It turns out that living in one of the most expensive areas of the country is hard. I’m not going to lie, I had several thoughts of, “I am somehow special and will persevere through the impossible.” I was naive to think that I could relocate to San Francisco and make it as a yoga and fitness instructor if I just work tirelessly with a driven attitude and an open heart. The truth is, I could teach 50 classes a week and I wouldn’t be able to afford to live here. I fought that reality for while and hoped that through some sort of magic, everything would work out.
It is with a very sad and heavy heart that I am announcing that I need to leave California. Even though my career is taking off in a way that I never could have imagined, I’m not able to survive in an area that caters mostly to people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I am leaving my 500-hour training, I am leaving my Lululemon ambassadorship and most importantly, I am leaving my students and the many classes that I worked hard to secure and build. I am leaving a life that I couldn’t have even dreamed of living in, a life that I was beyond grateful to participate in every day.
I can’t explain what the shock and denial of losing my life here felt like. I went through days of feeling like I didn’t understand reality, like I had taken too many drugs and was having a bad trip. I have experienced unimaginable emotional torture at the disbelief/realization that I am leaving everything that I am so proud of creating here. My body has responded, it has became weak and achy, I feel like I have the flu. I feel like I am losing myself, but most saddening to me is that I am losing my students.
Alright so, the initial shock has worn off. I’m sure there will be many more fits of panic in the mean time, but right now my head is in a clear place and I want to take this time to connect. My first thoughts were to completely shut down my website and social media and shut everyone out since I have no idea what is going on with my life. I am leaving California at the end of July and will be moving back to Colorado. I’ve gone back and forth about whether I want to teach again. This will be the third time I’ve had to start my yoga career from the ground up. Is it worth it? Is it worth spending another year trying to build classes and a student base AGAIN? This time without a car?
Of course it is. I will teach again. I will continue to do the one thing that rings true in my heart. I am coming back to Colorado with a heart full of love and gratitude for the experience I’ve had over the past year and a half. I am coming back to friends that I know love me from the bottom of their hearts and will be waiting for me with open arms. I am coming back to parents that are equally excited to see me and will provide me with temporary relief from the paranoia of not knowing if the rent will be paid or if there will be food on the table. I am coming back to students who witnessed me start teaching over five years ago and stuck with me until I left. I am coming back with the ability to offer support to anyone who is going through a hard time. I come back knowing how to handle crisis. I come back with experience that will allow me to show up as a teacher in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if my life weren’t falling apart. I come back more gentle, more kind and more compassionate.
I’ve realized that the majority of my suffering is due to my loss of identity. I am starting to understand a little bit about “egolessness”, which is discussed a lot in Buddhism. It’s true, we put so much effort into maintaining our identities and we feel threatened by and resist anything that challenges and jeopardizes it. I am feeling extremely threatened and I am working hard to keep my heart and my mind open to this loss. While I’m losing my identity, I am still love at my core. I am still dedicated to being kind to myself and others, even if I’m no long Erin Wimert, San Franciscio yoga instructor, Lululemon ambassador, blah, blah, blah. I am still love and that will never change.
This is where I am and I am making a promise to my students, my friends, my family and anyone who finds comfort in reading my words, that I will not shut down, I will not shut anyone out my experience and I will be open and honest about my life moving forward. I am here as a source of strength or an open ear to anyone who is experiencing financial crisis or any kind of crisis for that matter. I am forever a teacher, forever a student and I hope you stick with me as move into this new chapter of my life. Namaste.