Hello from Byron Bay, where I have the privilege this week of teaching on ResetYou, a retreat for female business owners and execs and the brainchild of my friend Elana Robertson.
After my class here this morning, Facebook reminded me that on this day three years ago I closed my beloved Shri Yoga. It was the spring (in Australia) of 2020 – the peak of the work-from-home movement. With class sizes a fraction of what they had been before the pandemic, the rent for our beautiful sanctuary in the heart of the CBD was unsustainable and I made the devastating choice to close the doors.
It was a heartbreaking time and for months I wasn’t sure what path I should take. I felt broken and completely cut off from my own inner wisdom. Financially I’m not able to retire yet (nor would I want to), so I toyed with the idea of getting a “real job”, and came very close to getting my real estate license! But it was a conversation with my friend J Brown on his Yoga Talks Podcast that convinced me that I might be able to make it as a teacher without a studio. I had my doubts but decided to take a year to see if I could make it work.
I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was walking through a sliding door.
The term “sliding doors” is often used metaphorically to describe those pivotal moments in life that can alter your trajectory in completely unforeseen ways. Throughout my own wacky and very up and down journey I’ve developed a confidence, even a faith, in the order of the way things unfold in my life. It’s as if every event or choice I’m presented with is a sliding door that opens onto an unexpected, often messy, but always-enlightening new path.
On the other side of this particular sliding door, I found time to rest, to study, and to spend more time with Layne and my beautiful, growing family. All of this has re-energized me and enabled me to continue to share yoga in the ways I love most; through trainings, retreats, my Wednesday class, and here through my writing.
Sliding doors remind us that the mundane and the extraordinary are intertwined throughout our lives; and that maybe, just maybe, there’s magic to be found on the other side. So, we keep walking through doors, sometimes wistful for the paths not taken, but always holding onto the hope that the next door will lead us to some unexpected, extraordinary new adventure or way of being in the world.
Yoga teaches that we’re all connected and that our choices and actions aren’t isolated events, but part of a larger web of life. By looking at what life is showing us and being fully present and mindful in our decisions as we open and close our sliding doors, we have the opportunity to make choices that can transform our lives and the world in ways we never could have imagined.
✨ THAT is where the magic happens ✨
Here’s what I’ve learned from closing the studio: Even when things feel dark, watch for the sliding doors. Keep choosing, keep walking, and keep your heart open to this wild, beautiful journey we call life.
© Julie Smerdon 2023
Photo: Pete Longworth