I opened a studio called Soma almost twenty years ago. I used to hold classes there where we engaged in movement, dance, and creative expression to heal and build community. I wrote this many years ago, when I had just opened the studio. Beginnings, often loaded with insecurity and ambiguity, can be a rough time for the ego as well as a time to mature and grow. Here was my story back then:

I had to cancel one of my classes for children and parents. It is such a beautiful class, and I feel sad that it won’t happen this month. I love the intentionality of this class. I love that parents play with their children in this class. We play with sticks with each other; we play a game where the parent’s lap is a nest and the children fly away to only fly home, again and again. We paint each other’s bodies (the children love this one; it can be unnerving to those parents who don’t want to get messy!), and we close with a ritual using stones and articulating our love for each other. I love holding this class, and I am sad that it won’t happen this month.

When I first opened my business, I cannot tell you how many times I held classes for one, two, and sometimes no other students but me. Being out in my studio was important in those times. My heart continued to guide me, whispering very clearly, “Stay out here, Jenny. It is the only way to overcome the messages of your ego.” These were not great messages: “This business will never fly,” “Nobody cares about this work,” “You are all alone out here,” and even “Nobody likes you.” The messages of an ego that had gotten way too powerful over the many years of my life.

The only way to hear the heart is to spend time with it. It is the only way to turn the volume up on the heart – by spending time in relationship with it and taking the risks that following your heart requires. I had spent so much time with my undisciplined mind – for a while it was all I could hear. It takes my warrior nature to cut through those voices, and I am beginning to know that warrior very well. All of the nights – some very cold ones – I spent in my studio, wondering what in God’s name I was doing, it was the wisdom of my heart that kept me going. Slowly, people began to come. The more I did my own work, cutting through all of the other stuff within me, I trusted the work I brought to others. I had to feel into those dark corners to trust myself. What kind of a teacher would I be without doing that?

When I have to cancel a class, all of those voices can come back. Voices of self-doubt, of blame, of fear. My heart is louder now, and I trust that it is leading me. Not only when my class is full and overflowing, but when there is not enough to hold a class. I do know that cancellations – contractions – are part of life. I am going to go with it. I am going to honor it.

Reading this almost twenty years later has been so helpful as I experience the contractions of my long-term work again. I will not follow the fearful voices of the ego. I will listen deeply to what is within me, to those who share the vision and mission I am dedicated to, and to those we serve. This has always cleared a way for me and the work I am called to.

Read more of my writing in my new community-made and published book at Sourced Press: sourcedpress.org

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