by Joanna D.

Things certainly were different a year ago. A different life. I was practicing everyday and continually being filled with opportunities to study Ashtanga but something was still blocking my view. I craved more. Taking a look at my life was in order. Not a glance or a ho-hum inquiry but a serious look. I was working full time and not fulfilled by it; craving companionship and not being solid enough in myself to cultivate it; getting distracted by my habits, patterns and hiding places. The more I looked, watched and contemplated the more I truly saw that things really had to change in order to shift. So, the decision was made to leave.

Now, here I am in Philly missing the West side.

Missing; mountains, lakes, rivers, stars, sunsets, a fifteen minute drive to absolute seclusion, fresh clean air, long dirt roads, making plans for the weekend with friends who became my family, and my family who became my friends, the Rocket Bakery, the Good Food Store, Mizuna, Buck’s kitchen, late night 80’s dance party, my records, Brown’s Addition, porch couch, Highway 93 from Coeur d’Lane, ID to St. Regis, MT, the Flathead river and of course my home Shala in Spokane, WA.

Time to take a look at that.

It’s actually pretty simple I think. This adventure or journey or what ever you want to call it has been extremely challenging. Mentally and physically demanding. I didn’t know what would happen when I got here but whatever idea I had in my head… it certainly wasn’t that. Nope. Not that. It was harder. Traveling from the space and beauty of the Northwest to India and now the last five months in Philadelphia, PA. I’m watching, assisting, teaching, learning to see. Cultivating sight.

Many of those things I miss will continue to be a part of me. The ones that keep me grounded yet light in my heart are the ones that add to my practice and teaching. But the other ones, the habits and distractions, those are the ones I use practice to release.

I notice the challenge of coming across the country to study with my teacher was compounded by the ache of leaving certain aspects of my life behind. But, this work, this level of study and practice … this is shaping what I want to carry with me and pass into the world. Already it has planted a seed within me so strong that those things I miss are richer, more precious and appreciated for it.