A Statement of Gratitude & Growth…

“Praise precedes faith.”

~Abraham Heschel

Right away, I should mention that the inspiration for this statement of gratitude and growth–is my feeling of disappointment and futility.   Steeped in this feeling of “lack,” it occurred to me that it was time to take a good look back–to see just how far I’ve traveled since beginning this life journey in earnest–three+ years ago.

This gratitude idea was seconded by a teaching from the well-known career author Tama Kieves who I turned to in my deep discouragement (with flickers of hope.) And, it was “thirded” by my spririt.  But it wasn’t until now, after facing a morning YogaDance class of 2, that I am settling into it.

So in the face of Swine flu, in the face of friends (and friends of friends) with cancer–another whose life partner has died and left her three children without a father–other families in crisis with their teens–a global economic crisis–and our own personal financial strain–I turn toward the art of GRACE in the practice of GRATITUDE in awareness of GROWTH… in an attempt to stay TRUE to myself and my work and my light while carrying out the day to day human act.

YogaDance

SO…  well, WOW… amazing to think that from the blank canvass of “Who can I be?” that I found  a Kripalu YogaDance (KYD) Instructor who teaches 4 classes a week to people of all ages.

As a pioneer with KYD,  I’ve gone beyond my training and said “YES”  to exploring this form of movement and music with preschoolers and elementary aged children.  I’ve also used my talents and new resources to provide music for a wedding; a local campaign party, a workshop, and an all school event.  Additionally others have asked about future collaborations in teaching and consulting, as well as in celebrations.

All of this has evolved in the past two years since I began my training at Kripalu.  The story of how I came to visit Kripalu for the first time that previous December–and returned that spring to become a KYD instructor–is a hero’s journey for sure.

In this journey, I’ve realized a spoken dream of living in song and answered a yearning for expressive movement in my life.  Over a hundred classes later, I continue to be amused that I’m the one creating play lists for a living, getting dressed in stretchy pants, donning a headset, and leading  handfuls of others in play while I have fun and get a workout myself.  Astounding.

Brainstorm: Let the money and the participants be a gift, not an expectation.  Stay connected to that which I enjoy–the music, the movement, the offering–let the rest come or do what it may–without my attachment.

Coaching

Interestingly, I was in the midst of exploring training options  in the field of coaching when I took the sudden detour to Kripalu for YogaDance.  I knew it didn’t make “sense,” but it was all about the voice of my heart and soul–and so,  I (mostly) trusted that it would lead to something.

It was during the fall of 2006 (during my 3 month writing sojourn) that I settled into coaching as a career option.   And yet, I  postponed any decisions until I had more certainty.

I did, however, exit the field of education and boldly took a job in organizational development–in order to get an inside feeling for one aspect of the coaching/consulting profession–and be paid for it– rather than head back to school prematurely; and then pay for it for a long, long time.

This experience with business coaching let me know that I was more interested in personal work, but I took another detour by taking a leadership role in spiritual education–just as I completed my YogaDance training.

Just a few months into this new role, coaching stirred inside me again, and I somewhat magically found myself back Kripalu studying coaching–exactly a year after my very first visit there.

During that coaching intensive, I reconnected with my passion for YogaDance and discovered that in many ways, I was a natural coach who had already developed a large amount of skill, including the rooted practice of NVC (non-violent communication.)

When I returned home, I decided to begin working with “practice” clients to “feel out” the profession even more.   Within a month, I was solicited by a paying client by word of mouth.

As I finished up my year as Director of the Religious Education Program, clients continued to trickle in and continued to do so through the fall–with a consulting contract, a writing client and a handful of new coaching clients.

As winter ’09 approached, I began to feel my growing (and predictable) discomfort with the one-on-one aspect of coaching, as well as the demands of scheduling.  Knowing that this aspect of coaching wouldn’t be a fit for me was in large part what kept me from immersing myself in an extensive training program.

Additionally, my work with clients ended up being very deep rather than practical–which was powerful–but so subtle that it left my ego wanting for more measurable success.  But the more directed and practical work with clients did not flow as well, and neither was that an aspect of myself that I wanted to develop any further.

Most of all, marketing to two areas of self-employment (YogaDance and coaching) was tiring and depleting. I didn’t like putting myself out there–over and over again; and though it was often a creative and self-generating process, it left little inspiration for writing.

I continued to work on short writing pieces as I always had, but my original idea was to let coaching and YogaDance support a larger act of writing which hadn’t happened while managing a business.

Writing

By January of this year, 2009,  I came up against the desire to throw in the self-employment towel and return to the classroom as an assistant–and voila a “perfect” job appeared. In the process of applying, I realized that my ego was very attracted to the clarity of being chosen.

In a soul-defining moment, I decided against “the job” realizing that my need for autonomy and self-direction was paramount (“Administrate my own passion”) and also realizing that what I was seeking with this “job”–was a “pause” from the demands of self-employment.

With the onset of winter roads and then the impassable muddied ones, I took that pause, or it took me.  My coaching practice dried up and I delightfully used the freed up time to immerse myself in the bin of journals that had been waiting in the basement.

For weeks, I passionately devoured them, reading from morning till night.   The  next step–to begin writing–was daunting, but to my delight, once begun, it also flowed as easily as the reading.

It is this place that I find myself now–seesawing between flowing inspiration and anxiety-ridden concern for the practical.  After facing our budget during tax preparation, I put out a inspired coaching piece and got nibbles, but no bites.

As I immerse myself in writing, we continue to grow financially strained in more and more directions.  The tax return was not enough of a boost and other issues have emerged:  an old car, growing boys, health costs, the need to let loose, etc.

And while we are very blessed to have my husband’s teaching contract renewed (after extended unemployment), his choppy mid-life currents create additional uncertainty. Craving the comfort of security, I decide, yet again to take a part-time job in the classroom, and voila, exactly what I want appears in the newspaper.

This gives me pause and I wonder, is it really what I want?

What I want to know is this–Is it possible to stay inspired and flowing with my writing while giving out energy in the classroom?  Would education be a better fit than marketing to both coaching and YogaDance?  Are there other options?  Is there something that could provide stability of mind and finances to allow flow of heart and soul?

Thus I explore this exercise in gratitude for what has come as I endeavor to move forward–from inspiration rather than exasperation.

In typing these words, my computer freezes and has to be restarted and miraculously recovers all but this burning question:

CAN I OFFER MY GIFTS AS A TEACHER & COACH THROUGH THE ACT OF WRITING?

And to that I add this:

IS THERE SPACE FOR THAT IN OUR FAMILY, FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY?  AND IF NOT, HOW CAN THAT BE MANAGED? IS THERE A WAY FOR ME TO GET AN “ADVANCE” CONTRACT ON SOME ASPECT OF MY WORK TO SUPPORT IT?

Addendum:

I have just been offered one day a week as a sub in the kindergarten for the rest of the year–solving my immediate need for income and stability.

Move aside marketing, come on writing.  Stay the course, Kelly.

One step at a time, let things come…

Stop waiting for your work to show you how good you are and let it simply be you–offering the gift that was given to you to give to others.

As Tama says,

Stand in the integrity of knowing you have something to offer.”

and this,

“It’s something you allow to happen, not make happen.”

and this,

“Start telling yourself that you’re doing it right for you. Start blessing what you are doing…  The more you listen to yourself, the more energy you’ll have…

Get in touch with inspiration… it will turn into action, choosing again, and again to stay with what you know, what you believe.

…and they’re not separate–inspiration and the practical

Take an instinctive path in this world

Stay with it moment and moment, keep listening and you’ll know what you’ll do.”

April 2009

(Exactly a year later, this challenge of balance presents itself again, click here for: the Sacred Act of Change.)

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