“I know experimentation is part of the process of finding yourself. You don’t want to stick to something as much as you want to uncover a wild joy or significance that sticks to you. Forcing a direction isn’t commitment. Staying honest with yourself isn’t ‘quitting.’” – Tama Kieves, A Year Without Fear (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin 2015).
Finding just the right massage space for my business was so magical. I had imagined soothing, light blue walls. When a friend said she and her husband had a space available, I was in awe when I walked in to see light blue walls. No painting required. Meeting massage and private yoga clients at my space delighted me; it felt like an anchor in my new way of life. Teaching yoga for a corporate client also anchored me. I was expected to be somewhere twice a week, though the rest of my schedule shifted and swelled depending on when my clients booked or if I was offering a yoga series or subbing for another yoga teacher.
In Liminal Space
Near the end of last year when my landlord-friends asked if I wanted to renew my lease after my 15 months was up, my first inclination was “yes.” And then it shifted into “I’m not sure.” Normally a decisive person, I was uncomfortable with my own uncertainty. Making a decision feels good because it takes me out of that liminal space, that waiting room of “I’m not sure.” As 2017 ended I realized I wanted to find a more versatile space, one where I could have a desk as well as my massage table and yoga mats. I began making a list of what I wanted in a space once I let my landlord know I would not renew come spring.
A New Kind of Freedom
When I began practicing law again at the beginning of this year, I began to see I didn’t really need an office space for that. Once upon a time, I thought a lawyer was someone who advocated in the courtroom, who worse suits, had an office, and met with clients across a desk (or in the jail). I’m rewriting what the practice of law looks like for me, which means I meet other health & wellness business owners in a coffee shop while wearing yoga pants as I learn more about their businesses and passions, and figure out how I can help. It’s a new kind of freedom to practice law in this way. It turns out, my home office and coffee shops are the versatile space I’m seeking.
The Anchor’s Weight
The next wave of understanding was that having a space was no longer an anchor but a heavy weight holding me back, as was teaching a group yoga class twice a week. I felt so frustrated with myself and confused about what to do next. I can teach yoga and practice law without a space, but not see massage clients. Slowly it became clear that practicing massage is the piece I need to let go of for now. I enjoy massage but it’s not something I want to do full-time. I love teaching yoga, but not an ongoing weekly class I realized; I love teaching series classes for a period of weeks where we can focus on a particular theme. I’ve only been a massage therapist for 15 months and I just began teaching the corporate yoga class in July. I felt like a flip-flopper.
As one of my massage instructors told me, there are a lot of reasons to go to massage school; becoming a massage therapist is just one of them. In all honesty, I think I attended massage school for my own healing, although I never would have invested that time and money into myself. Massage school helped me heal, it gave me a purpose and new understanding of the body and healing, and it introduced me to a whole new world of wonderful people.
Coincidentally – if you believe in coincidence – the corporate client who hired me to teach yoga elected not to renew their contract with the fitness company that hired me. My corporate teaching gig ended in February, just as I was feeling like it was no longer a good fit. I was so grateful! It was only my fear of looking like a quitter that had prevented me from quitting in the first place.
One day I may have an office space again. For now, April 20 will be the last day I provide massage in my current space. Meanwhile, I’ll focus on advising health & wellness business owners and my new yoga teaching adventure, Mindful Movement: Bringing a New Kind of Motion to Your Law Practice. Returning to the practice of law, I see the incredible amount of stress and dis-ease in the legal profession, so I’ve developed a 7-week program that brings mindfulness and yoga to lawyers in their own offices. Bridging the health & wellness and legal professions by educating attorneys about wellness and advising business owners on the law is where I feel called to be. Neither of these offerings requires me to maintain an office space. I’m pulling up anchor, so I can drift freely until I’m ready to change course or drop anchor again.
Question for reflection: When have you stuck with something even though quitting was overdue?
© 2018 Rachel Regenold