In November 2016, just as I was approaching the completion of my Nutrition degree, I got the news that I’d have an unexpected delay in moving on to the next step in my studies. In order to sit for the Registered Dietitian (RD) exam, you have to first be accepted into a supervised internship program to complete 1200 hours. Long story short, I didn’t get into a program. So, unfortunately I would have to go through the expensive and time-consuming application process again. But first, yoga.
(🗝KEY: seize the moment)
As is said, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” so where better than in Negril, Jamaica. As soon as I knew I wasn’t starting my internship, I signed up for a 16-day intensive yoga teacher training (YTT). I figured what better way to celebrate the completion of my degree program, while slowing down and enjoying a change of scenery. I had no idea exactly what I would do with my training, though I was always a lover of travel and learning. It’s also true that I had been practicing yoga since 2009, worked as a karma yogi at a local studio, and completed a 30-hour yoga intensive before this. In hindsight it was a natural progression. In the midst of working and school, I never knew how I would find the time. Though just like that, life — the Universe opened a brief window, allowing me to take what might initially seem like a crisis, and create an opportunity.
(🗝KEY: celebrate important benchmarks along the way)
The timing was perfect. The 2016 election had just passed and the inauguration was approaching. The opportunity to tune out of the mass hysteria was welcomed. And. Negril. In a word: lovely. And the energy there was all love. I went to learn yoga, though I had also set an intention to immerse myself into as full of a cultural experience as possible. I cooked as often as possible with the Rasta bredren who served as both groundskeepers and chefs. I observed and engaged with them, listened to their stories and absorbed their wisdom.
(🗝KEY: explore and expand)
When I arrived in Negril, I unexpectedly did not have phone or internet service. My YTT instructors were kind enough to lend me a no frills local phone, with just enough minutes to let my family know I arrived and where to reach me in an emergency. This too was a blessing in disguise. Since I returned home from Negril in February 2017, I have been more mindful and intentional about my use of phone and internet technology.
(🗝KEY: be adaptable)
Soon after getting back home, I went to see my tax preparer and was sharing with her my reflections on Negril. She then informed me that if I made any income from my training as a yoga teacher, I could write off the expense of my training. I had an infamous “ah hah” moment, and asked her about starting an LLC. So, although I had to focus on the process of reapplying to a nutrition internship, I also spent lots of time brainstorming business concepts, names, and symbolism on my own and in consultation with trusted friends.
(🗝KEY: listen to that still small voice)
By late summer 2017, I had filed for an LLC, begun subbing yin yoga classes, worked with an artist on a business logo and card design, and was starting the first of four rotations for my nutrition internship. Everything appeared to be falling into place. Though getting to that point was far from a smooth journey.
(🗝KEY: be persistent)
As we approach 2020 and enter a new decade, I take time to reflect on accomplishments, goals, lessons, and triumphs. It has been almost exactly 3 years since my decision to seize the moment, with no other agenda than to enjoy life. From this birthed the seeds of what is now EcoEmpress, Nutrition, Yoga and Wellness. For me, this has become a labor of love, a service of passion, and a business of purpose. Thank you for coming along for the journey.
(🗝KEY: practice gratitude)