When I moved to Austin, I was 17. I stayed in Austin until I was 34. I turned 21 here. I partied like mad here.
I was married on the lake here. I was divorced here.
I had my first baby here. I suffered the greatest shit storm of my life here.
And I became a yogi — a devout, aware yogi — here.
Here, I also cultivated a 12-year career in marketing. Then I walked away from said career, returning to Fort Worth, where my mother was in her time of need.
Austin has always felt like home for my soul. I never quite felt like I fit in growing up in Fort Worth, but in Austin, I felt like everything was exactly as it should be.
My dad would visit. “These people are weird,” he would say. I didn’t see it. What I saw was happiness. What I saw was joy. What I saw and felt and heard and smelled and tasted was a thriving environment of people who were dedicated to creativity and being outside and being healthy … both inside and out. And I finally felt at home. I decided I liked weird. And perhaps weird was good.
When my marriage unraveled, I was not innocent. I panicked and behaved in ways I am not proud of. I've worked for years to forgive myself, and I feel like I have made a lot of progress.
When a marriage dissolves, so do a lot of friendships. This past weekend, I returned to Austin to teach workshops.
I practiced at this studio for years. From the time when the doors first opened to when I moved back to Fort Worth, this studio was a cornerstone of my weekly life. My husband actually helped build this studio. His business partner once owned it. This studio is home.
It took me a long time to get on the calendar to teach workshops here. A long time. Like two years. I started going back and forth with the owner two years ago. Austin is a yoga mecca. It’s not an easy place to draw a crowd. It’s not easy to get on the calendar to teach workshops here, but I made it happen. With grace and help and support and love, I made it happen.
So there I was, a little nervous. Advance sign-ups weren’t that huge, but I proceeded. I focused on manifesting. What did I want to create? I let myself see the room full. I let myself feel the incredible joy of the room being chock full of happy yogis. I drove to Austin. I brought the kids. I dropped them off with various folks.
There I was, greeting people as they walked in. So many old friends. Some folks I used to party it up with back in the day. Some friends I was just on the beach with a month ago in Galveston; they drove in from Houston. Some people who are new to me, having tracked me down from my MindBodyGreen pieces. Some people who follow me on Instagram. Some people I’ve done teacher trainings with in the past. I was honored to see each and every one of them.
As I’m hugging one such attendee, I see another girl walking up the steps in a shy manner. She gives off this energy like she wants to say, “Don’t look at me.” Something in my subconsciousness recognizes that energy, recognizes her. But I'm hugging someone, so I try to stay present for that person. When the hug is complete, I get my first chance to see her, the shy one.
Something in my heart, a tender place, a place I have been hiding and ignoring for longer than I am clearly aware of is instantly ripped open. But not in an ugly way — it comes from a place of yearning, of longing.
I see her. She's someone I've traveled with. Laughed with. Danced with. Cried with. Held dearly in my heart for a period of time. Someone I lost when I left my first marriage. Someone I wish I hadn't lost. And here she is in front of me, shyly smiling.
I was genuinely happy to see all the people I'd hugged before. But I had no idea how happy I would be to see this. To hug her. In person. Not on Instagram, but standing in front of me. The little girl in me is jumping up and down clapping her hands.
This is the woman who truly understood my fear of losing my mother, because her mother passed too. The woman who inspired me to be just a little kinder, just a little more thoughtful, just a little more present just by being herself. The beautiful soul who never knew how important she was and how much she meant to everyone around her. And I let the tears pour out as I held her and rocked side to side.
In that moment, a healing journey began. One that I didn’t even know that I needed.
I give to you this story — a piece of my soul — in hopes that it might help you touch those places inside that you aren’t even aware need healing. Is there anyone out there you need to reach out to? Empower yourself to begin your healing journey.