Mindfulness

2018 From the Rearview Mirror

When I take time to reflect, I tend to focus on areas of my life that don’t go my way.  Perhaps you can relate.

It’s easier to think about what needs improvement, rather than what I’ve accomplished or what’s bringing me joy. But this year, there’s been a shift for me.  

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In April, I launched Community Yoga at the Barn, or rather, I started  teaching a few classes a week in the barn outside our home in Sudbury. I had decided I was not 100% in love with the vibes I felt when walking into some yoga studios. It felt like something was missing.

I have great friendships that developed through studios that I’ve practiced at, but I was yearning for something with more of a community aspect to it. This isn’t a dig on the amazing studios out there, it’s just that I was looking for something different.

I came to realize that I wanted to have a yoga studio--a small business--that could be a reflection of me: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The first few months were tough.  Thankfully I have a great mentor who just happens to be my best friend, as well as a small business owner: Laure LeDuc of Vos Fitness in Boston.  Laura believed in me as a human, and that translated into her believing in my ability to teach yoga to her community of students. Without her coaching I never would have stepped out on my own.  That is a fact. Thank you, Laura.

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That said, I was and still am learning my craft. On top of honing my skills, I had another, more important task to accomplish: learning the needs of my studio’s community so I could  implement my vision while helping others to feel complete.

Last but certainly not least, I had to account for  the day to day operations of managing a small business.  LLC what!? Tax ID number!? Booking software!? A website!?  These little things are not difficult to put in place, but it takes time and who has more of that?    

By pure chance, I connected with the photographer Joy LeDuc through Instagram and we became dear real life friends soon after. We were both starting up our businesses but she had much deeper background with regards to the technical aspects of running a business. Without Joy, there would not be a website, nor would there be pictures to encapsulate what I was trying to create by opening the studio. The pictures that she took of me in the barn gave me confidence and strength.

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If you read my post on the boudoir session that I did with Joy, you understand how important she is to me and my personal growth.

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Joy also photographed our family, and I love these photos for the realness they capture of our noise and chaos and love.

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Fast forward to the fall.  The community was growing, slowly but surely.  I am not above acknowledging that my classes are not always  full. New students do not always return, and that’s fine.

Things were chugging along and I was feeling good. At some point, though, I began to crave more.

With Laura’s encouragement, I decided to enroll in an eight week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course. At this point, I had  been meditating on a fairly regular basis and decided MBSR would the perfect bridge to take my meditation practice to the next level.

I never considered how much work it would be to cross that bridge. The coursework required me to devote about 12 hours each week to meditation and self exploration. While that might sound like heaven, I’ll tell you that shit gets real when you’re forced to spend that much time to explore your inner self. It was not easy.

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For years, my identity has solely revolved around being a mom. During those eight weeks, I was forced to spend time with myself as myself. This caused a shift--one that gave me room and grace, which in turn allowed me to be a better, more present version of myself, including as a mother.

Three weeks into the MBSR coursework, I completed Reiki I & II certifications.  I had wanted to do this for a while, but never allowed myself the time or the space to make it happen. For some reason, during this very hectic time I was able to give  myself that gift. Being in the headspace of mindful living was the kick in the butt I needed to begin the process.

In years’ past, I would look back and only see the things that needed improvement. But as I look back on 2018, I can see all that I’ve accomplished. That’s a big shift for me, and one that I’m embracing.

Looking at the road ahead

As I look ahead to this year, I’m trying to maintain the tricky balance of acknowledging my accomplishments while also maintaining a mindful focus so that I can continue to move forward.

Something I learned in my MBSR course is the concept of non-striving. That doesn't mean being complacent (at least not to me); it means accepting things as they are, and making decisions based on that acceptance.  

Some of those decision may be good ones, others may be not so good, but when you are living in alignment and are in tune with your physical and emotional responses to what is going on around you, there is an opportunity to make adjustments in a non-judgemental way.

To be intentional without being focused on a singular goal.   

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Moving into 2019, my vision for my professional career has shifted a bit.  I love teaching and practicing yoga. It is part of who I am, but I have come to realize I am other things as well.  Knowing that, my intention is to create a space that is not only about the physical practice of yoga, but is also for the mental aspect of the practice.

Expect to see some meditation classes and workshops on the schedule. I also plan to open up my schedule so that I can see students for private meditation coaching.  

In addition, I will also be taking on a small number of clients interested in energy work and reiki as a healing modality.    

I will keep you, my community, updated through social media and email. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a shout.

To close, I want to thank every single student who has walked thought those barn doors.   Thank you for your compassion, your faith, and for everything you have taught me. Without you none of what I’ve written about here would have come to pass.  

Namaste, Kristen  


All photos in this post were taken by Joy LeDuc.