About a week after taking the decision to close my yoga and well-being center down, I was still feeling devastated and wondered what the hell had happened. I wanted to find someone to take over, so all the efforts I had put into creating it wouldn’t have been for nothing. For some reason though, that thought wasn’t comforting, it felt heavy, complicated and somehow wrong.
“A clean break up is what you need” a good friend told me. “You know, like when you need to end a relationship that hasn’t been working for a while… You just need a clean break up to be able to put it behind you and move on”. That was the light bulb that made everything crystal clear to me. Cathy was so right! Thinking about what went wrong; all the time, money and effort invested; all the hopes and dreams, all the why’s and how’s were actually exactly like being in an unhealthy relationship with someone. You can’t just stop, that’d be giving up right? If you keep trying, for sure, things will change, won’t they?
You know, my studio was more than my job to me, it was carved in my soul.
My grandma opened the first yoga studio in Belgium in 1967. During my childhood, I loved visiting her and play in the yoga room under the watch of a gigantic buddha head. I already had this feeling of spiritual depth, of belonging, of pride when I was there. As I grew up, I kept loving going there, learning yoga both from my grandma and my dad. Through my difficult teen years and young adulthood that was the only thing I thought I wanted to be doing; one day, I will run this school, that’s my legacy and where my heart belongs.
Make life happen and everything changes….
I moved to Wellington, still caring the dream of having my own yoga studio one day. My grandma passed in difficult circumstances and the school was closed. I wasn’t there for her and I wasn’t there for the studio either and that weighted heavily on my heart. So when I finally had the chance to open my own little space, I grabbed it without thinking twice.
All happened quickly, I was certain of my decision and never thought for a moment that it might not be the right choice. I felt my grandma looking over my shoulder every step of the way, especially when I went to buy the plants that would make the space look alive and abundant. I found a dying red geranium that was for sale for $4 as it looked so very miserable. It was my grandma’s favourite plant, her house was filled with geraniums. So I took it and as the months passed and more and more students came to join classes, the geranium kept on growing, looking healthier and happier than ever.
I felt so happy… I had had the courage to make my dream come true, the only thing I ever really wanted… I had tackled the fears, remove the negative beliefs, found strength and inspiration to move the obstacles one at a time. I had met amazing people along the way who helped me create that amazing jewel in a middle of an otherwise pretty dull suburb. My grandma would have been so proud…
But as time passed, I started practising my yoga and meditation less and less… You know, I was just so busy teaching, receiving clients for private sessions, doing all the admin work and networking… It just became harder and harder to fit in what I actually loved the most, practising yoga. I stopped going for walks in nature and for coffee with friends. I stopped watching movies and Netflix, working late to tackle the work and make that dream of mine work. I stopped doing all the things that once nourrished me.
Difficulties were showing from all angles and I constantly found resources to manage them. I was so good a focusing on making it work, that I forgot how to make myself work. I refused to see the stress and anxiety crippling in, I thought I was managing it, that it was normal. I tried not to dwell on the more and more frequent nights where I couldn’t work at all because I was so stressed out I was just crying.
Six months after the opening, I had my first massive break down. I cried nearly non stop for a month. I honestly don’t know how I managed to keep working like that. I did cancel some private sessions but mostly kept on working; but my heart wasn’t there. My head was just busy looking at my accounts and the huge debts I was in. My head couldn’t get around how to pay my bills, both for the studio and for home – as I wasn’t paying myself. I was missing my friends and my walks…
I went to Belgium for a month and that helped me. I came back with fresh energy and hope. Six months later, things were getting better. More and more students and clients kept coming and the numbers looked better. But yet, I was still broke as when it came to paying my bills at home and just have a normal life. I became again more and more stressed, trying to hide it with a drink and a smoke in the evening so I could ‘relax’. I had more and more frequent break down where stress, anxiety and tears were clouding my whole being.
My yoga and meditation practice had become rare and were more for ‘quick maintenance’ than true connection. I was loosing myself under the pressure coming from everywhere. I felt more and more lonely, not knowing who to talk to…
You see, during those times, when I shared my struggle with my mum and closest friend, they all reacted in the way they thought I needed the most: They told me I’d be fine, it was all normal as the studio was still so very new, that I was doing well and just needed to keep going. They told me to hold on and wait, I would get better; in a couple of years I’ll make some very good money. So I listened and kept going…
But it didn’t get better for me, my stress was so intense that I cried when I had to come back to the studio after my second trip to Belgium. I didn’t want to come back; I was scared, I just couldn’t see how I would be able to make it, I had had enough, couldn’t anyone see it? Why was I lying down in bed not feeling my body any longer, as if all my blood had been drained through a giant hole? Why was I not able to bounce back again, like I had done before? To find courage to keep going, to keep trying, to have faith, to create the dream I always had?
Because I had given everything already and my tank was empty… Because it was over for me… It had been over for a while but I hadn’t been able to see it. I had been so madly in love with my studio and all that i represented. It was so beautiful, so perfect; my creation, my baby… I had met so many amazing people because of it, what would happen to them? How could I let them down?
This is exactly what my friend had referred to… You can’t live in a dysfunctional relationship hopping it will get better because you were so madly in love once, because you can still try to make it work, because you are so blinded by ‘if’s’ that you can’t face reality. This is when you need a big reality check, when you need to find courage and break up; a clean one, a real one, the break up that you will never regret because it is the only possible choice if you want to stay alive and happy.
It is better to have a clean break up that to continue into an unhealthy relationship – an unhealthy adventure – that makes your life miserable. Is it easy? Hell no it’s not! Is it needed? Fuck yeah it is.
It’s scary, it’s difficult, it can take a bit of time, a bit of arguing, a lot of sadness and regrets… But none of those should ever hold you back from moving on… if they do, that will be messy and even more hurtful than it is already.
So I did. I broke up with my studio. I still love it – what it represented. I will never regret getting into that adventure – like I have never regretted any relationships I have had, because I have always learned something and it makes me the person I am today.
Was it not meant to be then? Yes it was!!! It was meant to be for all that time because of all that myself and others have learned with it. We met, we loved, we shared, we laughed, we cried and we moved on, together, like human beings embracing every single day that we are lucky to experience. Every day is always meant to be, not a single one is ever to be regretted.
If you need to move on, do it. Stop listening to the voices that will hold you back from taking the decision you know that you need to take. Find courage and know that it will be messy, for a while, but that it will pass. Talk to your friends and family members and say the truth and say what you need to hear from them, how they can help you. They are there for that, they just need to know what you actually need, otherwise they can only guess and that’s not helpful for you then.
And if you really want to honour what you have had, say a little prayer to break up with love…
“I thank you, my beautiful space (replace it with the appropriate term for you) for all that you have given me and taught me. I thank you for all the good times and for the difficult ones also as they have made me stronger. You have given me so much love that I will never forget you, ever. I honour you and respect you but now is the time for me to move on. You will always have a special place in my heart. I am releasing all the bonds that I have with you, so I can be fully there for myself and keep moving forward. Thank you.”
And with tears in my eyes as I say good bye to my beautiful studio and to you all, I want to honour myself, my grandma, my studio and you all, by going to practise yoga and meditation in my lounge, next to my magnificent geranium.