Sharing my struggle – a series (termed loosely as I don’t blog enough to have a series) where I talk about my feelings usually negative and don’t really turn them around. Enjoy!
I’ve been trying to put this into words for so long and late last night, I was flooded. This all came out as quickly as the food poisoning the night before. I guess I needed my first real bad day. I will admit I don’t love sharing this because I’d prefer you all to think I’m bouncing around loving life with everything held together…but that’s what sharing the struggle is all about. So here we go.
OK, you may be wondering, hey what’s Sophie doing in Ecuador? Let me give you TMI.
For almost a year, I’ve had this glorious plan. To finally graduate from school then jet off to who cares where and teach yoga. Yes, this would be it and yes I wanted this to be permanent. Not necessarily permanently in one place but you know the kinda cliché but totally still beautiful nomad yoga teacher? That was going to be me. I was going to full time travel, live just at my means (food, shelter, love), and share yoga with whoever wanted a piece. I didn’t want to live in the USA for all of 2019. I didn’t want to stop teaching even for a vacation. Nice right? So obviously the original plan didn’t work.
It started to crumble last June when I had a “big girl”, “real” job and didn’t hate it like I was supposed to. I actually enjoyed it. I found the commute just pleasantly annoying, my office was on a swanky side of town with hip gyms and restaurants (my fav hip things), my peers were fun and smart, the company itself was too big for its own good and everything was convoluted but my supervisors were down to earth, I enjoyed earning significant amounts of money that I was able to do significant things with, and I was good at what I did. I didn’t dread going to work, I liked talking about it, and I got excited about it. I also taught yoga twice a week which gave me my fill (OK like half my fill) of yoga, yogis, class planning, and inspiration. This experience made me doubt my master plan. However the moment I was back in school, learning things I didn’t care about, feeling only motivated by teaching (now 7-8x per week), the plan was back in action.
Then around September, I began to feel disconnected from the person who inspired me to keep this plan, who I (only partially) dreamed of doing this plan with, who would keep me grounded during these indefinite travels. Eventually I became apathetic about our relationship and we lost those ties. Another strike against the plan.
Later in 2018, I started to get tired of where I was. I was restless and maybe a bit doubtful of myself to pull the trigger. I was excited for the plan and wanted it to happen immediately. It had to happen at some point and I was ready to have a more clear vision of my next step so I took a job or two or five in Ecuador. When I say job, you may think of contracts and salaries and this is not that. I use the term loosely it’s actually an exchange deal. Since I only wanted to live at my means, it was perfect.
OK – plan in place. And then blah blah blah some more things happened that messed up I mean romantically tampered with the plan (because like shit, boys happen).
Now the date is here, I am outtie, and so happy. So what if the plan has been slowly deteriorating? It’s on. So here’s what actually happened. Let me say before I continue, this is not Ecuador. This is me. I don’t have one negative thing to say about this amazing country and highly recommend it. Basically all of the worst cases (that I had already discussed with myself as possibilities) were here. I’m not going to get into it but if you think you have even been to a night club or seen aggressive German men on every single drug, please come here and see it for real. So I picked up the vibe that this place might not be for me but no panic I can always leave I knew that. I wanted to make it work and teach yoga. I told myself I would bring the peace with me and everything is fine. Which is true and it would’ve worked out just like everything does. But I was talking to someone who felt similarly (like no way it was a coincidence we met similar) and he said something that resonated with me so deeply, “for whom?”. For whom am I trying to work this out for, or staying here for? I had no answer so I left.
I desperately looked for similar exchange deals or any kind of teaching work in other places close by. Nothing was working out and it started to feel forced. I trusted my gut, if things feel forced, they are forced, and there is absolutely no purpose behind forcing. Beyond the lack of teaching, I miss home and routine (ok, the gym. I miss the gym.) and having a partner (ugh romantic me). And I blame everything that goes wrong in my life on where I am. I feel far away from my family which makes me feel lost, not supported, and scared. I make assumptions about what they’re doing and feeling. I assume no one wants to hear from me or hear about my life here now that it’s taken a different turn. This list goes on.
I took this all as a sign from the universe that it’s not time for me to be the nomad yoga teacher. It’s time for me to be the fellow earth citizen who is experiencing and learning. To my own surprise, I took this shift in mindset gracefully. I accepted that I would spend a good chunk of my savings and decided this would be a 2 month trip instead of a dramatic move and lifestyle shift. I’d use the 2 months to get myself together, get inspired, have fun, and figure out what I really want going forward.
I’m a believer that the universe is always on my side but it’s testing me and like basically every exam in college, I can tell I’m failing. Because I have never felt more unaligned with my purpose, confused about what I want and why, and just plain damn unmotivated and uninspired. If you know me, you know how unlike me this sounds. There are days I cannot find me within myself at all. But regardless, this is me right now. The universe is giving me a break. A pause. And I am resisting like the foolish human I am. The child in me is throwing a fit “hey this was supposed to be inspiring! This isn’t fair!”. Breaks are supposed to be nice right? I haven’t had one in forever. My entire existence up to this point has been planned. Maybe not specifically but I have been in school for longer than I can remember and this is literally the first time I’m not. In 2016, I fell in love with teaching yoga and since 2016, I have not gone more than 2 weeks without teaching a class. I didn’t want a break from teaching but I got served one.
So let me pull up my big girl pants and say thank you universe. Not sure what you’re doing, but thank you & I love you. What can this break from teaching teach me? I’ve learned a lot about myself and here’s the real and raw: I feel unmotivated when I don’t feel needed. More to that, I feel unmotivated when I’m not a leader or guide, preferably THE leader and guide. I sometimes used teaching yoga as my excuse for not knowing what I want to do with this engineering degree that no matter how hard I try to hate, I actually like and am proud of and identify with. I feel disconnected from other humans when I’m not teaching yoga. My personal practice suffers and sometimes disappears for days when I’m not teaching. It is more difficult for me to achieve a meditative state when I’m not teaching regularly. I feel disconnected from and inferior to other yoga teachers when I’m not teaching. I am constantly preparing my thoughts for sharing with a group. More to this, when anything happens, I’m in the moment for just a moment, then I’m considering how I will talk about it later and theme a damn yoga class around it. (I’m doing this right now.) I rely on my teaching job for my sense of identity. I do this because I pour myself into teaching. If I were a yoga bucket I’d be completely upside down. And probably empty. A couple weeks ago, I posed a question on my Instagram (something I sit with often), who are we without our job titles? I didn’t think I had his figured out by any means but now I feel more confused than ever. Who am if I’m not a yoga teacher?
Then comes fears (which can be great teaching tools), what if something happened to me that didn’t allow me to teach yoga anymore? What if I can’t earn enough to support myself? I’m scared to go home and not have my same teaching job. What if I can’t get hired anywhere else? Do my old yogis miss me as much as I miss them? I’m going to move? What if there are “better” teachers there? Did I actually just use the word better to describe a yoga teacher? It goes on and on.
There is no conclusion here. Except maybe this, we can’t always get what we want (no, Donald Trump cannot soil that song for me). But we do get what we need. I’m not sure why the universe isn’t giving me what I want or why I’m being such a baby about it, but I know I’m growing.
& a message to my past yogis and yoginis in case you didn’t get it, I MISS YOU. SO MUCH. THANK YOU.