Thursday, June 28, 2012


Trying to figure things out, as usual.

Pretending that I have a career teaching yoga, acting like the professional and well-employed teacher I was in another place.  The effect of a piece of technological marketing is impressive as three attempts to make contact receive three responses.  Batting 1000 after 18 months of batting .02.

A brief, emotionally fulfilling visit from old friends.  Several of my pieces are heading with those same friends to Berlin, perhaps to start a new market for my wares.  This after resigning myself to giving up felting for the time being.

Nothing has changed in my day-to-day work life.  Very few classes to teach, albeit with a handful of wonderful students putting me to the test.  The rest of the time making coffee and sandwiches and doing dishes and taking money.  At home, there is laundry, summer chauffeuring, groceries, cooking.  Same bat channel...  (All right, I have gotten the children to do some of the cooking now that I work until dinnertime several nights a week.)

And yet, it all feels new.  Promising, even.  As though with this move to a new state, that I know inherently is right even as it has been a real struggle at times, reality is starting to catch up with wishing.  

Is it all a state of my mind?  Am I finding contentment?
And is it due to external factors?

Or is it simply pretending things are different and, by pretending, finding them so.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mr. Gorbachev, ...

 Life in my 40s in Minnesota is not as expected.  Big surprise. Are any of us doing what we envisioned in our youth for our grown-up selves?
I face strange choices about family vs. work vs. pursuing my true talents.  I have the luxury of complaining about first-world problems and not whether the water is drinkable or whether my children will starve.  The death of a good friend's 11-year-old son has knocked some sense into me about the real problems I don't have.
Does this mean I've found contentment? Not exactly.
I had a hard time mourning and grieving after Special K died in May.  I was not near those in Michigan who could reel from this loss with me.  So I picked up The Last Lecture to allow some of my emotions to come up to the surface.  And in it, I did find comfort and release.
I also found inspiration. 
Since moving to MN, I have complained about not finding my way into the yoga community here. I have sent emails and resumes. I have knocked on studio doors.  I have been met with silence at best; offers to take that studio's teacher training program at worst.  I have come up with reasons why there might be resistance to a teacher of my experience.  I have shelved my enthusiasm for introducing Eischens Yoga to a new community.  And Randy Pausch's Last Lecture kicked me in the butt and reminded me that the brick walls you encounter are there to help you discover how much you really want to do something.  How hard you'll try to scale, dig under, or break through that wall.
Eischens Yoga is going to make inroads into the Twin Cities. 
Look out, brick wall.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Got laundry?

Back in my old version of life, back in Michigan, I taught yoga.  I taught several classes a week that were well attended and had such good word-of-mouth that, by the time I left Michigan, I didn't need to expend much out-of-class effort to promote my classes.  I showed up and taught.  I had several private clients over the years who came to me for such varied issues as how to prevent knee surgery, how to recover from hip replacement, how to run a marathon, how to work toward advanced yoga poses.  This was not a hobby for me.  It was and is a passion.  The income I derived was also a necessity for our family.  The success of my yoga teaching allowed me to create and pursue Woolynns.  I could felt, apply for the occasional art show, spend a weekend selling my handmade wares.  But I did it with the knowledge I'd be back teaching my classes, seeing my clients come Monday.

I am not in that life now.  I forgot about the considerable hours outside of teaching required to create a yoga teaching schedule.  I forgot about arriving to find only one student in class.  I forgot about no one coming to the workshops. It takes time to find the venues where Eishens Yoga can take root; to reach out to the various likely communities to attract students; to promote and promote and promote.  But I have also been trying to do this for Woolynns: figure out where the appropriate art shows are, apply, update my etsy store, promote, sell, ship.  And in between all the research and the venue/art show hunting and the promotion, there is still the daily work: teaching, practicing, planning workshops and events, felting, creating displays, photographing scarves, cooking, schlepping, grocery shopping, laundry, and lately, the barista work that is helping put groceries on the table.

It hits me finally that I am exhausting myself and with little to show for it.  I need more income. I need more time.  The most obvious choice is to put Woolynns aside for a while.  Once I have a yoga career that can sustain itself without hours of outside work on my part, once my job at the coffee shop is not so vital to our daily survival, I plan to felt again.  I have ideas for Woolynns creatively, but I also need to invest in displays, file LLC documentation here in MN, make inroads into the  local fiber art community.  It occurs to me what a luxury making art is when you are trying to raise a family.  It requires a level of security I do not currently have.  (Not that it requires wealth; we were hardly wealthy back in MI.)

Years ago, I was struck by an article by a senior yoga instructor who was ending a few classes because she needed time to do laundry.  It has stayed with me all these years that everything we do is important to our well-being and should be given its proper amount of time.  In an effort to find balance in my own life, Woolynns is officially on hiatus. The shop remains open, the inventory is there for the buying, and the sketches will continue for future creations.  But my limited resources are going into yoga.

And laundry.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Changing the Landscape

January 1st always seems like an arbitrary new year.  Flowers coming up in Spring feels like the start of a new year, as does September with each new school year beginning.  Maybe that's why Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) has always felt right to me.  Regardless, January 1st is how our calendar places the new year.  Not even timed with Winter Solstice, this "beginning" is in a dark time of year.  Here in the Midwest, it means short days, long nights; frozen ground, if not a lot of snow; cold weather.  Not exactly inspiring material for creating, for starting fresh.  And yet, if all my yoga can guide me here, I am not the same person today that I was yesterday.  I am not the same person that I was an hour ago.  Every action, every breath changes me ever so subtly.  I am new in each moment.  I can tap into this newness at any time and find a way to start fresh.

I've been reading articles, journaling, having conversations about how to grow Woolynns.  What direction to take.  Some of it is simply getting to know Minnesota better and figuring out where my work fits in.  But some of it is in the art itself.  Am I really making what I want to make?  Or am I recreating past successes hoping for another sale?  Can I sell what I want to make?  Can I make what sells?  These questions right here are my New Year's Eve, my Spring, my first day of school.  They are the seeds for whatever is about to grow.  And some of them won't grow right away, or even at all.   I intend to water them all, but I am sure I will forget some of them, unintentionally losing a possibility. It is important that I plant them even still.  Time to create a new landscape.

I had an acting teacher (eons ago) who told me to throw lots of balls in the air;  that way there is a better of chance of catching at least one.  Watch me throw about 12.  
Right now.