My journey to this place in life has been a whirlwind until I started choosing happiness. I took my first yoga class at the age of 20 but didn’t begin a consistent practice until I had just graduated from college and was frantically looking for that 9-5 professional job I thought was imperative to jump into right away!
Backing up to high school, I was on the fast track. I worked towards college credits during my junior year and then left high school my senior year to attend a local community college full time. While this gave me a head start it also left me to feel obligated to choose a major quickly and without much consideration for what I truly wanted to do. I chose to be a business major for the reason that “it would make me money” but with the grades I was earning in business classes, “success” wasn’t a term that came to mind. So I needed to make a change, and choose a major I would actually enjoy. This was the first time in my life that I even considered making a decision based on my happiness.
Fast-forward after graduation, I felt the pressure to jump into a 9-5 professional job as soon as possible. When I didn’t instantly find one I began feeling discouraged. So I put my heart and soul into a part-time gig and applied for any full-time position that opened up within the company. I was passed up many times, but at last the “dream job” that I was attempting to manifest was finally offered to me! I accepted a job working as a case manager for a group-home with teenagers from diverse and difficult backgrounds. This is exactly what I wanted to do – work with these teens while providing them with the tools and support to work towards achieving their goals. Looking back, if I would have been offered the other full time jobs I had applied for and been passed up for, I wouldn’t have had this chance to accept the job I truly wanted. It seemed like the universe had this in mind the whole time.
They were my coping tools for dealing with the stress and demanding nature of my job. Introducing these same tools of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and mantras to the clients was also my favorite part of the job.
At this time in my life, yoga, mediation, and mindfulness were very important to me and were a part of my daily life. They were my coping tools for dealing with the stress and demanding nature of my job. Introducing these same tools of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and mantras to the clients was also my favorite part of the job. Not all the teenagers I worked with were open to these ideas, but I tried anyways. There were times that some of the teens would later come to me privately and tell me how something I taught them helped them overcome an anxiety attack, confront a difficult family member, or even just get them to sleep at night. This was where I found the most satisfaction in my job!
However, after a year of working in this role I found myself discouraged by the day-to-day paperwork, meetings, stress, and not to mention the low paycheck that human service jobs provide. I was putting in crazy hours at the office that were not sustainable for a full time job year-after-year. I was losing touch with my yoga and meditation practice, my sleep was suffering immensely, and I found myself on a short fuse. I began to notice this lack of positive energy in me and I began questioning if this was the right job for me. I found myself every morning dreading going into work and one day I honestly asked myself “do I really want to do this every single day for the rest of my working life?” The answer was no.
So without any plans or ideas of a next step, I quit my job. A lot of people didn’t understand it, and it was difficult to explain to people who couldn’t grasp the idea of taking a leap of faith in order to be happy instead of staying in what’s familiar and comfortable. Now choosing happiness is my constant driving force and it’s because of my yoga and meditation practice that I’m able to live with this mindset. Meditation taught me to be honest with myself and showed me what would truly make me happy. Yoga taught me to follow my true passions and take risks along the way; to get outside of my comfort zone in order to enter a new place of clarity and adventure.
Yoga taught me to follow my true passions and take risks along the way; to get outside of my comfort zone in order to enter a new place of clarity and adventure.
I now spend my days with two wonderful children who have got me in touch with my inner child. They show me what it means to be fully and innocently in each moment, how to go whole-heartedly for what I want, and practice patience and love in every moment. I practice the healing power of Reiki, which allows me to heal and connect with others on a more spiritual and intimate level. I’m a yoga teacher in-training which is something I’ve been waiting years to do! I’m able to dive deeper into my own practice and can’t wait to share this love and light with others after a yearlong devotion to knowledge and humility.
As I take my steps from “student” to “teacher” to “healer,” I will always view myself as a student and always continue to seek more knowledge, experiences, and growth. I have found myself in a place so filled with love and hope that I’m beyond excited to see where this journey is leading me next as I continue to choose happiness and trust that everything works out how it’s supposed to!
Did Barb’s journey resonate with you? Her story of self-RE-discovery is a part of a larger series, or rather larger conversation, around the work, self-care, and badassery that’s inherent in health, happiness and fulfillment.
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