Not A Trip, A Journey

I have been attempting to plan a  “big” trip for a while now.

I thought last year when my birthday rolled around I would be somewhere fabulous, Paris perhaps? Instead I was knee deep in moving, leaving my home of 22 years, downsizing, moving, alone, into an apartment.  Upending my whole life.

Don’t get me wrong, it was time, my life needed changing and I am so glad I did that.

It was, however, a big birthday and I admit to a certain sense of entitlement I was feeling around that. I SHOULD be doing something wonderful, I SHOULD be celebrating in style. Well, like I said, it turned out that I was doing something wonderful, and this last year has been awesome.

When my birthday came  around this year I already knew I wasn’t going to be anyplace special, but I also had in my head that I would take some kind of cool vacation in late September/early October. The  problem was I just could not decide what I wanted to do. I have been thunking about  this and researching it for months. I have a zillion  miles on my American Express card and figured between that and some added cash I could head to Europe,but where?  Then I had the idea that I would get in my car and just drive. I have friends all over the country, I love driving and road trips and I could take maybe 3 weeks and just go. I started mapping out routes and length of travel between destinations. Again, though, there was this nagging feeling of REALLY? Is this really what I want to do? Planning a trip seemed like so much fun, but actually taking it seemed, I don’t know, off in some way. Wrong.

In the meantime I had been scribbling ideas on paper, sort of half-assed vision boards, of what I wanted the rest of my life to look like.  I let myself go wild and so much of it is impossible and funny. I did however notice a recurring theme, having to do with my Yoga practice.

One of the very best things I have ever done for myself is to start a regular Yoga practice. When I first moved that was a commitment I made to myself. I attended a lot of classes at different studios all offering  the obligatory free week. One place was too corporate and cookie-cutter. Another too hard ass and physical results oriented. I can only take a little bit of hot Yoga (no Bikram zone here!), and some studios frankly, did not feel  welcoming to ME, older, clumsier, target Yoga pants vs. Lulemon. I wasn’t upset by this, I do live in L.A. after all, but they were obviously not the studios for me.

The last place I tried was the studio where I have been going for my 11th step practice.  Once I started there I fell in love. The teachers, the classes, the other students. I felt that they  were teaching YOGA there, which really started before the moves were even invented. Yogic principles, mindfulness and a sense of welcome inclusion made this the studio that has become my home.

I wasn’t really surprised when a nagging thought about how to deepen my practice started rolling around in my head. I began going to more classes, chatting with teachers and other students and as I did that I realized just exactly how yoga was working me…not  just physically, but mentally and spiritually also.

I began meditating on  how to move forward in all aspects of my life and  feeling that Yoga was an important key in that.  As I explored and talked to my Yoga mentors, as I meditated and wrote and made more lists and even  had a psychic reading, I got more and more corroboration that the universe was leading me on the right path.

I am now officially signed up for Yoga Teacher Training. Beginning September 5 through November 23 my weekends will be all Yoga all the time. There will be lots of studying and taking other classes….its immersion, basically. I am so excited and sure of this decision. I feel amazing.

I don’t know if I will ever teach.  I do have ideas, amidst all those scraps of paper, of how I can utilize what I learn in grief work, how I can train and possibly do 11th Step Yoga, how my age can be an advantage with students who are older or less confident….but truthfully I am trying to not think past the 12 weeks of training.

I have committed to trying to live my life by doing the next right thing a day at a time, and this is it.  I am re-committed to the YES.

The ability to write here and be me and go  through things with the support of this community has been so helpful, and I am  grateful. I will have a lot of studying to do and, as  I haven’t been in school for a zillion years, I am admittedly worried about anatomy and Sanskrit.  I am going to wean myself from too much FB, limit my computer time and try to experience this to the fullest. I have recovery meetings I need to get to, a sponsee,  my grief groups to run  and other commitments, so superfluous must go out the window.

This is not superfluous though. I need this too, all of you. I hope if I write here about this it won’t be too boring. I don’t think so though. I will be doing something awesome for myself and that’s what we all are doing here, right?  I know the support will be great.

I have Called and this is the Response. I listened, and I will continue to listen. Radical Acceptance. I don’t know what the future holds for me, I’m not looking that far ahead.

As I said, I have been busily planning some kind of trip for myself the last few months. And now I see that, instead, I am about to embark upon a Journey.




Add yours →

  1. Namaste! I have found that yoga is a vital part of my program. I, too, am beginning teacher training in September with the goal of deepening my practice. At 52, and more than a few pounds overweight, I have never been more at peace with myself. Have you read Yoga and the 12 step path ?

    • Hi there!
      I have not read that book, I will look for it. I read a Buddhist Way Through The 12 Steps early on when I was having trouble with HP, but this sounds great. Yoga really changed my program and sobriety, deepened it.
      I’m a bit older than I guess we’ll just do this! I am really excited, and so happy for you too.
      Stay in would be nice to compare notes. Where are you?
      I’m in Los Angeles

      • I’ll look for that book, sounds interesting. I’m in New Hampshire. It would be nice to stay in touch. I’m excited about this new journey. We will do it …the universe has so many lessons for us when we pay attention. Namaste

      • You have inspired me to resurrect my blog. It helps to pause to think about the changes. Thanks, Jill

  2. I have had the exact same calling. I had made plans to go on a retreat. Instead I signed up for yoga teacher training.

    Today was the first day. We do 11 days now and 11 more in December to get our 200 hour teacher training. The teacher is nicki doane of maya yoga. She usually teaches in Maui, but is in Northern Alberta doing training. How could I not take it?

    I knew from the first minute today that I made the right choice. I also have no plans to teach, but want to deepen my own connection with the spiritual side of yoga.

    It is all about the journey!



    • That sounds great Anne…

      i am so excited about setting out on this journey…
      please stay in touch and let me know how it’s going!

      • Today was day 7 of yoga training. It’s amazing, inspiring, transforming. Best decision I ever made. So, so, so glad to be sober and able to appreciate myself.

      • wow!
        I am so happy for you and excited for me!
        Thanks for letting me know..keep updating!

      • The 11 days of yoga training have been life changing. My mind is so full of thoughts and joy.
        I’ve started writing poetry. Me. A non poet if there ever was one.
        It’s just pouring out. And I’ve even shared done with my fellow yoga students and they like it.
        Doors have opened that I never knew existed.

        You are in for a wild ride! Embrace it all! I’m trying to!


      • Thank you!
        that sounds awesome, I’m so happy for you.

        Now get to your blog and maybe put some of those poems there!

        I’m so glad it was so great for you…I am really getting excited and you just got me even more excited..
        i will definitely let you know how it goes!

  3. Oh Michele,
    You have inspired me! Seriously. In so many ways. First of all, thanks for finally sharing the post I’ve been waiting for (me=no patience). I loved reading more of the “why” behind the “what” on your next steps. Best wishes–you’ll do great in your study and practice.
    The other part that really speaks to me are your little pieces of paper, call and response and the vision board. I made a vision board in January and it has been resigned to a carpet spot under the bed. How’s that for vision?
    Thanks to you, I’m reading Pema (LOVE), pulling out my vision board (that has balance and writing and yoga splattered all over it) AND…I’m going to look at our two local yoga studios. TODAY.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!

    • I know, right?
      why did it take so long to write?
      this alcoholic likes her drama and this post was one that i started and stopped on.
      But yesterday I sat down and wrote and edited it in about an hour, between yoga classes.
      and yes, get that board out from under the bed, let it shine Michelle! Those little random thoughts often add up to answers…I’m a believer in the process. I have actually been cutting words out of magazines in order to make another physical and specific board….I will get back on that too.
      Another person who I read is Tara Brach…but she also has these amazing talks and guided meditations for free on her website….none a clinker. I listen while I am doing other things (like writing on scraps of paper!)


      • I found her!!!! I put her podcast
        on before I go to bed. I need to listen at other times of the day though. I’m a terrible sleeper–I falls asleep too quickly (during Tara) and then wake up 2-3 hours later ready to clean house 😉
        I love your process, btw, love it!

  4. Wow – I am so excited for you! My wife does Bikram (she’s nuts), but I think I would be along the lines of what you do – that would be more my speed. I love that you are using this to deepen your recovery and your spiritual path. We all have our ways in getting to that core and yoga is yours. I think that Call and Response has done you well. Conscious contact, if you will. The more we listen to that, the more we get in tune with our HP’s plan for us, yes?

    Loved this 🙂

  5. Good morning, Michele,

    I am always so happy when the notice of one of your new posts pops into my inbox.
    Your plan does seem to be the next right thing and will surely deepen your yoga practice and your sober life.

    I am a 58 year old nascent yoga practioner, and new to sobriety, so I will follow your journey with interest and delight.


    • I’m so happy Kai!
      Thank you….
      sobriety has a way of changing so many things about us, not just our 5pm (or way earlier!) habits!
      I’m so happy to be on this road with you…and I am even a bit older than you (I think i need to write a post about age..obviously I have secretive issues about it, yes? LOL)…and yoga has been the perfect antidote to what my years of sedentary drinking did to my body and spirit.

      welcome to yoga and sobriety!

      • Hi, again, Michelle,

        I heard you on The Bubble Hour and you were so honest and funny.
        I am working my way through the episodes- like I worked my way through your blog.
        Well, actually, it wasn’t work…. 😉

        I will continue reading as you post and thank you for your encouragement.


  6. Woot Woot WOOT!!! I have been passing the idea of teacher training from hand to hand for years. I was actually all signed up three years ago and developed an umbilical hernia and had to drop out before I even started. Last week I had a dream that my current yoga teacher was next to me on my mat and I was sobbing and she was helping me let pain go, helping me open my heart. It was pretty powerful! My training would start in October and go until March so I still have some time to think the thinks. This post makes me feel even more like I want to do it. But you know how that fear is, and also how life is- fitting it in to my life would be wonderful and hard. I am so happy for you and look forward to reading about your experience. 🙂 xoxoxo

    • Yes,
      fitting into your life, my life…not so easy.
      However the payoff feels huge, sometimes we have to do what we have to do. I have another friend who is doing training at a different place than me…..hers is every other weekend. She has a toddler and the works a little better for her, but I’m sure she would be doing it anyway.
      That’s an interesting dream!
      Keep me posted!!

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