Photo Credit: Julie Andersen
Last week marked nine months. Nine months since I officially became a resident of Baltimore, Maryland. As someone who didn’t relocate often (or basically ever) I could have in no way predicted what the move was going to look like.
I think sometimes in life we want an open invitation. We want someone to say to us “Hey, come here, hang out with us, and share your talents. What you have to say and who you are is needed!”
I think I’ve spent a lot of wasted energy waiting on that invitation. Hopefully, you’ll get to a point where you are fed up with waiting for someone to invite you. I did.
My plan when we moved here was to stay off the radar. I was going to be quiet about teaching yoga. I was going to write. I told myself that this move was for my husband. It was his turn. He had put in years at a job that no longer held his interest in order to allow me to have my yoga-teaching career and even though mine wasn’t paying the bills, it was feeding my soul. So, I said this move to Baltimore was for him.
Of course, I was wrong. This move was for both of us.
Three months ago, we founded Free Baltimore Yoga, a completely free yoga program; which offers 3 free yoga classes per week. We don’t make any money on it. (Hell, if I’m being honest, we lose money on it.) Beyond the money though, we have created something. Something that we think is very necessary, very needed, and something in which we believe. Of course no one was going to invite us to create this. What would the invitation even have looked like?
A sharpie scrawled across a folded piece of notebook paper that read “Will you start doing what you love for free with no conceivable way to sustain or fund this program? Will you trust that people will show up? Will you give up your resentments and what you feel is owed to you in order to be of service in a larger, still-undeterminable way?”
I mean I would probably have thrown that invitation in the recycling bin… right after I Instagrammed it with #lifeofayogateacher
We’ve found that in creating this program we have made a place for ourselves somewhere between the entrepreneurs, the artists, the jocks, and the do-gooders. Without getting too Breakfast Club about it, we never really considered ourselves any of those things and yet here we are.
We have to wake up and hustle. No one is going to hold us accountable to keeping this movement going. If these classes stop, no organization or business loses money so we won’t be replaced.
“Please don’t wait for that gilded invitation to share who you are and what you love”
We can’t outsource the design or the social media posting because we have no budget (zero!) so we’ve enrolled our friends and we combine our talents to keep putting ourselves out there and making what we know is true.
We can’t share yoga if we’re not practicing yoga so we work on service yoga. We get to our own mats and we keep going back. (Some days, it’s a long Savasana. Some days it’s just Savasana.)
We started hanging around and supporting the November Project because we believe in what they do. I #justshowup for the Baltimore November Project every Friday and some Wednesday mornings even though it’s stupid early and I’d rather do almost anything than a burpee. Seriously, have you seen me do a burpee? (It may be worth the early wake-up just to see it once.) Surrounding ourselves with their support has been vital and just plain freaking fun.
Please don’t wait for that gilded invitation to share who you are and what you love. Don’t wait for someone’s permission. The best way to feel at home in the world (and a new city) is to share yourself. Of course, it’s uncomfortable at times. People might judge and laugh and criticize. Let them. We promise what you have to say and who you are is needed.
Free Baltimore Yoga’s Current Class Schedule:
Tuesdays at 6PM – Patterson Park
Living Classrooms Center
200 S Linwood Avenue, Baltimore MD 21224
Wednesdays at 7:30PM – Pixilated HQ
3200 James Street, Baltimore MD 21230
Thursdays at 6:30PM – Parks & People
2100 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore MD 21217