This is a shout out to the one, the only, Miss Marley.
When quitting my job in 2014 to venture out into the unknown, I was unsure of what would develop. "How will you make money?" "You need money." "Money is what everyone else is chasing, don't be silly." Over and over in my mind. Thoughts of dollar bills, my bank account and societal pressure consumed the following weeks. To hush the panic, my yoga and meditation practices were necessary. This I knew but there was something else I didn't see coming.
The real gift was in discovering new ways to tend to myself. Every day before getting out of bed to do my internal practices, there Marley was. After my yoga and my meal, there she was. Her little paws, full belly and soul-piercing eyes, captured me. I was completely consumed by her nasally in-and-out breaths, her bread loaf default pose and her desire to fit nicely into any crevice of my body. She became an extension of myself and I was okay with it.
I knew that if I was going to create something to sustain myself while doing work I love, I was going to have to work hard and create content that was true to me. Marley, however, didn't make this part of the job easy. Each time I pulled out my lap top to get work done, she weaseled her way in-between myself and the screen, demanding to occupy the space. Did this put a damper on my productivity? Absolutely. Did she melt my heart with every glance, every nudge and every re-positioning stretch-out before getting back to cuddling with me? Absolutely.
I stopped fighting it and allowed our time to unfold naturally. I'd work some, we'd snuggle some. It was around this time that my meditative walks began to take place, though I wasn't calling them that then. I needed to get up, stretch my legs, give my lower back a break and get some fresh air in-between hour long sessions of crunch time. These walks became the highlight of my day. I wasn't wearing anything to count steps or calories, I didn't have a time frame, there wasn't any goal attached- I was simply going for a walk.
Mindfulness became a part of most activities I did throughout the days. The dishes, cooking, walks, conversations and beyond. The shower was no longer the only place where I felt a sense of relaxation and peace. Every day I was strengthening my mind muscles to observe and notice what was happening around me. How I responded to confrontation, frustration and fear was subtly shifting with each mindful moment I experienced.
Today as I launch into teaching yoga, facilitating workshops and meditations and sharing my stories with you here on my blog, it is clear how necessary my "down time" was. I grew and developed more in this setting than any other. I had never truly embraced the present moment or appreciated the small things happening around me every day. I was moving too fast, so focused on achievement, that I was passing it all by.
The decisions I made to close 2014 led to 2015 and all of its wonder. I was constantly in uncomfortable and challenging situations. Teach a yoga class to the public fundraising for Nepal earthquake survivors. Travel to Nepal a month after the earth quake. Participate in Vipassana, a 10 day-10 hours of meditation a day-silent course, in Cambodia. Arrive to Thailand days before the bombing at a major tourist attraction. Start a blog. Design a women's workshop and facilitate it. Share who you are with the world. Okay, go!
Without the time I took to become in touch with myself, to slow down and to notice the larger themes of life, I wouldn't of persevered through the tough times. Much of what I share is what I've personally gone through. Every hardship was a blessing, every perceived failure, a powerful lesson in disguise. When we take the time to get to know ourselves, our patterns and those around us, we have the power to create a life so worthy of living.
Thanks Mar, I wouldn't be here without what you continue to teach me.