The good things.
You are allowed to want something different than the good things you have now.
You are allowed to want something different. You are allowed. You have good things. There are more good things out there. They are different than the ones you have. You are allowed to want them.
Exactly one year ago, to the day, I taught my first public yoga class. It was terrifying and exhilarating, in equal measure, and it turned the tiny drip, drip, drip of passion I’d cultivated over the previous few months of yoga teacher training into a full-blown flood. It was me, in an ark, and there was no turning back.
Since then, almost every time I've stood at the front of the room, at some point I’ll tell the class to let go. Let go of expectations. Let go of the fear. Let go of the voice that says “I shouldn't, I can’t, I won’t.” Let go of all the BS that you hold on to and drag around with you. Just. Let. Go.
The biggest thing I've learned from yoga is to listen and take notice of what shows up on my mat. The reason those words keep coming out of my mouth is because I need to hear them myself. I'm telling you, but I'm really telling me.
Let go of it. Especially that first one: expectations. I’ve spent my whole life on a structured path where every step has another one already set down after it. And I’ve gladly skipped from stone to stone, enjoying the places I’ve been and looking forward to the ones ahead, the ones laid by planning and order and expectation.
But over the past year, my priorities shifted. Happiness didn’t always come from following the sidewalk, but it thrived in those moments when I took a little step to the side and explored something new. As I allowed myself to tiptoe further away from the path, I found freedom and, most importantly, joy. And once those feelings started, so did the guilt. This path has been good to me. It’s what I wanted. A lot of it is what I still want -- my husband, our family, our house and friends and the life we’ve built together in this community, the person I’ve become over the past 29 years… I like her. I like my life. I am so, so grateful for all of the stones and steps and choices that brought me here. They are the good things.
But I am allowed to want something different than those good things. Something more. I am allowed.
So, last week, I took a big, big running leap off of the path and jumped -- up, or down, or sideways, I’m still not quite sure -- and decided to quit my full-time (very good, so great) job and head down a different trail.
This one is unmarked, and messy, and a little hard to see from here... But it’s a good thing. It’s different. And it’s the one I really, really want. I am allowed to want it. It's going to give me the space to explore my truth and the time to share it with others through more teaching, writing, and authentic living. I’m going to learn new skills, explore a new career, and become a better motivator, mentor, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
I’m also trying not to lay the path too far ahead, but to stay open to the possibilities and opportunities, making choices as they come, not before. How I can ask my students to drop their own expectations if I can’t let go of mine?
As this first year of yoga teaching comes to a close, I look back to where I was 365 days ago. It was my birthday (still is -- happy birthday, again, me!), and I gave myself an invaluable, lasting present: permission. I stood in front of an open door, and I allowed myself to walk through it. I found my truth and allowed myself to follow it. That has changed the way I live my life.
If you’re waiting for someone to give you permission, here it is. You are allowed to do whatever it is you want to do, to be whoever you know you are, and to want something different than all of the good, great, amazing things you already have. You are allowed to live your truth, wholly and freely. You are allowed.
And in the guiding words of my teacher and mentor, Soña, to the Universe: #thankyoumoreplease.