by columnist Melissa Billington, Ear2Earth
Early on in my running ‘career’ I was pulled out of running hurdles to make up the needed numbers on our team for the mid and long distance races.
I never considered myself a long distance runner, even when I was one!
I preferred the immediate victory of seeing (or not) a clear flight over hurdle after hurdle, laid down in my path.
I felt more capable managing the spurts of running required before, after and in between hurdles, than I did the sustained energy and determination required to run miles at a time.
Of course, Life (in the form of my coach at the time) had different plans for me.
I was being trained to hold my own over the long run.
Once I got the hang of cross-country and long distance track events, I was then trained for mid-distance and relay races. I found these even more challenging because one needs to balance the stick-to-it-iveness of the longer distance with the drive of the sprint, plus learn how to relate to others.
I had to learn how to hand off the baton smoothly so that the next person had the best start possible to their leg of the race.
This part I found particularly unnerving because the repercussions of not doing well at the hand-off not only affected the next person, but the entire four person team and then the entire track team overall.
I can’t say that they are over, however I feel sure that this leg of the race is nearly over and that it’s time for me to hand over the baton.
Perhaps it will be one person who takes on the mantle of management of these existing businesses. Or perhaps these businesses will continue to be supported by an entire collective of people, as has been the case from the very beginning.
At this stage in my innermost personal life, it is vital for me to visit with family and friends overseas, most of whom I haven’t seen since stepping into these ventures of holding space and holding classes five years ago. I also feel ready to conceive children, god/dess willing.
While it’s hard for me to imagine not being involved in some way, such as creative director or contributing teacher, I am no longer prepared to be solely responsible for MYOGA and Powa Centre as I have been.
And yet I would hate to see all that has been built, all the distance we’ve come, simply drop away once I step away from the helm.
From the beginning of teaching I have been adamant about each individual taking responsibility for her own empowerment and independence in the practice.
These qualities are inherent in the branding of MYOGA and in the ethos of Powa Centre.
I have included Homeplay in the Basics Series and this year published that series in Photobook and Audio form to further support those willing to step up to themselves on the mat, at home. I would love to continue this publication process with the seven sadhanas of MYOGA’s Seasonal Structure in book/audio form as well.
I would also love to travel with the teachings, as a way of making possible those visits with family and friends, offering what I have to share along the way.
No one can make your life journey for you. Only you can run your race.
Only you can kick your butt into gear to start (again, and again, and again). Only you can dig your heels in to keep going when all you want to do is stop and pass out.
There was a day in June 2010, a few months after my father died when I wasn’t able to return to the States because of the financial restraints of Powa Centre’s commercial lease and the schedule restraints of MYOGA that funded the overheads. All I could do was keep going.
Yet one Tuesday, Mars day, and my busiest day of five classes, I was walking up a relatively steep hill (the top of the Terrace) in Wellington between the third and fourth class. I only got a few steps when I stopped in the middle of the footpath. I couldn’t seem to take another step and I was on the verge of tears.
I stood there exhausted and disheartened until I heard in my head,
Just take one step at a time. Go on, you can do it. Count them, count your steps. Just one step at a time.
I thought perhaps it was my father trying to help me in a way he never could when he was alive.
So I took slow, painstaking steps and for some reason I counted them, not really understanding why at the time.
To reach the top of the hill it took about five hundred steps. From there it was a bit easier going downhill and it was another, roughly, five hundred steps to reach the bend in the road that led to the straight-away trajectory to Powa.
From there another four hundred steps until I saw a friend and she smiled her great, encouraging smile. And from there it was only a short two hundred steps to the door of the tromp l’oeil building that houses Powa Centre, the prostitute painted on the side, leaning forever in her ’80s mini skirt with her scratched-out eyes.
Once I started the count I felt this short journey was somehow significant, so I wrote all these points down in my daybook once I climbed those last stairs and entered the haven that level 1, 1 Marion Street had become for me. And has become for so many others over the years.
Seeing each step as one day moving me forward, I saw reaching the top of the hill, where it became a little easier to walk downhill, was about three years into having the businesses, October 2011.
Turning a corner in the business came earlier this year with the membership structure that has made such a huge difference in cashflow, and with the publication of the Basics Series.
Seeing my friend on the street will correlate to April 2014 and reaching the door of the studio is October 2014, roughly the amount of time I reckon it’ll take to organize a successful succession plan.
I could not see then, and only in writing now, see how much like a track race that count became for me. Like counting the laps or the meters already run in order to build determination for the remaining ground to cover. Some days those counts were the thinnest, and even the only, material seeing me through the day.
Just one more step, take just one more step. This day only—make your way through this day only.
It’s similar to a home yoga practice.
No matter how many supports you have in materials and in moral support from other humans, only you can show up for yourself on the mat.
Only you can take the next step you need to take in your evolution and empowerment. No one else can run that race for you.
Sometimes, particularly with a challenging Kundalini yoga exercise involving holding the arms above the head for minutes on end, I’ll say to students,
Do it as though your life depends on it.
That seems to make a difference. Interestingly, what seems to make even more of a difference, especially with women and even more especially with pregnant women, is when I say,
Do it as though the life of someone you love, as though their life, depends on it.
It’s really relatively unusual that we test ourselves in this way. We might stay the course with the mundane and ordinary slog of our lives.
What I want to know is, will you step onto the track and stay the course for the extraordinary in yourSelf? For the only race You can run?
Go on, you can do it. Just take one step– one day–at a time.
Interested in an opportunity to get involved with MYOGA and Powa Centre, a boutique yoga centre located in the centre of Wellington? The current commercial lease runs until December 2013.
Melissa is looking for expressions of interest from people, or groups of people, interested on taking on the business in some way, shape or form. All the hardest work of business establishment has been done including branding, clients, systems, reputation and momentum.
Melissa is still interested in being involved in some way – perhaps as Creative Director, or Head Teacher.
If you are interested in joining a discussion on the future of MYOGA and Powa Centre, in Wellington, past December 2013, please contact Melissa directly.