At the end of June this year I left the NHS. I had worked there since the age of 18, (I am now 46) when I started my general nurse training. I never subscribed to the pension, I didn’t intend staying…I stayed for longer than I intended but l did leave for a few years here and there in several futile attempts to find an alternative. I guess in some ways thats been a theme throughout my life. If I haven’t felt that I was on the ‘right’ path I have changed direction, in many ways. In my 20s addiction work was right for me, in Central London, dynamic, fluid lifestyle. As we age we change. Our Yoga practice changes (Ramaswami has a book, Yoga for the 3 stages of life), our lifestyle, relationships, and so why would we be suited to the same work all of our lives? We change, we grow, we move on.
This time it’s different. I haven’t gone to work anywhere else, or for anyone else. I have gone out on a limb and I am working for myself. I have finally made the leap. In some ways daunting, in other (most) ways it just felt right. Many times over the years I have considered leaving the work I was doing in addictions services and felt a largely emotional pull back, but this time was different, I was done with it.
How do we know when something has come to an end? When is the time right to move on? How do we know that what we choose to do, what path we take, will work for us? The fact is…we don’t. There has to be some kind of ‘handing it over to the universe’ type attitude to a large extent. In terms of business I guess you can do spreadsheets, calculations and all of that, but if its not the right time or the right thing will it work, no matter how good you are at the paperwork?
So here I am, hosting Yoga classes and one to one sessions, retreats and lovely Ayurvedic Therapies. I have quickly realised that I don’t miss my ‘old’ life at all. The pressure and the stress, the running on the spot type feeling, as though I was constantly trying to run the wrong way up the down escalator, getting nowhere fast.
The thing is, if someone wants to change their life (drug and alcohol use or anything else) then they will do it when they are ready. No-one can enforce the change. I have seen amazing positive life changes in people over the years, but I have also experienced a great deal of sadness. I have felt frustrated and disempowered, and then elated. All because of someone else and what I feel they can achieve.
And thats the point, its not about me, none of it. Its about the client, the patient, service user, whatever you want to call them. And the same applies with what I’m doing now. The difference now is that the people I see are motivated and do want to change or to practice Yoga, or to improve their wellbeing using Ayurveda, to care for themselves. We can be made to feel guilty for doing this, for looking after ourselves….more on that later.
Some people have said to me ‘I guess you harden to it after a while’, about working in addiction services and the NHS. No, you don’t ‘harden to it’, you see things as they really are. That if people want to change they will change, if they don’t they won’t, and none of it is because of me. They may value my support or not, they can have that in any case. There has to be an attitude of acceptance, of non-attachment to other peoples stuff. This can be applied in the whole of life. So much ‘stuff’ that we worry about day in day out is not even ours! Next time you’re worrying or muttering to yourself just check, is it even your stuff?
So, I stopped stressing and wondering how I was going to live the life I wanted, that I had hoped for, dreamed of (although I had no idea all those years ago what Yoga even was!) and I did it. I never had any concrete plans years ago, but I knew the feeling I felt when I fantasised about how life could be. Now I have that feeling everyday. What I really want to do now is to pass on my life lessons, the lesson of courage and of following and listening to your intuition and your heart, not your mind! If you’re wanting to do something but afraid or hesitant, think about it….how long have you got on this earth, what do you really want to do, whats stopping you. Life really is very finite, we never know whats around the corner, we need to make to most of every beautiful moment. So if you’re feeling ready…..start the change today.