My husband recently asked me ‘How do I feel about turning 36?’ This interested me greatly as his tone was different and there was a different sense of curiosity to the question. I hesitated, yet ultimately couldn’t come up with anything different from any other year. I asked him why, he told me when he turned 36 that it really felt like he had become an adult. We laughed as he shared his experience of being an adult and how I was about to join him. Yet we both knew he was talking about something else, something deeper and more of a transition. It has really made me consider all that I have learnt to this point and what it is I am choosing to carry with me into the next stage of my life.
Each year I have a birthday it not only marks another year of being here on earth, as since I was 30 it also makes another year I have had my own business, Raw Yoga, a boutique yoga studio close to our home. The past 6 years of having this business and creating our own world in a sense has been the most transformative way of living, which I am incredibly grateful for.
Now as I reflect on my upcoming ‘adult’ life I wanted to share some of the things I have learnt, and what I initially thought was important to me has changed dramatically.
1. I have learnt how much I love human beings.
Funnily enough I kind of thought I did love human beings, hence the type of business I have. Yet after a few months/years of having a yoga studio and having to partake in small talk day in and day out I started to seriously resent humans. There have been many a time I prayed no one would come to class. It's fair to say I am a lucky girl who gets her prayers answered as this has happened on many occasions, great for my ‘avoiding human’ tendency’s, not so wonderful for cash flow through a small business.
What I realised, through many mistakes, many relationship breakdowns and well, my overall bad behaviour, was that I didn’t have very good personal boundaries. In fact I didn’t know what they were at all. Opening a business brings a whole different level of exposure and expectation along with the fact that so does teaching yoga. Aside from the fact that I have always been a person who would become close with people quickly and know many of their stories.
I think one of the hardest things I have had to come to terms with is how many relationship breakdowns I have had to experience so that I was able to truly learn the value of my personal relationships. For me to deeply understand and integrate what my own boundaries look like, and how to stand in them so others know where they are too.
To all of those beautiful people who I have been difficult with, who I have hurt, who I have let down or who I have not held very good boundaries for, I am deeply sorry, in the same breath, I am also deeply grateful for the profound teachers you have all been in my life. From my heart to yours, Thank you.
I still mess things up, yet at this exact point in my existence I can proudly say, I do know who I am, I know what my boundaries are, and I feel safe and grounded to share those with the people in my life. I now know when to rest, when to play, when to work. I enjoy people in a whole new way where work becomes play and play becomes a delicate balance filled with joy, laughter, depth, sadness, transformation and ultimately healing.
2. Money truly is something to be loved not feared.
For those of you who are living in the ’Spiritual/yoga’ world you may also understand the bizarre underground belief that money is the root of all evil. Well let's be real this belief could be found anywhere. Such a destructive belief indeed. What a way to sabotage your own success!
There are many reasons from my life that I held this very naughty little belief, mainly because I tend to be a little more rebellious, I could easily be seen as the ‘Black sheep’ of my family. My family have always been able to support me and growing up I never even considered money was an issue. It wasn’t that I wasn’t aware we had it, I just wasn’t aware other people didn’t have it.
I grew up and so did my outrage and confusion around how some people couldn’t even pay to live! I started to really resent money and all the divide it seemed to create. Weirdly it made me want to be poor so the world felt more fair. My Dad, my wise dad always said to me ‘Money won’t make you happy, but it definitely helps!’ This used to make me mad, yet as I have gotten older I can see all these pearls of wisdom my family gave me and just how true they are. Thanks Dad, how right you are. I am happy because I do what I love, I get to express myself, I adore my husband, my friends and the community I live in, and I like having money.
When it comes to running a yoga studio and taking money I felt very weird about this initially, because it was for my time - and hey guess what - It turned out I didn’t really value my time or my knowledge! This makes for a challenging interaction with someone, when they are trying to pay for classes. It sounds obvious, yet these things manifest in subtle and mysterious ways. I am grateful for all the ridiculous-ness I have waded through in regards to these beliefs and I am incredibly grateful to be at this point.
I still get a lot of support from my family, which allows me to live the life I dreamed of, I get to do the work I love and be creative in the ways I know how. This is not everyone’s journey but it is mine. Accepting the gifts and abundance that have been presented in my life has been a journey indeed. The studio now stands on its own two feet (with the loving support of my family to get it started).
Beliefs around money in our society come in many limiting forms, they cause suffering in great amounts especially around guilt, shame, resent, jealously, comparison etc. Being someone who has grown up with a level of abundance and still receives support I have had many of these difficult conversations. It really pulls on my own self-worth strings for sure. Hey look at me ‘I’m a trust fund - white woman, working on my passion project’. Yet at the end of the day I am a human being who has emotions, feelings, thoughts, I experience my own struggles, along with joy, anger, sadness, and bliss.
This is the life I was given and I am at a point where I choose to grab in by the horns for all its worth and actually enjoy it! Guilt free, shame free. Only full of love and gratitude to be the full, magical version of me. Money is energy like anything else, in most cases it exchanges hands to create a contract, I see the world as being a place where everyone can win, when we lead from love and act from integrity the world around us truly becomes a delightful place to live in together.
3. Respect the ones who have got your back.
My final and most important learning. There are not many of them for each of us. Yet the people who have your back are, in my humble opinion, angels sent from above. They are real life super heroes and I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. The studio itself started out as a dream I had, my husband was pretty recent on the scene and we started to cultivate it into ours, this too took a life of its own as we started training Yoga teachers. The community experience of our little studio exploded and all of these people have left such a profound lasting impression. There are a few of them who have stood by us in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
Through time, honest open communication and expression we have all fallen in love, firstly with a collective goal of existing in a beautiful community and secondly to each other as individuals. Seeing the vulnerability and love of another soul, gives rise to something beautiful. loyalty is created and a bond that feels so pure, even if the relationship disappeared the bond would still exist. To these people I love you, I would not be the same version of myself today if you were not in my life. Thank you for folding blankets, laughing with me, drinking coffee, hugging (even when we are not allowed), thank you for letting me practice my new ’tricks’ on you, thank you for taking us in when we needed somewhere to stay, mostly thank you for always turning up in such an honest and real way and always listening and loving. You all mean the world to me and I love you.
Then there are my parents, these days somewhat stepped back from my everyday reality. Yet I now see they are the back bone to my stability and the ability I have to authentically live a life that I am proud of, not for anyone else, for me. Thank you Mum and Dad for being by my side… even when I didn’t think you were. I am eternally grateful for everything you have done to give me this gift of life.
Then there are a very few beautiful friends that have been through it all, from when we were young and messy, they are the ones who change alongside me, without judgement or irritation. The ones who I can be far away from yet still feel such a deep connection too. To you my beautiful friends, we will always have each other and always have each other’s backs.
Lastly the human who has my back on a level I still get surprised by, my beautiful husband. What a bloody guy. Even better we met on Tinder! He came with two children and didn’t do yoga when I met him. Yet the first day we drank coffee together, I was in awe of his face, as it felt like I had never seen anything so perfect in my life. Such a funny feeling of profound beauty and yet so familiar all at the same time. I was waiting to see an angle of his face that was ‘ugly’, It still hasn’t happened 7 years later. He now, not only practices yoga, but teaches alongside me. Those children he came with, have become my beautiful step sons who I love dearly.
This man is my best friend, my accountability partner, my business partner, my lover, my carer, my biggest supporter, he would throw knives for me, he protects me, he teaches me things, he sits with me in my pain, he has walked beside me through my own healing journey. He has never told me I am too dramatic, or that I am too much, he has never told me I am trying to take all the attention or that I never stop talking. He always listens to me, his level of kindness and love is out of this world. To my beautiful John thanks for waiting for me to become an adult with you, walking along side you in this life is such a joy and a privilege. I am grateful every day that we get to create and share once again.
I truly can say the biggest thing I have learnt up till this point is; Recognise Love in your life, walk towards Love, say yes to Love. In whatever form that is. Let Love, let life, light your soul of fire!
Run toward the excitement and joy and always appreciate those people that have your back.