aging · epiphany · menopause · personal yoga practice · Yoga and Nature · yoga and travel · yoga blogs · yoga teaching

‘What I Did On My Summer Vacation’

Back in May, 2015, before I even packed a suitcase or planned much of an itinerary beyond purchasing plane tickets, I made a fairly significant decision.

I quit identifying as a ‘Yoga Teacher’. I hollered my frustration at my office walls, and I hollered my grief into the spacious sky above my desert walking ground.

I told my husband, quietly and evenly, that I was done. I quit, I quit, I quit.

It was L I B E R A T I N G.

I quit because after almost 13 years of teaching yoga, I no longer recognized myself in this social media-driven thing that the business of ‘modern’ yoga  has become. I like to work with people~ live and in front of me. People I can smell, and watch breathe and lay instructive hands upon.

When did it get decided that yoga is about the fabric covering your ass, the amount of ‘Likes’ and page views and followers and a whole bunch of stuff that~ frankly~ borders on being bullshit?

At the end of June, I packed my ‘I quits’ into a teeming sack of disgruntlement, and went into the woods and lakes and streams and shorelines of coastal British Columbia. I walked and walked and walked. The more I walked, the more vast my sense of not-belonging to the world I had known became. It was never scary or even depressing, but there seemed to be a whole lot of ‘I don’t know…’ for me to contemplate in the great Out There.

Then came the Day of the Tea, psilocybin mushroom tea. An armful of blankets, a walk to a favorite spot overlooking a busy strait. Old, old arbutus trees, and cedar and oak. Trampled grasses for cushiony comfort, and small boulders that created a wall for back support and privacy. Four hours flowed by, and suffice it to say the mushrooms simply and elegantly guided me towards that which I already know.

Back at my home in central Mexico, back at my familiar desk and rapidly aging computer, I recall what I was grappling with 3 months ago. The challenges of feeling ever more invisible as a woman in her mid-50’s. The disconnect between all I wish to share, and what feels like a shrinking audience for what I have to offer. The sense that this place I have called ‘home’ for 4 years is done with me~ and I with it.

I often feel buried in and bowled over by the electronically-delivered cacophony that has become the visual and aural score of 21st century life. This summer, walking amongst ancient trees and delighting in the off-shore antics of river otters ameliorated the jangle in my nerves and healed a breaking heart. The big questions about livelihood remain, but I am done hollering ‘I quit’. There are retreats to plan and clients to see and the ongoing invitation offered by my unrolled mat.

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14 thoughts on “‘What I Did On My Summer Vacation’

  1. Thanks for such a heartfelt sharing….I am moved by your process..and honored to call you friend…will miss you and know another place calls your name..much love, Kristina

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    1. Kristina~ I am ‘here’ through next June, and my intention (and desire!) is to have a rich and delicious 10 months, soaking up more of what feeds me. Time with friends is high on that list 🙂 See you soon xoxoxo

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    1. How about we make 2016 a reunion year? LA? Mexico? The islands and forests of British Columbia? Bet we could find a few other vital women to join us… Love you Deb ❤

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  2. oh Liza. you sure can make me smile and cry at the same time, which awkwardly feels beautiful. I feelwhat you are saying deeply…and I refuse to play a game that doesn’t seem very fun, just to get my work ‘out there’…hoping to find a new way, since this whole social media was once the new way…there will again be another new way…or at the very least a way that feels rewarding. cheers to more seeing you in person – I can celebrate that!

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    1. Katie, here’s to keeping senses wiiiide open for a ‘new way’ of sharing our vision, our talents, and for continuing to feel like beautiful threads in an ageless tapestry. xoxoxo

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  3. Thank you Liza! when I read this I found myself looking in the mirror of your experience and resonating with my own. It is always grounding to hear my thoughts expressed by another. I have enjoyed your posts and send my love on your journey! Katey

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    1. Thank you, Katey! When ‘stuff’ is really troubling me, it helps so to write. Then press ‘publish’. And then to receive so many responses (here, on FB, in private notes). Many resonant chords, and the sound of (mostly women) thrumming. Ahh!

      (I was reminded of my beloved Maine coastline so much during the trip to B.C.)

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  4. It’s amazing to read the comments to your powerful and inspirational piece, my dear friend. At opposite ends of a continent, I feel we have experienced the same determinedness to abandon a life that had held sway with us for awhile, beckoned by a world that enveloped us is a deep primal meaning and pull that it’s impossible to articulate–for me at least. It also appears you speak for others as well. I don’t feel the need to leave my love of teaching behind just yet. But I’m happily certain now I can do this anywhere, especially in Ovid, NY, amongst beauty that touches my very core and forces me to break from the constant buzzing of technology. Thank you for posting such an honest, insightful, and inspirational piece. I can’t wait to see what’s next for us both! You’ve always been so much more to me than the many things you certainly are: friend, mom, daughter, GRANDMOTHER 😀, artist, designer, teacher, spiritual guide. What else will we be able to add to the list!? Love you!

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    1. Jody, this October you and I celebrate 24 years of friendship (the Deb who commented above has been a dear friend for 41!!!). So many interesting, challenging, exhilarating turns on Life’s Path in that time! What is crystal clear to me is that I need to live where Nature beckons me in, and allows me to abide, in a way that feels safe… caring for me as I care for her.

      This autumn may be a time of ‘redefining’ how I am in the world of ‘yoga’. I still love teaching… but as you can see, am really, REALLY struggling with how to be a fish in that particular pond. It may be time to~ once again!~ build something more resonant, and see if they come 🙂

      I spent a lot of days in NY with my sister. We hiked in the Adirondacks, and sitting on those majestic peaks, looking out over other mountains and lakes, I sent silent hello’s to you over in Ovid. Love you, my dear friend.

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  5. Lise, the message filled us both this summer! Another instance of Nature’s infinite murmurings–or bellows in our case. 24 years, yes, a lot of life.. And loss.. For us both. Xoxxo

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

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  6. Dear friend, thank you for sharing so openly. I share your feeling as well, many times. Not to get attached to our identity structure is a good lesson in liberation, as you know.

    The universe has something special waiting for you in B.C.!

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  7. Liza: I noticed that one of your tags was menopause. There is a beautiful, transitional change that the shift of hormones causes in us at this age, I think. It was the most wonderful, freeing time of my life, and it led me to meet my soulmate. I remember screaming at the ceiling, “I am not going to live one more day of my life like this!!!” And the second I did that, everything changed. I left my first husband after spending 23 years in a dead marriage. What a thrilling road it has been since then. I thought it was going to be scary, but it has been wonderful. I hope the same for you.

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  8. That’s some nice writing there Liza! Very open point of view telling us “where you’re at”, at that time…lets face it, SMA can get very “small” (I don’t know why I’m putting parenthesis around some of these words) and it’s a good idea to get out of town from time to time. If it’s feasible etc, etc,
    I go thru some of those thoughts too. I think most artists do at different points along the way. Tryin’ to figure it out….it’s not the rest stops that do it for me, it’s the journey to the rest stops. (you can quote me on that one jeez)

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