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Spreading my wings

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Mariannecedar1_sm Me at a sunny Santa Monica picnic with my sweetheart, Cedar. Photo by his mama, Denise.

My friend Swirly has a saying, "your wings already exist, all you have to do is fly".* She's a wise one.

When I quit my great, meaningful job at Oxfam to write and teach yoga full-time there were a few things I wasn't sure about. I wasn't sure what would happen to all the hard work I'd put into some ongoing projects if they didn't find the right person to fill my spot. I wasn't sure whether I was really 'good enough' to teach yoga yet and I wasn't sure how I was going to afford to complete my advanced yoga teacher training and finish the book without any regular income. But I was sure that it was time to take a leap of faith in myself, both in my ability to write the book and in my ability to find the right way for me to teach yoga and do community/service work.

So I leapt.

My wings were there after all. Just like Swirly says. Not only did I find that the same courage that had taken me to Gaza and Afghanistan could take me into the strange new world of being 'unemployed', I also discovered that all around me circumstances seemed to be conspiring to help make my dreams come true.

I found that I was in California at just the right time to do an extraordinary workshop with the founders of Off the Mat, Into the World. In those three women, their team at Off the Mat and all the others who turned up at the workshop I found a community of people who are committed to "conscious-activism", a term that I'd already been exploring with friends who are both yogis/meditators and activists here in New Zealand. I found a world-class organisation that was already doing what I wanted to do and, even better, that wanted me to join them in doing it.

I found that there was someone perfect for 'my' job, and that she was right here under our noses and ready to get started right away. There would be no long fallow period during which all my hard work withered away to nothing. She will step in, step up and probably do a much better job than I ever would have. Not because I wasn't great at the job but because it was time for me to do something else, and it is time for her to do just this.

I found that there were opportunities for me to teach yoga in places that I might never have dared to look for them. I discovered that I was good enough, and that my unique situation and style is a strength rather than a weakness. I don't have a lot of flexibility so I can teach yoga for beginners and stiff folk with empathy and lots of great modifications.

I found that a long term investment in a family-run business was, for the first time, going to making a good showing this year and as a result I'd be earning a little income from it. Nothing outrageous, but enough to cover the cost of my yoga training fees and perfectly timed.

Most of all, I found that I have an amazing circle of family and friends who all want to see me succeed. I have great networks and connections all over the world and they are all generous with their encouragement and support.

So now it is time to write, to practice and teach yoga, to enjoy the natural beauty of Paekakariki in the spring time and to find new and local ways to keep changing the world – one heart, one tree, one child at a time.

*If you'd like your own reminder of this wisdom, you can get some of Swirly's great wall art here


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14 Responses to "Spreading my wings"

  1. tiny noises says:

    i heart you! (and this wonderful post)
    thank you for being so wise. soar away!
    xx xxx

  2. Stefanie says:

    That is what it is. And the world is telling you so. We win and lose some, but if we believe (and I am finding are also kind to ourselves in the process) we can only flourish. I am glad you are so blessed.

  3. Peter says:

    Each choice in life deserves a consciencious decision… And then a jump only trusting our gut feeling….
    Being a slight bit older than you, I can look back and see now that the jumps I have made have only strengthened the belief in myself. To be able to do what I had in mind, but more so, that “I could trust my instincts”…
    Wishing you the bests… From aidworker to yoga teacher… Looking forward to the book!

  4. Susannah says:

    you’re going to fly so high, love. i just wish we were closer so i could learn yoga from you – i know you’d be able to unlock my inner yogini 🙂 xx

  5. Tesni says:

    It was obviously all meant to be. I think that when there is something that we should be doing, hte universe always seems to conspire to make it so, and things just fall into place, and all the world seems possible. I love that last line of your post, about changing the world one heart, one tree, one child at a time.

  6. Nikki says:

    So glad it is all working out for you M!

  7. amy says:

    a lovely post and a gorgeous photo. thank you for sharing your leap of faith. it’s inspiring.

  8. cath says:

    sooo glad that you’ve invested in yourself!! i think that when we take these plunges, and put our dreams into the universe, that the universe opens up for us… ahhhhh

  9. leonie says:

    how fantastic that the universe is supporting you in the pursuit of your dreams
    i think it’s an excellent reminder that it’s the right path
    it seems to be going around, our lives are getting a bit of a shake-up at the moment too and it’s all good!

  10. megg says:

    I think that you should come over and teach Sus and I some yoga!!
    I am so proud of you and thrilled to read this post – it’s so strong and beautiful!

  11. Andi says:

    1st, that picture of you with Cedar is divine! You are glowing & I love the outfit. 🙂
    2nd, “your wings already exist, all you have to do is fly,” has to be one the best quotes I’ve ever heard!!! That really touched me.
    3rd, I’m very much inspired with your leap of faith. I knew it would turn out to be the right decision, since you were following your heart. I can’t wait to see where this new journey leads you…

  12. EJ says:

    so good to read such a positive post!

  13. sas says:

    yep – the universe conspiring to make your dreams come true – thats what its all about. sweet as!

  14. susanna says:

    Hurray for you, Marianne! You continue to be an inspiration for me.

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