An Exercise in Boundless Gratitude

I’d like to quickly describe here, for the record, the happy and peaceful time I am experiencing.  I’m not sure how long this will last, or how I can sustain this state of mind as life presents me with the imminent challenge of launching a yoga studio…but the point is-I’d like to document what I am thinking and feeling right now so I can read this post again in the future and remember how good, strong and calm I felt.

After 16 years of working long days, day after day, in an office cubicle in front of a computer, I realized all too well how extremely difficult this was becoming to sustain spiritually and emotionally.  I have worked at some companies that offered more flex time on your own hours, but the last organization I worked for wanted to see you sitting there, hour after hour, day after day, even if there wasn’t much to do.  I could see and tangibly feel the effects of this on everyone’s spirit and motivation, and yet I respected that this is how this type of company felt it needed to function.  Even though the people were generally kind and the work wasn’t that hard, I somehow felt even more trapped and out of control of my own life in some ways than I had at other companies.  At those other companies I sometimes worked crazy hours, but I was able to take a personal day or work from home without the paperwork and bureaucracy.    So, in the end, I learned (or RE-learned, I should say) that there is no “perfect” job, of course.  But I DID learn that there was something much deeper in me yearning to achieve something great.  Through my own creative means, could I really bring value to other’s lives?

So, in mid-Sept I left this company to pursue the steps of opening my own yoga studio and wellness center.  What has been amazing is each sign after sign from the universe presenting itself, giving me a wink and encouraging “nudge” forward.  Examples: regular emails and calls from recruiters looking for temporary freelance talent (in fact, I’m working right now on a fun web project from home), thousands of extra dollars in royalty checks for music-to further fatten up my savings during this transitional time, the discovery of a perfect location/bldg for my business with owners eager to see it become a yoga studio, and finally, a completed business plan in review with several banks and the enthusiastic support of even the most pragmatic of my friends and family.

But what I’ve described above is just circumstantial.  What is more subtle, yet exponentially more profound, is what I have been FEELING.

The future is absolutely uncertain, but for some reason I feel confident, strong, and at peace.  The last time I left a perfectly good job, the crappy job market and doomsday reports on NPR would really keep me awake night after night.  Granted, the job market this time around is better, especially for people like me looking to freelance.   But it’s more or less the same set of circumstances now as it was at that time.   Now I am taking so much pleasure and joy in my freedom.  I have been able to spend more time with my family, my husband, practicing my yoga, going for walks, reading, cooking.  I had a thought that some people hate being alone and need lots of attention, and others are much more wired to want to be by themselves.  My aunt is this way.  She has her little rituals and errands to fill up the day, but generally enjoys her solitude and doesn’t like to be in social situations she can’t easily escape.  I am the same way.

We now live in a world where it’s harder and harder to get privacy, solitude, peace.  So I remind myself that these gorgeous, free and “open” days to reflect and relax are so incredibly precious. Yesterday I was walking around the Silverlake Reservoir, listening to podcasts from the BBC and nodding back to the other smiling walkers and their funny little waddling dogs.  It had just rained for a few days in LA and the air was fresh and clear, the sun rippling across the surface of the water.  I was so happy as I walked that my eyes filled with tears … I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Why so joyful now when I was so frightened before?

I think that now I have a purpose that truly carries me and lifts my heart–to open this yoga studio, see it grow and succeed and make people happier and healthier.  It’s a platform to express myself, from everything from the marketing materials to the interior design to the music we play in classes to our special events.  I am truly following my heart now and have a purpose that will sustain me in a way that is much larger than “just gotta find a decent job and get a paycheck” (last year’s goal).

Beyond that sense of purpose, however, there is still this sense of my soul having shifted down a gear.  It has as much vibrancy and determination as ever, but now it is on a slower, more steady course.  I am truly in the NOW, enjoying the simple pleasures of being alive every day.  And that attitude is much more likely to carry me, my studio, my teachers and students down a path of success than an anxious, “monkey mind”, as they call it.

Yes! I know that some crazy adventures and discoveries await me when I open this studio, but now I know I am prepared for them, both circumstantially AND emotionally.   The heart does know what it wants.

McKenna Rowe is the Founder of Chakra 5 Mobile Yoga, an experienced team of corporate yoga instructors that provides mobile yoga classes on location and by appointment at businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. Call us to start your corporate wellness program today: 310-853-3885.

Posted in Philosophy