It seems as if the universe is challenging me to practice what I preach. My journey to go beyond asana and to spiritual fulfillment and freedom began last winter with The Four Desires by Rod Stryker. At the time, I was on a self-help book binge, as I was suffering from an identity crisis, lack of creativity, restlessness, and chronic fatigue. A combination of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and The Four Desires gave me the tools I needed to begin my transformation. Since the spring, things have been better. I have been on a steady incline and have noticed many improvements in my physical, emotional, mind, and spiritual states. However, since I began teacher training, I feel like my practice has plateau.
Teacher training means a way to change my life. I went to school for specified theater training and have since it unfulfilling in the artha, kama, and dharma aspects of my soul. I still struggle with the fact that this degree does not give me the respect I feel like I deserve. Right now, I am an underpaid administrative assistant that requires a high school diploma. I clean other people’s dishes, make coffee, and smile and absorb others’ frustrations. Things have gotten easier to bear since I have been working on removing my ego and finding yoga in my work, but there are times where I relapse and wonder what exactly I am going to do with my life. I feel stuck because, right now, this is the ‘easiest’ and best paid job that I can get that gives me a set schedule. I am drowning in my student debt bills, and working part time to ‘find myself’ or taking a pay cut is not an option. I want so badly to be able to finish my training and begin teaching in the Chicago yoga community. I already want to pursue my 500 hour and train in Ayurveda. I am so excited about so many things, but I feel stuck.
Before yesterday, I was feeling really great about my life and was actually able to stay in the present moment for more than 10 minutes. I have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with Zan, I have a good relationship with my parents, I am making enough money to get by, and teacher training has me using my talents and interests toward a deeper and more meaningful cause (yoga). I am worth a lot more than I have been giving myself credit for.
The company I work for is doing really well this year. So well that they have hired a part time receptionist to relive me from the front desk so that I can take on more responsibility. I have taken on more responsibility. In fact, I am finding that my days are full and flying by. I am making lists, getting a lot of pats on the back, and I finally am feeling fulfilled and like I am worth something to this company. A approached my boss about getting a small increase to reflect the average income of an Administrative Assistant in the city of Chicago. During our first meeting, we seemed like we are on the same page. The time is not yet right for a promotion, but that she would look into meeting me half way and giving me the next pay level up in my current position.
After crying and sleeping off my defeat and feelings of worthlessness, I have come to a realization. None of this really matters. The universe is reminding me of what is really important. When I curiously explore what is going on in my body and sort through my mind with mediation, I find myself bathed in concentration, clarity, and purpose. Sharing these practices with others comes naturally. All of my tendencies, skills, and talents as a theater director are aligned to serve a higher purpose- exploring and sharing yoga. Now that I have a taste of this, I can’t go back to hating my daytime job and just going through the motions. Yoga is everywhere, but sometimes it is difficult to find.
How funny is it that when we are experiencing chitta vrittis (fluctuations of the mind) that pull us under the waves of samskara (behavioral patterns cultivated by karma) and we find it hardest to escape? This escape is what we need most in order to break out of this wave, come up for air, and keep swimming toward the shore.
Consciously breaking these patterns breaks them down so that the wave is smaller and smaller each time it washes up. Soon, the wave will disintegrate, and the waters will be still… if only for a moment. I have to stay strong and stay in the moment. Many exciting things could be on the horizon, but they could also be a mirage. If I keep my head in the same place as my heart, I will arrive where I am supposed to be.