This summer, I left the yoga studio I’d opened more than three and a half years earlier. Even though I wasn’t paid for my efforts beyond the wages I earned teaching classes, I managed the studio because I loved it.
Then, an opportunity to open another new studio landed in my lap. A local couple offered to pay me well for management work, give me equity in the business and many unfathomable benefits like paid trainings. I was stoked. I had crazy dreams about what this new venture would become.
I spent the summer finding locations, developing the schedule, researching studios in the market and in similar cities. I pestered, surveyed, requested, and queried anyone who would answer me. We found a location. We developed our financial plan. We were talking to lawyers to cultivate the LLC. It was all coming along quite swimmingly, albeit slowly.
And then we got stuck.
One of the investors/partners I was about to sign paperwork with looked me in the eye in one meeting as I was excitedly chatting about my upcoming festival appearance and said, “You know all this moonlighting is about to have to stop.”
I felt the air catch in my throat. Inside my head the word moonlighting reverberated. Not one to rock the boat in a beautiful arrangement of my dreams, I nodded. But I felt a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach.
Surely he doesn’t mean all of these endeavors I’ve worked so hard to build — the festivals, the conferences, the writing, the workshops, the retreats … Surely he doesn’t mean that I can’t do those things?
But I said nothing. I focused on the task at hand — getting the job done, praying silently that this issue would resolve itself, that it would all work out exactly the way it was supposed to.
But it didn’t. Well, it didn’t go the way I expected it to at least.
We continued to disagree about my time spent away from the studio. I knew things were about to unravel. My investor/partner’s wife, also soon to be my partner, also got involved in the conversation. She could see both sides but still, we could not see eye-to-eye on the scenario. So it was decided that it would be best if we dissolved the idea entirely. Tears were shed and hugs were shared. It was done consciously and with love. It was not a question of right and wrong. It was simply a question of aligning expectations. And we just couldn’t get there.
And just like that, I was jobless.
As I drove away from the meeting, I cried tears of hot shame and humiliation. I could hear the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee in my head saying, “You left your job. You abandoned your former studio and look what happened. That’s what you get for being so disloyal. What a jackass you are! How are you going to pay your bills now?”
I took a deep breath and reached for a better thought instead. I drove to my mother’s grave, sat down beside her burial spot and cried. It was raining but I didn’t care.
I said silently to myself, I want to create a place of healing. I want to create a space where people can thrive, where they can feel supported, where they can come to connect with others and be in a state of joy, love, and kindness. I want to manifest a piece of the Divine.
I asked the Universe for guidance and then I imagined holding mom’s hand. I imagined looking into her soothing eyes and hearing her say to me that she saw me at my highest potential — as nothing else. I let the comfort of those words embrace me.
I left the cemetery and returned to my family. I looked at my husband and said, “Well, I guess I’m teaching privates solely now.” I opened up my day planner and picked up my phone.
And so I did. That week, I taught 12 privates, using a fellow teacher’s local space that she graciously allowed me to call home for a small percentage share of my profits.
A few weeks later, at the request of former regular clients who couldn’t afford privates, I started gathering a larger group of 10 or so folks for a small class in the space I was using.
I sent a text to a friend of mine who I thought would want to attend. She said, “So this is great. Thanks for including me. But what’s your big picture vision?” I told her what was up and how I was handling it. She said, “I might have an idea for you…”
It turns out she and her husband were coordinating the development of an entire complex dedicated to helping the community by giving back to the health and wellness side of life. There would be a basketball gym for local little leagues and YMCAs to use. At the back end of the gym, there sat 1700 unclaimed square feet — a building encased in copper, with hardwood floors surrounded by windows. There was hope for a yoga studio there. When I walked in, my heart soared. I would make this my new studio sanctuary.
I called my husband and I called my father. Everyone was in awe of how great this new development was. I went to bed in a state of pure gratitude.
When I woke the next day, I asked the Universe for a sign to let me know that I was moving in the right direction.
I got up and took my son and daughter to school. Afterwards, I was driving to the site of the new studio to meet with a friend and get her opinion. And there was a rainbow. The rainbow appeared to be generated from the copper building where the new studio was going to be. I started giggling. Not only is copper a healing metal, but there was also a friggin’ rainbow! And I kid you not, that rainbow never dissipated.
When I exited the building a short while later the rainbow was gone, but the message was still clear.
I signed the lease on my new yoga studio, which I hope to have open within the next month. I am so excited to co-create healing magic in this beautiful, amazing, gorgeous space that I could not have dreamt up because it’s just so perfect. I am so grateful for the opportunity and steeped in admiration for this life. I learned so much throughout this experience, especially how not to be swept away by shame. I had to keep reaching for hope instead. It paid off. I encourage you to try it.
I also learned to be accountable for my actions, but still kind to myself. I wanted to hide behind lies about how I was a victim or how everything was still underway. But I didn’t. I owned the scenario and my part in it. I owned it with grace, perhaps the first time I’ve ever done that in my life. I owned it without beating the shit out of myself while doing so.
I learned to lessen my need to control the situation and trust in the Universe. I kept up a constant, steady dialogue with the Universe and focused on what I wanted, not what I didn’t want.
I hope these ideas can help you in your efforts to live your best life. You are worth it. We all are.
written by rebecca butler