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Work, work, work, smile…

It’s that time of year. Work gets crazy. I’m filed with inspiration for new programs and/or ideas  for evolving my current program, but implementing them by next season demands I organize & promote now. I’m making important decisions about next year’s dance schedule, planning a year in advance for my yoga trainings, and considering summer programs too.  I’m trying to get a new corporate program off the ground, and an outreach program to put yoga classes in the schools.  At the same time, I’m producing a recital, evaluating my current students, and finishing up the labor intensive project of closing this season to begin anew.

I’m not complaining. I love my work – I love the creativity involved and the diversity of projects and tasks. I love the people and the promise I feel in this diversified school where I get to interact with children and adult students, yoga and dance. I enjoy the offshoot projects too…. I love all the new things I’m learning. I just wish there were more hours in the day, because I have more inspiration and ideas than I have time to manifest.
I get up every morning at 5:00 or sooner to begin my day. I’m excited by many of the things I’m doing and, considering how hard it was to face my personal demons to reenter this business and the two years of humbling frustration that ensued, I’m deeply proud and appreciative of how my professional life is unfolding at last. It’s been a long, painful two years,  so to say I’m looking forward to a short break after the recital and before diving into my summer yoga training is an understatement.  I could give you a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t take a week off – everything from not being able to afford it, to the opportunity costs of stopping the momementum at this pivotal time…. but I have always believed the key to happiness is balancing work and a rich private life. I never felt able to pace my world to live true to this belief before because I was pressed by influences beyond my control.  Now, for the first time ever, I can tune in to my instincts and personal beliefs and act accordingly. I can work hard without having to appoligise for it, rest hard because I’ve earned it, and feel good about both.
    Yesterday, I woke with the sun and worked on defining a detailed syllabus for yoga training. I knew I had to teach from 3:00 till 9:00, so at noon, I decided to put work aside and take an afternoon break. I asked Neva what she’d like to do and she said, “I want to get some sun.”
So I purchased us both subs and we took them to the beach. We picked up slurpies (her favorite) and had lunch sitting on a yoga blanket in the sand. After taking a half hour nap and marveling at the brilliant rainbow glow around the sun (part of an eclipse thing going on) we took an hour long walk  (part of our new health kick) discussing bathing suits and body types, school, boys, my yoga course and plans for dance next year, and a host of other average girl conversational subjects. It was a simple afternoon, easy and sweet, like a mini vacation. And I felt revived and ready to face more engaging work when I got home. 
Driving home, Neva complained about the freckles that emerge when she is in the sun, but admitted she loved the afternoon, so we  vowed to go to the beach at least two times a week. I know we may not follow through to that extent, but I’m guessing we will put in more beach time than I ever bothered to enjoy when I lived here last. I have come to truly appreciate the beauty living in a place like Sarasota offers.   
Working hard doesn’t have to be a drag, or a sacrifice, or something to resent…. and David is a huge help and supporter. Never complaining or acting put out by my being busy or needing a hand, he contributes with a smile, enthusiastic and filled with creativity. I guess since his worklife is more academic and corporate, he has a great appreciation for the artistry and freedom that comes with running a business that rolls yoga and dance into one blend of entertainment and education, health and personal expression.
On Monday I told him I really needed a T-shirt design for recital shirts for the finale and I wondered if he might work on Correll draw to help me with an idea. He asked me what I wanted and I told him that since we have a nature theme, I would love some kind of tree of life. 
“Wish it could be made of dancers…. ” I said in passing.
That evening I came home from work at 9, somewhat spent from endless rehearsals, and a bit cranky because I was tired beyond measure. He had dinner on the table, an incredible vegetarian stir fry (that Neva claims is the best thing she’s ever had, adding “Sorry Mom, but David is such a better cook than you. He’s the best I’ve ever known.” (I didn’t take offense because I agree.)  And on the floor in the living room were a dozen variations of T-shirt designs for me to consider. I have no idea how the man finds the time to do so much (and do it all so well) but I was thrilled, relieved and deeply grateful. 
We picked a design and discussed some alterations over dinner (there I was, scribbling on his nice copies – but thankfully, he did not take offense) and this is what we came up with.

 

 I said, “We could always say “The root of dance in Sarasota” at the bottom too, since that is rather true if you consider that almost everyone teaching in the area is a former student of FLEX. But I was kidding. I’m delighed with the students I have and I have no interest or concern with what other schools and people are doing in the area. I feel rather content with the integrity of my new program as it unfolds. No reason or need to lay claim to being the origin of others in this field, and frankly, I rather not have people make connections because, as time goes on, it will become ever more obvious how different this school is from the others. But the root comment did lead to some possible quotes to laugh about (in a very non-yogic way…I confess.) and that made dinner pass with smiles.

But dance is only one element of my world now – my true dharma, but one that leaves room for other connected interests. A few months ago, I decided to offer a summer yoga teacher’s training just to see if anyone might be interested. Summer is a quiet time at the studio, and a training program would be a great help in keeping things productive.  I doubted it would go, and yet, the fact that certification would be offered in an immersion format, completed in only 7 weeks, and the fact that I priced it lower than any other RYT training around, resulted in the biggest enrollment I’ve had yet. I’m shocked and delighted and fully charged. Each time I offer a training (this is my third session) I get more organized, defined and the program gets better. I’ve spent a month planning and reorganizing the material to provide a more suscinct and poignant unfolding of yoga. I can’t wait to begin, because I feel so prepared and excited by the new offerings and angles…

Yesterday, my office manager told me to stop telling people about my upcoming aerial training in July because so many people have enrolled that she’s closing the course.  I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll add another…” 
Sh
e laughed and said “When? From midnight to 8Am? Our schedule is full!”
She’s right of course. But wow, it is nice to see those programs, all of which began as a weak, limping obgligation, are now picking up steam, gaining a good reputation and supporting the school. 
So, I am working harder than ever, and some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going. But I’m deeply proud of the way my hard work and ongoing training is finally coming together to support my desire to live a creative life. Sure, I would have liked to stay retired, and still be living on 50 acres with the time and the opportunity to write seriously. That was my dream come true, one I’d been aspiring to all my life, and I left my business believing I’d finally earned the opportunity to pusue that dream and see what I could do with my fondest artistic desires…. but circumstances made that dream fizzle before it planted a single root. 
Owning a business in the arts isn’t easy, and it can be a financial nightmare, but I recognize and honor the personal growth that comes with problem solving so I know that returning to the world of dance and runing a small business is, in many ways, a very, very good thing. My current circumstances may not have been my first choice as a lifestyle, but it is a good choice given my options, and I recognize the gifts that lie in my challanges.
Meanwhile, yoga has taught me about balance and how to take mental breaks – to meditate and breathe and note my blessings, so every day feels poignant and filled with an abundance of opportunity to feel grateful. 
The fact is, I have allot on my plate.. yet I can still go to the beach for lunch. Or blog ….. There is always time for living if you make living expansively a priority and don’t put the “good stuff” on hold… The harder you work, the more “living” (your time off to pursue you personal hopes, pleasures and down time) feels vibrant and meaningful. The juxtaposition of the two make the contrast all that more dramatic.

Speaking of which… Hey – I’m late for work. I have a yoga class to teach this morning in 15 minutes! Ha. Leave it to me to be blogging about work so much I miss a class…….
Well, I said I am in balance, not that I am organized! Namaste, ya’all.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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