Creating Space for Destiny
“This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without power to alter our own destiny.” -Stephen Pressfield
If you’ve received an e-mail from me anytime within the past 2 years, it’s likely that you’ve seen the quote above pasted as a sign off and parting inspiration. It’s an excerpt from the book The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield and one of the first books I picked up from the core library when I started working at lululemon athletica. The book spoke to me. It is about overcoming resistance– the struggle of creating; it is about following your intuition, muse and purpose; it is about faith; it’s about getting dirty and doing the work. I didn’t know what it would mean for me, but I found comfort in it and wanted to take a piece with me as a reminder of my own power.
I missed last week’s Friday post partly because I was overcoming some resistance about writing this post. You see, a couple weeks ago I came to the decision to leave my job at lululemon athletica to build in more time to create for myself- part of that being Dirty South Yoga. It was hard for me to write because as with any ending there are a myriad of feelings that are both personal and complex.
It didn’t help that the same week I put in my notice Jezebel came out with an article from a clearly unhappy employee. This article brought up even more complex feelings about writing my post, mostly because this is not how I feel about my time at lululemon and I didn’t want my resignation to be lumped in with this other person’s negative experience. I do have a lot of empathy for anonymous in the experience she had- also in the fact that she seems so unhappy with her job. I hope she has the courage to take a leap and find a job that gives her more fulfillment.
Talking about lululemon has always a bit of a sticky subject: people either love it, hate it or have some inquisitive curiosity about it (even my 94 year old grandfather is perplexed that there is a whole store full of yoga clothes). I’ve also been around to witness to all the controversy. Hell my first day (literally) was the infamous see-through pant black pull-back. During my first summer, I had an uncharacteristically colorful summer wardrobe and I also found my favorite pair of neon pink yoga pants.
All of this is to express just how apprehensive I was to share my experience, not wanting to stir the pot or to unwittingly cause any more controversy. It seems though that my apprehension has been outweighed by my desire to express the why’s behind my resignation and to illustrate the role lululemon played in my process.
In the simplest explanation, Dirty South Yoga Fest would not be if it weren’t for lululemon. The seed of the idea came from a lululemon blue sky meeting where a group of of Atlanta yoga teachers gathered to discuss what was happening with yoga in the south; the idea was nourished when lululemon sent me to volunteer at the South East Yoga Conference where I was inspired by Nicole and Melissa’s hard work and well orchestrated event; the idea grew during the first collaborative event I put together between lululemon and Centering Youth where I got to work with Bob, Holle and Astrid. The name came from conversations with my assistant store manager Rachelle and our bad-ass ambassador Neda. The teachers were mostly teachers I met by using my lululemon yoga benefit to take their classes. Through the vehicle of Dirty South Yoga Fest, lululemon donated $2500 to Centering Youth from their metta giving program. I would have quit early on without the infallible confidence of my lululemon HoMi’s for 8 am freak out moments. Dirty South might have ended after year one if it weren’t for continued encouragement from our chill lady ambassador Octavia. So you can see, this colorful event came out of the work of being in community- in this case the lululemon community.
That said, I did put a lot of sweat, hustle, late nights and hard work into bringing Dirty South to life. Dirty South Yoga Fest is not a lululemon event it is independently owned and operated by yours truly. The point I want to make is I was given the tools, the resources, support and inspiration, but at the end of the day no one could do the work for me. It was up to me to overcome my own resistance, get over my fear and get my hands dirty- AND I can confidently say there is no way I could have done this alone.
In the Jezebel article, anonymous describes an event Get Quiet. Live Loud. that came to her city I’m guessing only a few days before it came to Atlanta this summer. It makes me a little sad, the cynicism through which she saw the event mostly because the my experience was so different. For me, it wasn’t about the event or what was said, rather it was about the people in that room. People I wouldn’t have known. People who inspire me to be bold and do great things. People for whom I have deep love- all in one place taking a moment to get quiet and hold space for each other.
It is from this place of support, encouragement, creation and inspiration that I know my next step is to leave the security lululemon and to create space for more unknown and certain adventure. I reference another inspiring lady Jackie Carr who once left lululemon to pursue her own dream as evidence that not everyone who leaves lululemon is leaving out of resentment. Who knows Jezebel- maybe it is a happiness cult? maybe I am naive to believe that the people I work with are doing their best to elevate each other in our own imperfect way? maybe a focus on positivity, personal responsibility and choice only works for some?
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not about to blindly follow someone who asks me to do something unethical- nor have I been put in that position. I’m still not an Ayn Rand fan and I am able to use my own inner compass to filter things that work or don’t work for me around a best practice (as should anyone in any company). Regardless, I can say that I’m a different person now than when I started at lululemon 2 ½ years ago. I’ve learned a lot, met some incredible people and discovered my next adventure. I’ve begun to seen what I’m capable of and I can’t wait to see where that can take Dirty South Yoga Fest in 2015 and beyond. I’m grateful to everyone who has shared their support and encouragement on this next adventure.
And so- I end my chapter at lululemon and open the door to what is next to come.
Here’s to altering destinies, trusting your gut, and taking a leap.