After a lot of waiting, the smallest things are just beginning to happen. I have been offered to teach two yoga classes at a new studio opening up 30 minutes away from where I live (although the pay is extremely minimal and the opening of the studio continues to be delayed. It was supposed to open at the end of March, then the beginning of April, and now the middle of May).
And my first talk has been scheduled for April 29th! I was hoping to give the talk early in the month and then start searching for other places to give it since places need at least a month’s notice. But, at least I am on the calendar!
And I read what I have written for the talk to my friend, Erik, over Skype. He does not hold back his opinion on the things I produce (often telling me things like a graphic designer would do a much better job at choosing the fonts for the fliers I have made, etc) and said he would take notes as I talked. However, when I finished reading, he said, “I wish I could write a speech like that!” and had no further comments! He said I am 99.9% done with the talk and now I just have to work on the delivery. Wow!
The main library is interested in me giving my talk there, as well, but their spring series is already booked and they don’t have lectures during the summer. My calls to EMS and REI did not produce any opportunities for talks, but I think that is fine as my talk is intended for a broader audience. I don’t talk about gear or the specifics about thru-hiking. My intention is for it to be an inspirational talk for everyone, whether they have an interest in backpacking or not.
After sending out about 70 corporate yoga proposals, I have received two interested responses. One was from a group of hospitals that is in the process of starting up yoga classes for their employees and patients. My proposal landed on their desk at just the time they were looking for teachers! However, they already decided on a minimal pay scale. And once again, I will be commuting an hour each way to teach 45 minute classes. This program won’t start until June. It looks like I may be teaching 3-4 classes per week once May rolls around, and about 7 starting in June. However, I still won’t be earning enough to even cover my rent, so I have to quickly find a means of picking up other income while still having the flexibility to commute to my teaching jobs.
Sometimes, I think that the only way I will be able to pay my bills is to take another lab job, but I still haven’t even been contacted by a single one that I have applied for! I was sure that I would get a call to be interviewed by a lab in a company that needed someone to do the same things that I was doing in my previous lab. But even they haven’t contacted me! Erik thinks it is no surprise, as I am competing with masses of young people. Why would they want to hire me when they could hire someone fresh and eager? I think it is the Universe’s way of telling me that these jobs are not in alignment with who I am and that I am now finished with that part of my life. I have something much more to offer the world.
Still, it seems nearly impossible to pay for my minimal living expenses by teaching yoga. All of the yoga teachers I know have a spouse or partner who works a full-time, well-paying job, which gives them the opportunity to teach. I know it is a long-shot to try to cover my expenses this way, but I would finally be doing something that I love. And then I think, maybe… maybe…Could this actually be possible?
I recently took an on-line yoga class with a teacher who is far less concerned with moving and much more interested in getting her students to observe their thoughts and behavior, absolve all blame, and lead by example. This class was centered around the theme of doubt, devotion, and belief. She asked us to remember the last time we were filled with doubt about something and then what transpired with this situation. I thought back to a night on the PCT, when I was in tremendous pain in the Sierras (both from my stomach and Achilles). Dust Bunny was urging me to take a week off, rest, see a doctor of some sort, and begin to heal. I could skip part of the trail, she said. I was insistent that I could not. For the first several hundred miles of the PCT, I had not a single doubt that I could complete the entire hike. But at this point, serious doubts had begun to creep in and I had to question my motives for finishing the hike in such a great amount of pain. In the end, I managed to do it. I overcame the doubt. During this yoga practice, I realized that the place I am in now is just another period of doubt. I can’t see the future and have no way of knowing how things will work out. But I have to keep my devotion strong and I have to stay open. Although things are moving incredibly slowly, I am receiving signs that people are starting to recognize and accept what I have to offer. Doors are starting to open and once I step through them, I fully believe that more will continue to open. I just have to keep trying, stay true to myself, and stay on my path. Trails are easy because the path has already been formed and traveled on by many others. There is a marked beginning and end. The path of one’s life is much more challenging because there are no markers. We are all on different paths and so much can not be seen or known. But I am starting to believe and I am so proud of how far I have come.