I had a bit of a realization tonight while playing imagination games with a 2 year old boy. I have been crafting this year-long experience for many of the past months. I have just begun; its just over a week since I landed here and began this part of my journey. I did not know what to expect, but I set out to learn some very important lessons that have somehow still escaped me in life: How can I live well? How can I best take care of myself and others? What are the strengths I should improve and capitalize on? What are my greatest fears and how can I face them? What can I make with my life? With whom will I do these things?
These are some of the questions that have brought my motivation to a boil. I started this writing project because I saw that in all the things I had previously learned I had not learned to feed my body (or my soul) particularly well. A few years as a vegetarian (but I ate lots of crap, as long as it didn’t have meat in it. French fries and potato chips are vegetarian and Twinkies are likely vegan, or were before they discontinued them. I planted my own garden and ate fresh salads daily from it, but then also went to the local general store and bought their home-made chocolate chip cookies in large quantities. So with the awareness that I needed more awareness I set out on a journey about food, that really is a journey about myself, about getting to know myself, love myself, and feed myself (not only with food.)
So I have also set out to learn some unexpected, and maybe, unintended things. In the time I spent preparing for this quest I examined multiple options. Quitting my job was the essential first bold move. (and I highly recommend it to almost anyone, at least at one point in your life). And with the space I created for this learning a few opportunities have bubbled to the surface.
For years I have dreamt of becoming a certified Yoga teacher. My mom was a Yoga teacher and her stories of the Yoga camp on a tropical island have rooted in my soul. Every year or so I checked my holiday break dates against the teacher trainings offered. And then I check my bank account. Usually both factors we incompatible and for one reason or another I never made it happen.
This time, within 3 weeks of quitting my job, I have moved, semi-permanently (3 months) to a yoga ashram, where I will be studying all of the things I originally wanted to study: Yoga (obviously), gardening, permaculture, organic cheesing from goats, healthy eating….; I have built my own course of study with the help of my yoga teacher and mentor. We are on a path of study and I am here to learn a lot.
The interesting thing about learning is when you set out to learn you don’t always know what it is that you will get in the end. Or who you will even be.
Such is the case. There is a two year old boy living here with us, and he has become my friend, my playmate, my helper and my joy. I am here to learn, but had no intention of learning about the joy of raising a child (or the challenges). You never know what you will get.
I have lived most of my life single and have settled into my own rhythm. I grew up with separated parents and that is my normal. For a long time I didn’t have any desire to have a family of my own and more recently as that has changed internally it hasn’t change much mentally. I was convinced that I would not have children, because I didn’t want to do it alone. My mentor, and the mother of this gorgeous child, is a single mother although she never thought that would ever be possible. I, on the other hand, can only envision raising a child alone… my challenge and my learning might actually end up being that I do these things, not alone, but with a partner.
When you set out to learn one thing… it is amazing what else comes; The essential things,
often lessons that you didn’t even know you needed to learn.