4: Finding Joy

It’s funny how the human brain works. One day, you can believe something fully, and the next you might believe the exact opposite. Last month’s teacher training left me on cloud nine, and I thought, “This is it! I’ve finally figured out how to live!” And then, at some point between that point and this point, I slipped back into my self deprecating state of mind. Vince tried to talk to me, to remind me of all the reasons why I shouldn’t believe those thoughts, and I tuned him out. I was angry. I was sad. I was mad at myself and the world. It wasn’t Vince’s fault that his words didn’t reach me–it was mine. I refused to be accepting of the loving, true words he was pouring out to me. I refused to see that even though I was being harsh with him, and cold, he didn’t give up in trying to wrap his love around me to help me. I had closed myself off to receiving love, and I allowed everyday stress to pull me down into this nice, dark little pit I’ve created for myself over the years.

Then, teacher training rolled back around, and I spent two days in a room full of light, love, and acceptance. I spent two days pushing myself physically, and allowing myself to rest mentally and spiritually. I sat amidst friends, and slowly my mind softened. Slowly, my walls dropped, and the truth of what Vince had been saying in his soft, sweet way, poured over me. That truth was compounded with the smiles, hugs, laughs, and words from the men and women around me all weekend, and once again, I left The Om Place Sunday evening feeling light and free.

This got me thinking: do I have to be at teacher training to feel this way? To receive this kind of freedom, do I have to be in a yoga setting from 8 AM until 2 or 3 PM? I started to worry about what life would be like after YTT was over, and just worrying about that for a moment reminded me of what really causes me to slip into that pit and wallow in imagined hardships: worry. I let unnecessary worry and stress over things that don’t have to cause worry or stress rule my life a lot of the time.

I have four jobs. I write. I do yoga. I knit. I crochet. I babysit. I do a lot. I have a hard time saying no to things. But for the most part, I enjoy the things I do. I love to write. I love taking and teaching yoga classes. I love knitting and crocheting. I enjoy teaching English (most of the time). I love teaching yoga to my LPS kiddos and at Bluegrass. I love babysitting my sweet Maeve and Boyd. Editing websites isn’t a stressful job, and I get to do it at Purdy’s (my most favorite coffee shop in all the land). Do I have a lot to do each day? Definitely. Does that automatically mean I have to feel stressed? No.

The key to my personal freedom (and I would wager to freedom for a lot of us), is to be present in each moment we’re in, and to find the joy in it.

Sometimes, that joy is right in front of us, jumping up and down, waving it’s arms around, and we don’t even see it. Like when Vince walked with me, out in the beautiful sunshine, and told me why I shouldn’t hate things about myself. When he kept his words loving, but firm, and never got angry with me, even when I snapped at him and turned a cold shoulder toward his intention for me. When he was offering me exactly what I needed, and kept offering it to me, despite the fact that I was actively rejecting it in that moment.

Other times, we have to search for that joy. Some says, I bounce from one job, to another, to another, and sometimes even another. Yoga, to editing, to yoga, to grading–it feels like I’m carrying too much. But if I stop and think about it, there’s joy in the work that I do. In yoga, I get to meet people, and serve people. I get to share myself with my students, and they share themselves with me. In editing, I get to sit at my favorite coffee shop–Purdy’s!–and work quietly. It’s a space where I can recharge. In yoga at LPS, I get to hang out with some of the coolest kids in the whole world, and share what I love with them. I get to see them fall in love with different aspects of yoga, and I get to watch their personalities start to bloom. In grading, I have the opportunity to help my college students grow as writers and as people. There’s joy in my work when I look for it, not just stress.

Coming out of month four of teacher training, I’m thankful for the physical strength I gained. I’m thankful for the peace and freedom and light I left with. But most of all, I’m thankful for this new revelation–to know that I can find this sweet, light state of being wherever I am with just a little bit of self awareness and a lot of presence. 

Vince always has my back. <3
Vince always has my back. ❤
Julianna--one of the many beautiful people in my YTT class. <3
Julianna–one of the many beautiful people in my YTT class. ❤