Yes, you read that correctly. I quit my job, spent the summer living in a tent in the backcountry, then moved my entire life to Montana, where there aren’t boundless opportunities to distract myself from getting on with my life. I knew approximately three people. I do not own a car. I am very much out of my element.
When I arrived, the first thing I did was get busy. It’s how I operate. I don’t know how to do it any other way.
I unpacked my two very large suitcases. I made my bed. I moved the furniture around and I feng-ed my shui. I settled in. And then, when I couldn’t think of another thing to do, I looked around my room, felt the tears begin well up behind my eyelids, plunged my face into my hands and began to sob.
“What the fuck have I done?” I said aloud to no one.
I was in total and complete limbo. I didn’t have a full-time job starting to distract me, I didn’t have a gaggle of girlfriends to take me out to brunch, and for the first time in my life, my dance card for the week was completely empty.
The truth is, I moved to Montana for exactly that reason. I wanted to live a life completely different from what I had been living. I wanted to explore the wilderness and not wear a suit everyday. I wanted to vote in a red state, and understand what it means politically, intellectually, and socially to not live on a coast.
But in those first few days, I was afraid. I was so scared because my life, at that moment, was not flowing seamlessly from life change to life change. I had moved to a place where I didn’t have a gajillion friends to call up at a moment’s notice. I didn’t have a community, or any full-time employment. It was the first time that I had acknowledged to myself that I had leapt out of the window and I had to start to grow some wings or else I would crash ungracefully into the ground.
The truth is that the wing-growing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work, discipline, a shitload of self-evaluation, and the willpower to not get distracted because being distracted is easier than feeling lost. It takes maturity and the ability to see the forest through the trees.
But most of all, it takes time.
When I was 22, I hated New York City for the first year that I lived there because I felt that I didn’t belong. I was not equipped to handle life in the biggest city in the world. I spent a lot of nights sobbing into my hands, asking myself what the fuck I had done. And the week I moved out of my last apartment there, I sobbed into my hands again, and asked myself why the fuck I was leaving.
Change unearths us. We get shaken up emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually and we hope to Buddha that when the dust settles, we’ll be a stronger, wiser version of our already perfect selves. Unfortunately for our slightly neurotic brains, it takes more time than we’d like for that dust to get nice and comfy on the floor of our lives. It seems to settle just around the time we’re itching for another change.
This week, yogis, I’m challenging you to take it a bit slower than you normally would. I want you to get on your mats, or on your beds, or in a park and sit there and remember that you have had experiences and they have shaped you. If you’re going through a big life change or a bit of a hard time or you have some tough decisions that you are in the midst of making, slow down a bit and know that the answers will come, the story will unfold, albeit less quickly than I’m sure we’d all like.
Try to just take it slow for a while and remember that life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. There will be aches and pains and you’ll want to quit. You’ll want to hurl your yoga blocks against the wall and crawl under the covers for a week. But when you get out, life will still be there, ready to go on when you are. Self-discovery, your perfect life, the best friend group in the world doesn’t happen immediately. It takes a long, slow lifetime.
How is it going this week, yogis? Is anyone in the middle of some big life changes that they’re anxious about? Do tell, I’d love to hear about it!