The day I freed myself.

Rock Star Madonna

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.
Which I already did two days ago, but I was wrong.
And I need another message to correct.
A big one.

Dear Sara,

This is a hard email for me, because I know I switched courses over the last few weeks on multiple occasions.  I feel I may be disappointing you or that you may be uncomfortable with my choice to become a coach.
So I write this proudly owning my choices, and looking forward to my future for the first time in full confidence of who I am.
The recent switches, although messy, are the result of everything I learned working with you as a coach.
They’re not a sign the coaching didn’t work, or that I’m still lost.

This second message to you is a messy one, and I would rather have spared you and myself the past two months.
But in hindsight I see these last two months as the high-pressure cooker, that was necessary to make the changes and finalize a decision, I have been reversing for years.

Which is my decision to not be a professional yoga teacher anymore. Just do yoga for myself, and teach yoga to friends when I can.

My decision to quit is final this time, and marks the end of two months of misery. Or two and a half months, because there were two weeks before the turmoil in my personal relationships became visible, when the new truth could already be felt.
This decision means this period has now come to a conclusion.

There is a broader picture here, a direction where my writing has become more serious in recent years not because of the writing intensifying (which it hasn’t) but because under both my names as a writer, you can see me leaning into other forms of visual art and performance art.
You can see me incorporating the passing of time, documenting my life.

I see my decision to never be a yoga teacher again, at least not professionally, as making space to be an artist.
To let what started as mere writing in 2006, develop.

But the final three weeks have been unbelievably hectic.
I have changed a lot, before it came down to this. 

The first switch I made, three weeks ago, was my decision to quit my plans to start coaching. In fact I was a 100% sure I would not do it.
This was also the day I embraced being a writer and a yoga teacher.

But then I came back on my decision to not be a coach, and saw myself being a coach for Rock Stars, in full color and firing on all cylinders!
It was crystal clear.

It was a calling, a knowing, just like the yoga vision in 1998 which ultimately ended up tainted and I have not been able to hold true to that vision at all.
But this vision was also just like writing, which I did develop independently, and beautifully. All by itself. This particular vision to “coach” (will never use that word) was one I felt I had been preparing for my whole life.
It made me intensely happy.

And it was a heart felt business, but it was also a monetizable business. 
I knew I had struck gold, but soul gold, more than money gold.

So there was that first turn, from not wanting to be a coach to knowing I will. 

And then there was an addition of marketing, messaging and selling.
Basically the addition of wanting to monetize my writing and yoga, as the third pillar to my art.
At that point, I still saw myself as a writer and a yoga teacher, but I understood that doing my own marketing and having my fingers in the communication pie, the business side of those things, was equally important.
That writing was my art form of self-expression, yoga was my art form of self-expression, but building a business too, was an indispensable part of my art. I would never stop doing that.

And now I’ve come back on the yoga part;
I am not a yoga teacher. 
Teaching yoga could be a form of self-expression, but it isn’t yet. If I compare it to music I’d say that yoga-wise, I’m a skilled classical pianist. But if I would like to become Guns N’ Roses new keyboard player, I would have to start learning all over again.

Before yoga would be a form of self-expression, I would have to start all over again. 
Which in itself, is good enough reason to take yoga out of my mix of art forms, because all the schedules I made since late last year, they had zero time for writing.
My entire schedule consisted of:
writing for blogs that were marketing
making yoga videos
doing yoga
marketing/ social media, I had a couple of series I would post
And then I had to squeeze and timeblock to have hours I could bill.

I was getting increasingly jealous of artists who had a real craft. And the first thought when I had ditched the yoga teaching, was to think:
“I now have a real craft! I am a writer!”
And a speaker, and a coach- but I sell my time with the mindset of it being performance art, not like a service provider. Although I do know how I am going to coach, I have my “system” – but that is beside the point of this blogpost.
But taking yoga teaching, making yoga videos, sharing my yoga practice on social media, and the whole yoga mentor aspect of it, out of my future business was a huge relief. 

But I didn’t get to the decision because of my calendar and that it didn’t fit, and something had to give.
I got to finally being able to let yoga go, because of what happened in my personal relationships late last year. And that being a yoga teacher and feeling that I need to be “good”  and not take up too much room as an artist, were intrinsically tied to it.

In a way the reason the drama occured late last year was because I had limited myself to being a yoga teacher.
Because if I had stepped into my power sooner, maybe our fate would have been different.
But also: If I had become who I really was, then even if the relationship had failed, and I had lost the person, at least I would still have had myself.
Whereas now I lost the relationship but I also lost myself.

Feeling trapped being a yoga teacher, is the reason last year’s turmoil hit me so hard.

Because I kept myself small for them.
I wanted to be accepted, and not rock the boat, for them.
I stayed a yoga teacher, decade after decade, because I felt that was the only little stamp-sized space I was entitled to, if I wanted them in my life.

Late 2016 I met a business coach online, and I have been following her work ever since. And for a long time I thought she represented my dream to start making money with my yoga, but now I realize she represented financial freedom to me.
Financial freedom which, on my list, is second in my list of priorities.

  1. Love 2. Freedom. 3. Sex. 4. Self-expression 5. Body 6. Fun 7. Status

Sexual freedom and creative freedom are reinforced at 3 and 4, but financial freedom is only “mentioned” under 2.
My top 7 does not have a separate number for money or business. They are intrinsically implied in 2.

The dream I received in 2016, was not to have a successful yoga business, but to express myself through my business and to be financially free.
Value or priority 2: Freedom.
Which is only topped by “1”, Love, and not by
writing (self-expression 4).
And not by teaching yoga which was then (I thought) also still under (self-expression  4).

You could even say that my top 7, illustrates that I only have a top 2:
1. Love 2. Freedom

And that the only conflict is within “2”.
“Do I want financial freedom, more than freedom to self-express?”
And so on.
The answer is of course all forms of freedom are equally important to me. Financial freedom, sexual freedom, and creative freedom.

But again, I’m rationalizing. Because when I pulled the plug on yoga, it wasn’t because I saw that teaching yoga wasn’t an authentic artistic self-expression tool to me. 
The reason I could now suddenly part, after years, was because I realized that the personal relationship turmoil from late last year, has changed everything.

It has really proven to me, that holding back for family and for all those friends who liked me as a yoga teacher;
That it is all in vain.
They have all left me, or will ultimately leave me.
Or perhaps I left them, who is to say.

But the only choice I have, is if I want to die alone being the person I have pretended to be for 25 years;
Or die as who I really am.

A writer, an artist.

A rock star.

An unexamined life is not worth living

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