We can’t be afraid to live the fullness of the life we’ve been given…
On April 15, 2017 I packed my things into a Uhual truck, and along with my two best friends, I drove 10 hours from Baltimore, MD to a new life in Atlanta, GA. This decision wasn’t as difficult as some would think. Being comfortable makes me uncomfortable, and I’d become just that living in Baltimore…comfortable. I think, no…I KNOW living in NYC changed me. I could no longer live in the place of my birth, not when I knew an entire world eXisted beyond it. Returning home from NYC was ok, as it provided me an opportunity to dig deeper into my yoga practice, learning increasingly from my Sensei. However, I felt like I was standing still, when I knew I should be moving. So I did just that….I moved. I had it all planned out, the job, the apartment, all of it. But the universe has a funny sense of humor, and things don’t always turn out as we might hope.
This past year has provided many blessings. I’ve found out that I have some pretty amazing new friends down here. A circle of beautiful angels who have my back, and allow me to have theirs as well. We pour love and light into one another, and I’ve needed that living here. I’ve also learned just how blessed I am to have my parents both still in my life. They’ve both shown up and shown out for me in times where I’ve truly needed them. Also, my yoga journey has flourished here. I’ve been blessed to teach new people and to even find a new yoga home for a time. I’ve also learned that Atlanta has far more going for it than most of us northerners believe. I’ve yet to get bored at any point, I love that.
But where there’s light, there must also be darkness….balance. I’ve never struggled in my life as I have since moving here. As someone with a stellar resume, I’ve been unable to find a job. After one whole year I still haven’t found employment. From corporate jobs that would’ve paid me as impressively as I was paid in the North East, to management jobs at Target, I’ve applied for them all (And I’m not ashamed to admit it), but nothing has gone through. Depression and I don’t know each other the way we did in my early 20’s; however, it visited me this year…and almost tore me apart. I felt like a failure. I made the decision to move here, to give up a home of my own, a car, a good paying job, a new yoga gig…all of it, for a new life. I’ve felt very lonely here, at times. I’ve felt like I was letting myself down, that at almost 40 years old I wasn’t living up to my potential.
But then others began to once again pour into me…
My father told me he wished he had the bravery I have at my age. He wished he had the courage to pick up his life and just go. People have told me how proud they are of me for not giving up. My friends here continue to tell me they SEE me, and are proud of me for not giving in, for staying the course. These words heal me when I feel like I can’t go on, pull me up when I feel like I may need to stay down, fuel my fire when I need to rise from the ashes. I’m blessed to have a beautiful community. I’ve learned to give thanks for them as much as I haven’t forgotten all those who have constantly left me behind.
Then I’ve also focused on pouring into myself. I’ve spent my life pouring into others, making sure they knew I could SEE them, even if others didn’t. I’ve worked for years on reminding myself that optimism is where life blooms; however, I’m human…and as such, I’m not perfect, I fall. But what I know is that everyone can pour light into me, but if I’m not pouring into myself, their love and light is for naught.
So on the One Year Anniversary of my decision to make a change in my life; I celebrate being uncomfortable and wanting more for myself. I celebrate the pain I’ve endured and the friends and family who’ve helped me heal and rise all year long. This pain has made me stronger, all the no’s have made me stronger, all these lessons have made me wiser.
So if you’re reading this, and you find yourself at a place of deep sadness, confusion, unimaginable pain….I want you to know something. I SEE YOU! You’re not alone. Please don’t give up, we’re rising…ok? We’re rising, and our story continues. We’re not done, but we have to be strong, we have to evolve, we must rise. You’ve got this, I’ve got this….WE’VE GOT THIS! My second year will be a blessed and positively prosperous year. I speak that into the universe. I love you all, and I thank you for reading this. I am a Phoenix….and I so I shall rise.
Sensei Raven Ekundayo, CLC