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‘So Liza, why’d you choose Mexico?’

Funny you should ask…

At some point during the past year, my husband and I started to actively imagine that we could leave Massachusetts. We didn’t know how long we might be gone, or where we might actually go, or even how we would fund this idea- but we definitely felt the stirrings.

I’m a mom, blessed with four sons ranging in age from 26 to 11. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law. A visit to my mother, and my sister and her family, was a just a four hour drive west to upstate New York. I had a thriving yoga center that was a short walk from my house, and students who supported me through my personal good times and rough times. Our family had most of the things one would imagine accumulating after years of living in one place.

As I began to feel ‘ready’ for a change, we started to actively explore the question, “Where?”. My youngest was rooting for Italy; he had fond memories of gelato, hot chocolate and one particularly charming young girl. My husband spent hours going through his storehouse of memories of all the countries he’d taught in over the past decades; where did he feel most welcome? where was there a combination of vibrant city life with a proximity to breathtaking nature? where could he get me a good morning cappuccino?

In my mind, I was having a hard time figuring out how to make this leap. How was I going to manage not having my kids nearby? Would the emotional umbilical chord be able to stretch across the continent and maybe even over the sea? What if they got sick? What if they NEEDED me?

“Mom, you have Skype. We’ll be fine”.

So much for that. Next worry: the routine of running a yoga center anchored me. I had plenty of students to monitor, teacher-trainees to mentor, schedules to fine tune, candles to light, plants to water, yoga props to ‘test drive’, etc. As we put the word out that we might be moving, I began to Google yoga-teaching prospects in some of the places we were considering, because this was how my mind worked. Look for a stepping stone that had a familiar shape, and from there launch myself. I came across a couple of places that ‘called’ to me. Mentioning one place in particular to a friend familiar with Mexico led to finding out that the owners were looking for new hosts… one of whom had to be a yoga teacher! Like night turning into day, I had a way to imagine letting go of one place and arriving, safely, in another. Introductions were made, negotiations were started, and on a March trip to Mexico, we went and checked out our (potential) new home.

The setting was beautiful. I felt a connection to it, especially when a neighbor- who let us know she was a shaman- appeared out of nowhere, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are coming here. You belong here. See you soon.” Being on that land, so that my senses could take in the sights and smells and sounds, allowed me to let go of Life in Massachusetts and reach for Life in Mexico.

Returning home, I negotiated the sale of my business. We put our house on the market, and started to do the million-and-one things necessary for uprooting and replanting. Every day’s ‘To Do’ list was staggering, but somehow we were managing.

Then one day the proverbial shit hit the fan. Thursday, May 19, 2011. The people we were negotiating with in good faith mentioned they had a buyer for the property. This was the first time we were hearing about it. We were assured that ‘all contracts, verbal and written’, would be honored. We got nervous. Then we got an email from the new owners, who had determined that my husband and I were not hard enough workers and our services would not be needed.

Bear in mind that both my husband and I had been self-employed for our entire adult lives.

The trapeze bar we were about to grab disappeared. We went into shock. And then, we regrouped, and recommitted to moving ahead with our plans, with a much smaller safety net underneath us. Because, really, what else could we do? And you know what? Everything worked out just fine, or mostly fine (our house in Massachusetts is still not rented out).

NOT getting the jobs we had been counting on freed us up even more to pursue our muses. The one thing that defines our weekdays is the twice daily walk to our son’s school. Every other moment- mas o menos– is ours. We have a year here, to explore what’s waiting for us in the layers of our psyche; to sit with a book, one line at a time, and savor someone else’s words and ideas. I had let go of the idea of teaching any yoga classes and was seeing myself open to every possibility. But… I am teaching a little, and loving it a lot. People will maybe come to the classes I am minding (while the regular teacher is traveling). Or maybe not. They’ll like my teaching style. Or maybe not. But what I have gotten from them already is that little bit of fuel necessary to keep my teacher’s mind awake and alert. Like true north, the act of teaching places me square on the path I am meant to be on right now.

I am grateful for what arises when things don’t work out. I am grateful for what happens when someone gives you a ‘No’, and the very next sentence is filled with the ‘YES!’ that we can give ourselves, every single day.

And now, I am off to rescue my husband from the attentions of our cat, who fancies himself a four-legged muse and scampers between the two writing rooms. I am also in need of another cappuccino. Thanks to our friend Sky, we are now in possession of one of those fancy Italian espresso makers, and thanks to our friend Federico, my husband has the secret to making a very velvety foam. There’s nothing like a perfect dose of caffeine to fuel up the creative juices. It may be a double-entry blogging day…

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