Some of my story…
Peer into the past by just about fourteen years and life for me looked radically different. I lived in San Francisco then and instead of residing in stretchy pants (like I do now) you’d most often find me in a business suit and uncomfortable heels talking to someone about something financial. Most of my days were spent in an office on the 28th floor of Four Embarcadero Center in the Financial District.
From the outside looking in, all may have seemed fine and like things were flowing generally well in my life. I had a high-profile career and I lived in a nice apartment in a great neighborhood just off of Union Street. I had a fun, sporty car to get me around town and overall life was full, with long-time friends and plenty of trouble to get into with them. But the truth is, I was desperately unhappy, I felt lost inside and very alone. Outside of the relationships I built, the financial work itself meant very little to me. In fact, I came to loathe going in to the office at all. Anxiety was high and I felt a heaviness most of the time. I got some help there from a temporary friend named Paxil. This was just another indication of how “off” things were. I needed serotonin uptake inhibitors to get through the days.
Simply put, I was living an ill-aligned life, often pretending to be so many things that I was not, pretending to care about things I did not care about at my core. And, I believe that’s why the word “alignment” in yoga has such depth of meaning for me, more than just the aesthetics of a posture but how does this posture, this situation, this person, this experience, this job make me FEEL? One of the definitions of alignment is, “a position of agreement or alliance.”
I’ve become a better witness, a better observer. I ask myself often, “do I feel in agreement with my body, my mind, my heart, my soul?” How can I find greater ease, space, fortification, lightness, and flow in my life in general? Can I choose things that bring me mental and physical health, as well as, balance, peace, presence, acceptance, self love? Life will always present challenges but we get information along the way, we KNOW when we are living in accordance with our deeper purpose, our sense of Self, our personal values. Yoga reminds us that our true essence is joy. And, if we are not joyful can we discover what is getting in the way of that joy? A diamond is still a diamond when it’s covered with mud. We get the opportunity to observe ourselves and assess…this mud that is getting in the way of my true essence, how do I free myself from it?
That’s kinda how I got here. I realized a thing or two or ten HAD to change. I’m simplifying it here…as it continues to be a dedicated process. But for all intents and purposes, I made a decision in 2005 to leave my job in San Francisco, move to Portland and soon after enroll in yoga teacher training. I’ve been practicing these tools and sharing them ever since.
The journey continues, and the layers of mud get thinner while I go on observing, balancing and aligning as best I can.
Alignment. It can be a very good thing.