a new job


Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? 

Lose Yourself by Eminem

Not quite the scenario I’ve been presented with but an apt lyrical representation in some ways.

The studio where I study and teach shuts its door at the end of the month. My friend and teacher, Jade, has chosen to step away and spend more time with her children and seek saner employment opportunities. She offered those of us who teach there the opportunity to take the studio over, and regretfully, I passed.

Timing is one of those serendipitous things. It introduced Rob and I to each other and brought Dee and I to Canada. It has afforded me with writing opportunities and yoga study and teaching opportunities that someone with my background shouldn’t likely have had. But it didn’t show up for this one.

I love the studio. It’s compact, elegant and well-situated. Sitting above a used bookstore (yes, the one I toyed briefly with buying) and sandwiched between a seedy pub and a liquor store, it fits the stereotypical ideal of city yoga studios everywhere. How often have you run across yoga springing forth from the seedy remains of crumbling downtowns like saplings stubbornly taking root in the cracks of sidewalks.

Even as strip malls and newer shopping plazas spring up on the other side of the highway, the town is determined to lure folks back to the former city center with a massive overhaul, repaving the streets, putting in wider sidewalks and creating a pedestrian plaza just a block away. The area improves with each year and there are signs that small businesses, at any rate, have taken notice and are moving into the empty retail slots at a heartening pace though not all have succeeded.

So location? The studio has that covered.

The rent, though I didn’t ask, is probably reasonable based in the information I acquired when I was checking out the bookstore.

And there is a need and a student base, but I am not naive about either. The former fluctuates with the weather, and the latter is a personality thing. Jade has a loyal following but it wouldn’t necessarily switch allegiance. When you are the product in a sense, you can’t “sell” that along with the physical aspects of your business.

Why not then?

Because any type of “fitness” oriented business is subject to the time constraints of those who use it. Shift work rules around here, so early mornings and evenings are prime time. I have a husband and child who expect me about in the early morning and evenings to accommodate them. As it is, teaching just three nights a week this past nine months has been strain enough. If I were to add more?

Rob’s enthusiasm factors as well and he couldn’t offer much when I told him about the studio.

“You’re not thinking about doing it, are you?”

He is my most ardent supporter, but he can be forgiven his self-interest. My working hinders more than it helps our bottom-line and that was never more evident than when we filed our Canadian taxes this year. And my not being around in the evenings shifts the burden of Dee’s activities to him alone in terms of carting her about and cheerleader duty.

One of the reasons behind Jade’s decision was the fact that she was missing hockey games and that precious four hours from the time kids get home from school until they are tucked in for the night. I know that many two income families live quite happily in the nano-bits snatched in the before and after school allotments. They pack everything that doesn’t conveniently fit into the week into a 48 hour weekend, but as I remember that life – it takes a toll.

And then there are the crucial factors. I don’t know anything about running a business, and freelancing more seriously this last year has taught me that the rules, which govern me from afar, are more complex and onerous than I knew.

Finally, I don’t know that I am ready to “be the teacher”. Sure, I teach yoga, but under the umbrella of the studio, which affords me credibility. I am unsure that I possess the experience and knowledge – or radiate the gravitas –  that one needs to in order to “be the studio owner” – to be THE teacher.

Regardless, it’s hard to let this one slip even though I know that there are good reasons for doing so.


Example of the idyllic impression of a snowed-...

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It snowed. I am sanguine to near total zen about it. Rob reminded me that last year’s final snow dump occurred on May 4th, which I don’t recall, but I do remember the walloping we took in early April after the ground was all but clear. Spring ditch rivers run close to the road and given the decided lack of shoulder on the rural roads, slipping off is not a preferred option.

No progress beyond cabinet installation as far as the reno goes. The man took measurements for the counter top, but it won’t be ready for another week at least, so there goes my dreams of Easter in semi-complete house. If we are even close to complete by May Long, I will be surprised. I am beyond ready to be done and Rob is so far past that point that he idly toyed with the idea of checking out a house that is for sale in Ardrossan – nearer to a rail track than the house we live in now. The trains run only early morning and late night in J’berg but Ardrossan is a main track with long rumbling parades of cars rolling through continually. If you ever watched my husband’s slow burn reaction to a train – anywhere it impedes his progress or makes noise – you would recognize that his level of reno fatigue is off the charts.

Mick has been full of news of late. We took her mother’s piano into the city for her last weekend and discovered, not to my surprise at all, that she was dating. And yesterday she let Rob know that she will finally be able to escape the kitchen work that has been steadily threatening to leave her fingerless. Through the machinations of one of her dubious friends, she is now employed as the IT girl for a company in the city. We are worlds of pleased for her because the digit injuries were concerning and it’s always nice when one’s child finds gainful employment that has meaning.

And I have an opportunity to submit a small piece to a dating book that will be published soon. The author writes a weekly advice column for the wives and girlfriends of widowers. I have written about it  before,  but he planned to take the blog stuff and turn it into a self-published e-book.  However, he is under contract to a publisher and they claimed dibs.  He was  surprised.  I wasn’t.  Self-help sells and niche dating stuff, especially written by a man for women, sells bigger.

Rob was puzzled, “Who would read a book about dating widowers?”

If I wasn’t so versed in the dating advice/self-help genre, I would wonder that myself, but I also know my fellow females and we, sadly, are prone to trying to coax pig’s ears into silk status. Therefore, we will read anything that we think might help us save loser relationships.

Harsh? By the time one gets to the point where an advice book is one’s only hope, one should have walked away long ago.

The truth is that men are not so complicated where dating and marriage are concerned, and they are like women in that they will change only when they see clear benefit that doing so is advantageous for them. You can’t change anyone or analyze a bad relationship into a good one.

But, Abel’s advice is common sense. He doesn’t pull punches or blow sunshine up bums.

His publisher wanted more stories about some specific post widow dating stuff, but I couldn’t find Rob and I in any of them. We just really didn’t have issues that harkened back to dead spouses in a grief-related way. Unsurprisingly, given current grief cultures Ayn Randian emphasis on “I am grieving so my needs always come first” advice that widowed folk are spoon fed by the various books and online self-help aimed at them, dating a widowed person has probably never been more confusing for those who haven’t been widowed themselves. They like to compare a widowed past to a divorced one but it’s too apples to oranges for analogies to match up really, but I am in total agreement with the non-widowed’s view that “your dead wife does not get top billing in our relationship and your grief issues are not a trump card to play whenever you want to get your way”. I also am behind the idea that children and in-laws should be kept out of relationships just as they were previously*.

Abel though thought I could just offer an overview of how Rob and I “made it work”. In 500 words or less. You laughed? So did I. Brevity is not my middle name

I don’t know that Rob and I “made” anything work. Relationships are work of a kind, and anyone who doesn’t think so is a fool, but you can’t make love be if both people aren’t on the same page and willing to throw absolutely everything on the table and make it all about the other person. I doubt that most people who are already having issues would be willing to follow the road map that worked for Rob and I, and indeed was quite similar to the one Will and I traversed.

And that’s about it. Employment continues to vex me. I am marginally invested in the blogging gig but covering current events wearies me and I fear for my karma. I listen to others talking about new jobs or watch as they pursue business ventures and am a bit jealous. Every vacant storefront begs me to speculate. A neighbor recently opened her own saloon across the street from the yoga studio. Edie and Silver are making plans to start an industrial plastic recycling venture. Jade, at the studio, is talking expansion. I have no ideas. She suggested volunteering at the schools and getting back into the classroom, but it’s not an idea that sparks anything inside me.

I think a lot about asking the domain owner if I can try reviving Moms Speak Up. Or even starting a site of my own so I can blog events rather than go the journalist approach which chafes and isn’t my best or favored writing style. I just don’t know.

But it’s time to get to Yin class. Yin is good for snowy Fridays when one has a cold (again) and is standing at the crossroads wishing it was really spring.

*But I realize that some people have always allowed children top billing and put up with meddling in-laws and often death simply magnifies this bad training. People should run away from those who allow any of this, imo.


Kevala Jnana of Mahavira

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The business of yoga enveloped me the past couple of days. In many ways, teaching yoga and teaching public school has much in common. Paperwork. Association dues. Insurance, though I have to admit I never once carried a liability policy in my twenty years of teaching and coaching children.

And there is the money side.

Yes, yoga isn’t all asana and heavy breathing. Perhaps the yogis of Patanjali‘s time wandering like minstrels or jongleurs, spreading enlightenment for table scraps and a night’s lodging, but yoga teachers today would have a difficult time getting anyone to take them seriously if they wandered the streets of Edmonton pushing shopping carts and setting up their mats on the sidewalks of Whyte Ave.

It’s interesting (my catchall phrase for when I don’t have all my opinions in a row on something) how the yoga teaching has fallen into place. I’d anticipated filling in here and there and maybe having a class at the studio in town to call my very own. Not what has happened.

I have three classes at the studio and two more to start at the community hall across the street in October. I’ve turned down other offers for work since yesterday afternoon. Stuff I would have taken if not for the fact that I have other stuff already that conflicts.

Another graduate of the training who I keep in touch with remarked on how lucky I am to not have to run work down and I am reminded of something related to the practice of asana/poses – that we are to find “ease” in each posture.

If that is the goal of yoga than it is also the goal of life because I have learned that yoga and life have nearly everything in common.


How Yoga Teachers Hang Out

Image by sarahfelicity via Flickr

I resigned from my teaching position of twenty years in the spring of 2007. At the time, I had vague notions of rolling over my teaching certificate and working as a classroom teacher in Alberta. I still think about the license – need to get on that really – but the idea of teaching high school again doesn’t warm my insides.

So I semi-officially retired from teaching. I still read about the horror known as “reform” down in the states and I write about it (none too flatteringly which would make it hard to secure a teaching position down there again, methinks), but I don’t harbor any notions of returning.

When I left the building, I didn’t look back.

Okay, I still love office supplies, but that aside, I don’t miss the job of it. And it was a job. A thankless and mostly mind-numbing job as the years ground on.

I blogged. I wife’d the house, mothered the child and poured myself into myself and my husband. And life was very good.

But somewhere along the line, yoga arrived and then the urge to teach it followed, and now I am not exactly retired anymore. In fact, I am working – more and more.

What started with filling in at the studio here and there became an employment opportunity when I was offered one then two and now three classes of my own. Quickly on the heels of this came an offer to teach two nights a week at the community hall across the street. Add to this the fact that I’d already agreed to take every third Friday teaching a class for figure skaters in the next town over.

Between this and the Care2 gig – I am working again.

Not that I could pay the mortgage – which isn’t an issue because we don’t have one anyway – but it’s an exchange of skills for money. I haven’t done this in a while and it’s … interesting.

I had to shop. My yoga attire is not exactly Lululemon. I gave her up a while ago because the pants are too low-cut and the fabric doesn’t breathe enough for my comfort level. I am a capri’s and leggings type with long t’s and sweaters. Layers is the middle-aged woman’s best friend.

I have a lesson book. I write out sequence plans. It’s like the old days only everyone who shows up wants to be there and pays attention.

Not that many are showing up. It’s not my studio. People who come expect Jade. And why not? She’s good. So my classes have a couple of folks here and there. It’s a bit disappointing in the first few minutes but once I start to teach, I lose myself in the instruction and forget about the numbers.

The community hall class will be bigger. Nine registered officially and a few more who’ve verbally committed. Perhaps I can lure a few into the studio? It’s a goal; I won’t deny it.

Someday I will have a studio. Somewhere. I don’t think it will be soon or here, but the future – as Yoda pointed out to Luke – is a difficult thing to pin down for prediction purposes.

For now, I am a working girl again. That’s all I need to know.


Saturday morning I went into the “office” and began my new “job”.

It’s teaching. Nothing really new or different about it. Aside from the distinct lack of office supplies which totally doesn’t feed my need to periodically wander the aisles of Staples. I will have to find other excuses and I am sure I am up to the task.

But it didn’t feel like work. Not that teaching ever really felt like actual work. I’ve had jobs that were work in the sense that they didn’t matter, contributed nothing that wouldn’t be missed and basically contributed to the atrophy of my intellect.

So, I know what “work” is.

Teaching yoga? Not work.

I feel like I’ve discovered some great scam and yet, I am doing something for people and furthering my own journey.

The class went well. My timing bites, but it’s a learned thing and I will learn.

Interesting aside. After I locked up for the morning, I headed to the parking lot via the back stairs and as I approached the bottom, I stepped into a thick residual haze of pot vapors.

The young fella minding the skater shop across the way had just returned from a snack run up those stairs. Now there is the perfect teen job, eh?

But it was a good morning.


YOGA! July challenge

Image by lululemon athletica via Flickr

I’ve been catching up on work today due to a near two-week bout with what turned out to be an infected tooth. What I thought was asthma and a possible sinus infection was actually an abscessed molar.

Two trips to the doctor, four blood tests, a chest x-ray, 2 ekg’s, three antibiotics and a four-hour stint in the ER on a Sunday night (worth its own post) later, I am back to the dentist in a few hours to begin the root canal.

Today, at least, I can sit up long enough to get a bit of backlogged work accomplished. Between Rob’s heart-attack, Mom’s visit and then this tooth thing, I’m woefully behind on the yoga – practice and preparation for teaching.

I need business cards and a new blog plus the time to prep for two classes. I should get the proof for the cards today or tomorrow. The blog is underway. But I still have a bit of reading to do for the Restorative  Yoga class and have to thumb through my Yoga Works notes for the Flow/Vinyasa class on Saturday.

On the business side of yoga, I received a call from the neighbor across the street about teaching a twice weekly class at the community hall. If it works out, I could be teaching four classes a week this fall session. Very exciting.

So, I have not abandoned ye. Once life settle into a “pattern” as Dee is fond of saying, blogging is on the schedule. Perhaps even daily again. I really need to work my word muscles again because I have aspirations that I might share at a later date.

Happy Yoga Month in the meantime.


What if what I am supposed to be doing is exactly what I am doing?

I ask only because I read a blog entry of a friend who is searching for her direction in life. Or redirection. We can never assume, after all, that where we are, what we are doing or who we surround ourselves with is permanent.

Life is about change – at its core – not about permanence.

I was a teacher for twenty years. When I left, I can count on one hand the number of minutes it took for someone to ask,

“So what are you going to do now?”

As if emigrating to Canada, remarrying and focusing on my writing/blogging in addition to giving the stay at home mom thing a full-time go for the first time in the five years I’d been a mother wasn’t enough.

What are you going to do with your life?

So that it’s meaningful – in the eyes of the world – is the question behind that question.

But what if, maybe, I am doing what I am meant to do?

Given that nothing is permanent, and I can reasonably expect the circumstances of my life to change over the course of time, why couldn’t what I am doing … right now … be what I am meant to do? Right now.

And isn’t that enough?

Writing for blogs, studying yoga with an eye towards teaching a few classes – maybe having a studio one day – isn’t nothing. Though I recognize that like “having it all” or “having enough” it is an eye of the beholder thing.

Does anyone’s eye matter but mine in the assessment of what makes my life meaningful or gauging what I should be doing with my life?

I think not.

And a life’s “purpose” is more than what one does in terms of culture’s obsession with the idea of work and career (which, frankly, is the measuring stick in our Western world to an unhealthily large degree).

What if, what you are doing right now and where you are is “it”?

For now.