First Blog - Surrender : Stardate 93821.03

So, along with the countless other souls with something to say, I have decided to write a blog, which presumes that you are interested in what I have to convey. Rather then being so presumptive, I have decided to write from a stream of conscious perspective and if anyone out there chooses to indulge my rantings, well . . .

My Bonsai Life

For this, my first blog, I have chosen to share my journey of how I arrived at the place I currently find myself--what decisions formed the bonsai that is my life. Where to start? Let's start with my new source of inspiration, a quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky: "For the mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for." The quote summarizes my journey to my current state.

I used to say that the only thing I felt passion for was playing American football. I chose a degree in Ocean Engineering over the possibility of playing football. My life after that choice was a series of attempts at finding another passion, i.e. ‘something to live for’. Since I had not consciously chosen to make playing football my passion, I reasoned that I had to discover another passion through experience. I wanted to find something that gave me the same exhilarating feeling. I heard at least once and also read somewhere that I had to or could choose my passion. Since that was not how I came to be passionate about playing football, I dismissed the idea. However, despite the many activities in which I engaged, I found nothing that captured my attention as playing football had. While I wanted to pursue Joseph Campbell’s admonition to “follow your bliss”, I first had the challenge of identifying my bliss. A challenge that I believe many other people have as well.

Fast-forward a little more than 25 years and find me still looking for my bliss. Meanwhile, I have a job that pays well and in which I have done well. During the 25 years of searching, I found that I could so many things very well, yet I refused to choose any of those things because none left me feeling how I felt playing football. I wanted that feeling again. Eventually, I gave up on the trial and error method and threw my hands up consciously surrendering to the Universe. I do not remember what inspired my surrender, although I know something did. I asked to receive a sign or signs as to what I should embrace in my life—what I should live for.

I agreed to be a practice body for an acquaintance studying shiatsu bodywork. As she worked on me, I realized that I instinctively knew how to do essentially what she was doing and remembered having provided bodywork for friends and family. Within the same time frame, I had been taking Yoga classes and my teacher had been encouraging me to attend a Sivananda Yoga teachers’ training retreat. I recognized that the Universe was giving me the signs that I had requested.

The Sivananda Yoga teachers’ training was a residential program and I was not going to get four weeks off from work. My company was in the process of offering early retirement. I volunteered to ensure I would receive the retirement package. I had wondered how I would have fours weeks to attend Sivananda Yoga teacher training and decided that the retirement was answer. I had already decided that I would study bodywork as a part-time student, since that’s how I had pursued all of my other advanced education and training.

I completed my Yoga teacher’s training and returned home to study and earn a certification as bodywork therapist. My concern became finding employment in either of the two areas. Just as the Universe made a way for Yoga training, I found that doors readily opened for me to work as a Yoga teacher and later as a bodywork/massage therapist. Having spent years looking for different employment during my tenure at the one company and not receiving even one interview, I realized that bodywork and teaching Yoga were my calling—the path that the Universe would support me pursuing. I speculated that we all have a path that the Universe will support and, for any other paths, we are on our own. Not that we cannot succeed on another path or that the Universe’s path is without challenges, just that we would have to open our own doors and clear our own roads along a path not supported by the Universe.

While I accepted that teaching Yoga and performing bodywork are my calling, I did not feel the same passion as I did playing football. For four years, I worked full time teaching Yoga and performing bodywork. I also become a certified personal trainer and a Pilate’s instructor. Still I did not feel passionate about what I believe to be my calling, which brings me to the present.

I needed four more years after discovering my calling to recognize that one need not have a single path of bliss. I realized that I had been following my bliss for most of my life. In my M.S. in Exercise Science program, I had an assignment to write about my passion. Rather than go through the whole story about playing football being my only passion, I decided to apply my life coach training and principles to myself. I then understood that learning was a passion for me. I wanted to learn for the sake of learning, not because I necessarily wanted to apply or ‘live’ what I learned. Learning struck a chord in me as playing football did; two different chords, both producing a harmonic resonance in my being.

I finally have accepted that passion can be nurtured and developed. An adrenaline rush was part of the passion that I felt playing football. My definition of fun had always included an adrenaline rush and still does to an extent. However, with the birth of my daughter, I recognized that adrenaline is not the only or greatest criterion for having fun. I learned through her that I could find joy and a feeling of exhilaration in many different activities that did not produce a rush of adrenaline through my body. Regularly practicing Yoga produces a sense of calm and energy that is both exciting and relaxing. Working on a client’s body to create a healing space for them is akin to a one-pointed Zen meditation.

I have come to understand that all things we may live for have but a finite time to manifest their existence in the energy forms that we perceive; and we may outlive that for which we live. That knowledge necessitates that we may have multiple things for which to live and/or that we be prepared to lose that for which we live and find another thing to take its place—much as remarrying after becoming a widower. . . . I continue my quest, albeit with a different mindset; I look to choose that for which I want to live.

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