Three times over the past couple of weeks, I've stumbled upon the concept of evaluating one's work and seeing if there's something developing outside of one's focus.
For example, a tomato farmer focusing on harvesting and selling tomatoes off the vine ends up with a stockpile of vines. He knows the vines exist, but doesn't value or market them, because he is tapping into the tomato off the vine market - he is a tomato farmer after all, and this is what all successful tomato farmers do. The market for tomatoes off the vine, however, is saturated, and there isn't very much that distinguishes his tomatoes from anyone else's. He believes in his product and knows the quality that he offers, yet to the average buyer, his tomatoes look and smell the same as the rest, and the buyer will ultimately buy whichever tomatoes are the least expensive, from the most popular farmers.
The farmer is stumped, confused by how to portray the value of his tomatoes: that they are organic, not treated with pesticides, and the vines they grow on are immaculate. He begins questioning his line of work entirely, and one day, on the verge of giving up farming altogether, he looks around his farm. In one corner is the pile of immaculate vines all of his harvested tomatoes came from. He remembers that all of his customers continually compliment his vines, often asking if he will sell tomatoes on the vine, willing to pay whatever price he asks. This has always confused the farmer, as this is not the product he's put so much hard work into (that he's aware of). Suddenly, it dawns on the farmer: he has the best vines around. His goal needn't be to set himself apart from other tomato sellers by taking exhaustive measures to make his tomatoes stand out. He simply needs to step out to just to the fringes of the market and into his very own niche: tomatoes on immaculate vines. By leaning into what has been his biggest asset all along, he will be immeasurably more successful than by trying to conform to a saturated market.
Lately it's become apparent to me that I may have been swimming upstream in some areas of my work unnecessarily. I’ve decided to more clearly identify my “brand” and clarify what I offer.
I have many yogi friends who are naturally much more flexible than I am, who look much more graceful flowing through postures. For so long, I wished I could be this way or that, but I’m learning to embrace what I’ve been given. I admire my friends who effortlessly balance on one hand, but I no longer feel the compulsion to keep up or feel inadequate because I have to work really hard at what others make look effortless.
Finally I’ve decided to lean in to who I was created to be. All the way. I will still of course teach and practice various types of yoga. But I’ve begun learning that what my students continually ask from me are the things I never had to work very hard to be really good at: my natural gifting. The recurring theme I'm noticing is that the ways I help my students/clients/friends most is by helping them feel amazing in ways that feel most amazing to me.
I am absolutely in love with my career in holistic wellness. I love that I get to help people feel good in their bodies, sometimes again and sometimes for the first time ever. I love that I get to use my own experiences with things like body image that started earlier than I can remember, to various traumas caused by things like harmful relationships and car accidents, plus navigating an autoimmune disease. I love that my negative experiences aren’t wasted by God, but that instead I am certain they happened for me (not to me) to grant me more compassion and room in my heart to love others better.
Beyond that, everything I have experienced so far in my nearly three decades on this planet, have sharpened my gifts as an intuitive healer. I simply am a vessel of God’s love and light - when I am open, God works through my hands in amazing ways.
I constantly get requests for more restorative, yin, yoga therapy, yoga nidra, and guided meditation classes and workshops. People often seek out my guidance about Ayurveda, nutrition, and spiritual matters. Often people seek my knowledge about things that aren’t as commonly taught in Western yoga classes. People love my retreats, and leading them is my absolute favorite thing ever!
I love hosting retreats so much for so many reasons, but mainly because they incorporate all of my best skills. I get to teach asana and meditation, of course, and make people feel really good in that way. But I also get to bring really amazing, world-changing people together and watch lifelong friendships form. I love to cook, and on my retreats I get to serve nourishing, healing food that I’ve prepared intuitively and with love to people who receive it with joy. Most of my retreats include intuitive healing sessions. I’m highly creative, and I get to use so much creativity for retreat details, down to putting together personalized gift bags. Oh, and I LOVE to travel!
For as long as I can remember, traveling has been one of my biggest passions. When I was thirteen years old, I wrote in my diary about how I'd fallen head-over-heels in love with an entire country. It amazes me that I get to lead retreats to Portugal now, sharing my favorite place to "come home to myself" with people I love and admire. I’m tri-lingual, and traveling with retreats allows me to practice speaking other languages. I LOVE that! I am blown away that I get to enjoy my "work" so much.
I see now how my little set of skills and life experience shape what I offer others, rather than trying to make them fit into a pre-formed mold. With that in mind, I'm actively working toward my goal of helping victims of trafficking heal through yoga therapy. I've also recently started selling some of paintings, and I've created an Etsy shop because crocheting tiny things for babies brings me a special kind of joy.
I believe that each person was gifted with a special bundle of skills, affinities, and natural abilities - like a bouquet. Some were gifted more of one thing, and some more of another. No bouquet is more or less colorful than anyone else's, just different.
I believe that when we embrace and lean into that which makes our individual bouquets unique, we find the sweetness of our calling.
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