby gas station for gross food that really hit the spot), and a blossoming romance between my now-hubby and I.
As I sat drinking coffee the first morning after our arrival, surrounded by the same scenery and cast of characters from those teeny-tiny bikini weekends of my past, I was struck by how much has changed for me in just a few short years. Although I am hands-down happier today than I have ever been, I admit that I felt a twinge of nostalgia for the “old days” of complete freedom, flirting, and Tequila Sunrises. I felt resistance sweep over me as I realized how different this trip to Sarasota would be, and in that moment understood that even when things change for the better, it’s never easy to accept and embrace the unknown.
I believe resistance to change is driven by two things: fear of the future, and letting go of the past. For me, the latter is what gets me. Physically leaving a city, job, or even a person behind is one thing, but truly letting go of all the emotion, heart, and habit attached to that city, job, or person can be really tough. In order to truly embrace change, however, we need to let go from the inside – wipe our board of expectations clean, reset our priorities and perspectives, and open up to the new without judgment or comparison.
Over the last three years, I moved from Washington DC to Houston, left my career at ExxonMobil to open up Yogaleena, and had a sweet baby boy. So yeah, BIG changes. Although every one of these shifts in my life have been positively transformative, I admit they’ve been welcomed with a bit of anxiety and resistance. I spent my first year in Houston forcing myself to lead the same urban lifestyle I had in DC (only to realize that the Houston metro doesn’t actually get you anywhere!) I had a very hard time setting work-life boundaries, establishing realistic financial goals, and not following my new title of yoga studio owner with “but I used to be an engineer with an MBA working for one of the largest companies in the world” after leaving ExxonMobil. And I confess that looking at myself in the mirror for the past 10 months without judgment has taken every ounce of yogic energy I’ve got!
The thing is, when I stopped forcing my DC lifestyle into my new life in Houston, I was able to appreciate what this wonderful city does have to offer. When I stopped holding myself to the same work hours and financial standards of my ExxonMobil days and embraced my new role as an entrepreneur, I was able to bask in the freedom and joy I quit my corporate job to experience in the first place. And when I stopped pretending that my post-babe body would bounce back to pre-prego status, I was able to marvel at its strength, wisdom and incredible ability to sustain another life.
Only when I stopped comparing, judging, resisting, or contorting change did it lead to growth, wisdom, and transformation.
This month’s intention will be to embrace the future by fully letting go of the past. As you practice at the studio, I encourage you to let go of expectations, judgements, and comparisons to “what you used to be able to do when you were younger/fitter/more flexible/etc.” Come to your mat as a blank canvas to be filled by the movement, breath, and energy of the practice, savoring the experience and allowing it to transform you from the inside out.