I’m still here! It’s been a crazy spring. Between professional obligations, visiting friends and family, and not a few tears shed over a turning point in my life, I pushed my online presence to the back burner. I simply couldn’t summon the will to write when I was rushing from place to place, grappling with struggle, and, I confess, binge-watching “Shameless.” I was in complete overwhelm mode.
I’ve been here before and know what happens. I start to panic. I put on my stiff upper lip and soldier through, but at the same time, I complain. I sleep less. I make poor food choices. And when I simply can’t do anything more, I collapse in front of the TV and watch for hours.
Not conducive for productivity and creativity, right?
But this time was different. Maybe it was maturity. Maybe it was talking to the right people, or reading the right books, or simply getting tired of doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result. In any event, a few weeks ago I had an epiphany:
I HAD PUT ALL OF THIS INTO PLACE AND I ALONE HAD THE POWER TO DISMANTLE IT.
I have a hard time saying “no.” I have a hard time speaking difficult truths. I have FOMO (for the six of you who don’t know what that is, it’s “fear of missing out”). I have a hard time standing up for myself. I worry that people won’t like me if I’m not agreeable, kind, cheerful, funny, and on my game 100% of the time.
This, my friends, is the road to burn out.
So things will be changing with me, slowly but surely. I am practicing replacing old habits with new ones, saying something isn’t okay if it really isn’t. I am opening myself up publicly so I can be open to love as well as open to rejection. I am letting go of old dreams that have broken my heart and old expectations that will never come to pass. I am trying to take care of myself the way I would take care of someone I truly love.
In short, I am setting boundaries. Yoga teachers are generally TERRIBLE with boundaries. We take on our students’ issues and make them our own. We try to please everyone but lose our authenticity in the process. We schlepp from place to place, spending more time in the car than with students, or worse, on our mats. And I, who others look at and see a Warrior Goddess, am guilty of all of these.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I am prioritizing my practice and my physical and mental health. I am taking some time to write and think and walk and ride my bike and spend quality time with friends. My dog and I will be seeing a lot more of each other, and I predict that I’ll be going to more farmers’ markets and spending less time in the car. I may even learn how to tweet and use Instagram (although Lord knows what I’ll share!). But nothing is a “must,” or even a “should.” I want to give myself some space to see what happens.
Epilogue: Of course, in keeping with that old maxim that the minute you are in a relationship, everyone else wants to date you, I’ve had some really awesome work opportunities appear. It was a really good time to test out my new practice. And I’m happy to say that I can both grow professionally AND say “No…not yet.”