Two years ago my partner and I left Arrowtown to seek our fortunes in the big city.
I’d been following my twin passions of writing and yoga as a freelancer in Queenstown, but was struggling financially in a big way. Everything I tried to do, I came up against brick walls- left, right and centre.
Nothing seemed to be working for me at all.
After a short three day trip to Wellington over the summer of 2008, I knew that Wellington was where I needed to be.
Fortunately, it was where my partner wanted to be too.
So we packed up and set off, on a mission to find our places in the world and make some serious money.
Despite having lived in a handful of big cities over the years – London, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland – coming to Wellington was tough.
I knew no one, had no contacts, felt completely out of my depths in the ‘real world’, and struggled to get any kind of decent CV together.
I knew I was more than capable, but had no idea of how to translate years of traveling, waitressing, go go dancing, partying and freelancing into something that said “hire me”! Especially when for many years I’d only worked six or eight months out of twelve at most.
I scoured Seek, and applied for jobs but just had no experience in the work that was on offer. I didn’t really have experience in much – except yoga, writing, running a wordpress blog and creating connections within communities.
And then one slow afternoon at my PA job, I spotted a Seek ad for a Speechwriter.
My heart leaped.
Right there at the desk inside my chest I felt this sensation inside that I knew meant this was the job for me. I’d had a passion for public speaking and politics my entire life – once voted Most Likely to Become Prime Minister in my high school yearbook, before dropping out of University and taking off for a footloose and fancy free hippie lifestyle.
A voice inside loudly proclaimed, “As if! You’ll never be able to get that job – you’ve got no experience.”
But I did have experience, I’d done Toastmasters in Queenstown, setting and achieving a personal goal to finish my first ten speeches in less than a year. And once, at high school, I’d won second place in a regional speech confidence Armed with that, and a cocky confidence because I knew I was a damn fine writer, I bolshied my way into an interview, made it on to the shortlist and was asked to write a speech with a 24 hour turn around. I did the job in half the time, and landed the job.
I’d finally Made It!
I was a speechwriter for the Minster of Social Development (then Ruth Dyson, later Paula Bennett), among others.
This was it – this was the epitome of a career move for a writer who wanted to change the world.
How deluded I was.
My experience inside the world of the public service was illuminating to say the least, mostly disheartening, and often just plain old George Orwell 1984.
Speechwriting wasn’t it at all.
The Emperer Had No Clothes and now that I could see he was naked, I didn’t know where to look, or what to do.
All the while, I’d been keeping up my yoga. Finding a class to teach here, a class to teach there. Meeting the local yoga community. Taking a few days off to do a Prana Flow teacher training when the opportunity arose. Starting a website about my personal journey into yoga. Using my yoga to make sense of my relationship challenges.
My job at MSD fast convinced me that inside the system was was not where I needed to be at all, because I didn’t fit, and that was OK. I could see too many holes, too many untruths, too much ego, too much crap and just too much bullshit. I didn’t know how to be my authentic self within the confines of the job and the company in a way that could work through all that stuff.
On the other side of things, my yoga website was growing, I was meeting the most amazing group of people that I felt completely in sync with, and my yoga students were loving my classes. From my students’ feedback I knew that I was making far more of a real difference in teaching yoga and writing about yoga than I was in putting words into politicians’ mouths. (Although that was fun!)
I began to realise that this was it.
Yoga. Community. Connection. Writing.
So when I was able to walk away from my lucrative speechwriting gig because I was having a baby, (yay Samuel!) I knew it was the perfect opportunity to get serious about what really mattered.
I relaunched my website as The Yoga Lunchbox and set my intentions to serve the yoga community to the best of my skills and talents.
Now, two years since Luke and I came to Wellington to seek our fortunes, I know I’ve found mine.
Not where I thought it would be, in a high powered corporate or political job, but in doing just what I’d been doing all along – yoga, writing, websites and connection.
What’s changed since Queenstown is that I know now that this has value – enormous value. I have value. All those years traveling around the world connecting with people, throwing parties, writing about what was going on in the community, having a damn fine time and generally getting up to a lot of mischief… it wasn’t wasted at all.
I’ve got skills.
I’ve got talents.
Plus most of all, I’ve got passion.
And now, I’ve found a use for these things that serves the community.
This makes me feel extremely fortunate! Yep, I’ve found my fortune alright.
These last two weeks in Wellington have been a dream. I’ve been out doing yoga classes around the town, enjoying the benefits of many different teachers and styles as I catch up with my friends and see what’s going on in the yoga community.
In the last 17 days I’ve done 9 yoga classes:
- A class each with Kelly & Lynda at Yoga Unlimited
- A class at Sadhana Yoga with Ali Hale Tilley
- A Bikram class, and also a Hot Yoga class with Lou Cassella
- Astanga yoga with Mike
- Kundalini yoga with Melissa at MYOGA
- Satyananda yoga with Tyag
- Yoga with Roger.
Not only has it been lovely to see all of my friends in their element, but it has also been fascinating to see the differences and similarities between all the different yoga styles.
Each class has brought insight and benefits in different ways, and affected me in different ways. It has reminded me that there is a yoga out there for everyone.
It’s given me a snapshot on the Wellington yoga community, and a chance to connect with a handful of teachers and see what their concerns, needs and joys are.
But the best part of this? This a necessary part of my self-created “job”!
This is what I’ll spend my time doing.
Being in the community.
And while strictly speaking, the fortune hasn’t flowed yet… I know it will.
Because when you finally find your niche in the world, where you can best serve, how can it not?
Thank you Wellington.
Big love to the yoga community here.
Dunedin, here I come!