In exactly two weeks I will be leaving the Oakland airport and flying to Las Vegas, where two of my best friends from college will be picking me up. We are planning to climb at Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, Bishop, Yosemite, Tuolumne (weather dependent!), Tahoe, the Lost Rocks, maybe Orgeon?, hopefully Utah?, and it looks like I’ll have to be really careful with money because it would just be great to go pick up my heart in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, because that’s where I left it last summer.
We are going to live in Alex’s Subaru and hopefully not drive each other insane.
I won’t be gone for as long as last spring/summer, because draining all of my money and leaving my jobs for months at a time isn’t really an option. I’m planning on going to grad school in the fall, for somatic psychology, all dependent upon my getting accepted into the program and what happens in life between now and then and if I can actually commit to being in the Bay Area for three years.
I always feel somewhat torn about leaving, but this time I feel it more than usual. I am actually really loving the Bay Area, being so close to my family, my friends here, the climbing, working at the climbing gym, doing freelance social media work (contact me if you or anyone you know needs a social media consultant!), and I am especially loving teaching yoga. For a while I was kind of fighting with the fact that my life was so messy–working 4+ jobs and still not getting paid enough to be able to move out of my mom’s house, balancing a social life with work, and some other, more honest issues that aren’t so politically correct and that I won’t be sharing on the world wide web. But I’ll give you some hints: boys (or am I at an age where I should be referring to them as men?), things that have happened in my past that I still struggle with, and family stuff.
And, of course, figuring out the what the hell I am going to do with my life.
As a yoga teacher, writer, lover of psychology and movement and helping people heal and healing myself and learning about why people do the things they do, I am constantly looking to answer. To solve. To know why. And as climbers we do this constantly–if we can’t do a certain climb, we wonder why. We search, sometimes obsessively, to figure it out, to crack the code. We are constantly evaluating. And in yoga, bless its heart, there is always an underlying feeling that if something isn’t working in your life, you should change it. While this is mostly true and definitely valuable, what about the concept that all of yoga is based on–that we are already perfect?
This is something I have struggled with for years, and something that I think yoga teachers (myself included, I’m sure) do a really shitty job of explaining. In one breath we talk about how you are already perfect, in the next we preach about how you should probably let go of all that stuff that is keeping you from being perfect. Yeah…what?
I think the question becomes: how do we find a healthy balance of working hard to change our behaviors that are making us suffer, and accepting that there are some things that we cannot change and embracing the messiness that is inherent of being alive? A balance of action and surrender, of doing and not doing, of movement and stillness.
I’m good at the “action” side of the spectrum. I’ll be the first one in Bishop, on my yoga mat, or with a pen in hand when something is bothering me. I weirdly love doing these kinds of things, I enjoy the process of healing. Of course, sometimes the actual feelings that come along with it are not something I love, but I am always grateful, because healing reminds me that I am alive and that’s always a good thing these days.
After a good bit of action in these past months–trips to Bishop, climbing a lot, writing a lot, running, working my ass off, meditating almost every day, doing yoga, forgiving people, confronting people, apologizing, and eating well–I have come to the hilariously ironic realization that sometimes it is okay, more than okay, to just allow your life to be a shit show. That all of this fighting and trying and acting is good, but not when it starts to exhaust you. And that’s what I was feeling up until just a few weeks ago–completely exhausted.
The main question I had been struggling with these past months is whether or not I should go on another climbing trip. Mainly because of my job teaching yoga, because leaving my students makes me feel selfish sometimes. Thankfully all of my yoga students are really understanding of this, because they are all really awesome, and some of them have even given me their blessing to leave. But I still feel guilty. I still kind of hate that I love something so much that is inherently selfish (climbing). I feel guilty leaving all of my jobs, my family, and my friends. Even if I’m gone for two days, I experience some amount of guilt. So I had been working really hard to figure out whether or not I should even go, every day I questioned myself, weighed out the pros and the cons, thought about it obsessively until I was exhausted. And even when I would sleep, I would have dreams of climbing in beautiful places but then having to stop mid-route because I was late to a yoga class that all of my students had showed up for.
The whole time, I knew deep down that I wanted to go on the climbing trip. I think I even knew that I would end up going no matter what. Perhaps all of the questioning was just to distract me from the guilt I was feeling. Yeah, seems about right.
But now, I feel better. I’ve accepted the fact that I feel guilty, that I want to go climbing and it is okay that I want to go climbing. I have found a nice balance of action and inaction, of trying really hard and not giving a shit. Now I’m just straight up excited, ready to climb, to live outside, ready to feel the guilt and to miss home, to trust my choices. Because it’s all part of the process of healing, of living. And it’s all okay.