My last blog post was written in December 2017, while my husband, Pierce, was in the ICU after a complex series of heart surgeries. Our winter of 2017/18 was a true hibernation as we both dealt with a long healing and recovery process. As Pierce’s health improved, I found myself reflecting on my future. My social security history showed earnings since 1978 – almost 50 years of various income producing jobs…maybe I should retire. I just didn’t see myself as “retired”.
Prior to the Fall of 2017, I had loosely envisioned retiring soon to a life of writing, teaching yoga, and playing with my hubby. Being with and eventually playing with my hubby became the priority. My other goals went into hibernation with me.
As spring approached my childhood dream of being a writer that was deeply imbedded into my psyche, started to stir. I just didn’t have the energy to write. As serendipity would have it, I received an email with an invitation to join Martha Beck’s Write Into Light course. “This might be the kick start I need.” I thought.
So last week, I “exhaled” my first writing assignment for this course. The assignment was to pick an area of life where we felt we were failing and turn it into a success in 500 words or less. What do you think?
Finding Success Through Failure
Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them.
The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us. – Voltaire
As I read our first assignment, my stomach gurgles and the familiar sweat of self-doubt creeps up my spine to my brow. “What was I thinking? I can’t write anything worthwhile! I’ve spent almost a lifetime suffocating on my debilitating thoughts around failure. Why do I want to inhale failure now?”
I paused and reflected – after a 38 year career in the defense industry some failures led to masked opportunities. I realized I have a recent failure that I’ve been overly focused on, yet ignoring. I recognize the familiar pattern, “Yes, what happened was outside of my control, but why do I feel like I failed? Will I die and contribute nothing to this life?”
My latest failure is retirement. Being the goal setter that I am, I started planning how I would spend my retirement years in advance. Almost a decade ago, poor health took me back to yoga where I learned how to inhale and exhale life events. I was amazed by my own recovery. My teacher recommended that I teach others. What a noble goal – to give back after a life with benefits in the defense industry. The Yoga Industrial complex was such a departure from how I lived my business life in the Military Industrial complex that I often struggled to fit in. I had more doubts about my ability to teach yoga than I did facing many job challenges as a non-technical person in a very technical career field.
In the business world, over time, I embraced my differences and did well. I loved not having to wait in line at the ladies room during meeting breaks. By contrast, yoga studios never had enough stalls to fit all the women in them during class breaks. I hadn’t been around so many women since my school days; and, my body in yoga pants never looked as good as everyone else’s.
With trepidation and after over 500 hours of training behind me, I finally agreed to teach a weekly gentle class. Shortly before achieving my goal of a 1000 hour yoga therapy teacher training certification, I got “fired” from teaching. I called it “fired”, because no “customers” showed up to my class. In yoga lingo, “fired” is a loaded word.
Stressed, I considered this “class cancellation” was a sign – I would never teach again. Then, my husband got really ill. As I became his caregiver, I gave up my dream to teach yoga in retirement. I realized my purpose was to learn not to teach. Both my business background and my yoga training provided me with the skills to navigate the complexity of his illness. In return, I got the sweetest taste of Mt Delectable – a deeper love and appreciation for my hubby than I had before.