Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To Seattle or Not To Seattle.

        (That is the Question.)

In early 2011, I decided to temporarily retire. People love to tell me, ‘You’re too young to retire.” But I’ve always done things when I was too young. When I was in third grade, I opened up a candy store in my bedroom and sold to the neighborhood kids. In junior high I was also an enterpriser, but this time I delivered gum and was usually sold out daily by second period. At 15, I was driving a car and had a job, both things that the state of California said I couldn’t do until I was 16. I bought my first car the same month I got my license (as soon as it was legal). When I was twenty years old, I already owned two condo units and ran a branch office of an auto insurance agency. At 25 I branched out and started to sell life insurance, too. At the age of 26 I walked away from that business and all of my real estate investments and moved from California to Washington state without a clue what I was going to do with my life.

In Seattle, I experimented with being a UPS driver, considered being a park ranger and also took a job cleaning houses that didn’t work out. I ended up in the fitness, massage and acting business, and after a few years doing this in Seattle, I moved to New York City to ‘make it in the big apple”. I continued working in fitness, doing body work and acting on stage, TV, films and commercials; and I also got a lot of work doing commercial print modeling. 

I enjoyed that life for eleven more years until I decided it was again time to hang up my hat and re-invent myself. I withdrew from all of the acting unions and didn’t renew my Nia license. I moved back to Seattle and I promised myself I wouldn’t pick up the same life I had established in NYC. I was ready for a complete change. I told myself I’d wait for the call; whatever it was.

So I got to Seattle and the first call I answered was that I needed to rescue a dog from the animal shelter. I spent about two weeks going to the shelter every day waiting to see the right dog. Funnily enough, I had already picked out the name, so I was looking for the dog to fit the name. There were a few that I bonded with but couldn’t bring home for one reason or another, but then I finally found the one. He had JUST been brought in from the waterfront where he was tied to a stairwell and abandoned. It was River! I brought him home and spent the next year teaching him how to be a well-adjusted dog who was loved, rather than abused and mistreated.

Throughout this whole first year, I was getting a strong appeal from the Seattle Nia community that I should teach. One woman even said, “If you have the ability to bring this much Joy to a roomful of people, it’s a crime not to do it.”  I didn’t want to get back into teaching a class on a regular basis, as it was too much like the life I retired from. So I came up with the idea to present monthly playshops, bringing some of the old Nia routines out of retirement with me. It was an experiment, but it seemed right to me.

In the meantime, I had been meditating and waiting to hear what new life was calling me. I discovered that I had a wanderlust. I rented an RV and took River on a camping trip. And then I rented a car and took him on a trip where I was teaching some fitness classes out of state. This turned out to be so much fun and so satisfying that I realized it had something to do with my next ‘life’. Despite my initial resistance to doing so, I bought a car so that I could take road trips with River. And as I experimented more and more about how to make the road trips work, I realized that I could set up teaching engagements in cities across the USA. These out-of-town trips have proven to be very successful and fairly simple to put together. They seem to just come together effortlessly.

So far I’ve set up two playshops in Seattle.  I had to cancel the first one because no one signed up. I turned it into a regular Nia class, but only three people showed up for that. I had a great time, but was surprised and disheartened at the lack of support. Interestingly enough, I set up the exact same playshop in New York the following weekend and had enough people signed up the day after the announcement went out. It was very eye-opening to compare the different experiences I had in the two cities. I vowed to give Seattle another chance, so I set up another playshop for this month. So far the announcement has been out there for a couple of days, but I have only one person signed up so far. If I don’t get at least three people, I’d lose money on the event, so I’m waiting to get three before I’ve committed to going ahead with it. The space that I’ve rented wants one week advance notice to cancel without charging me, so I need three people signed up by February 16 or it will have to be cancelled. Click here to read more about it, and sign up on this page.

If this playshop doesn’t come together, I’ll take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be in Seattle. Despite the outcry that I’m needed and supported in the community, I’ll have to chalk it up to “actions speak louder than words” when I hear so many people in Seattle telling me they want me to teach, but then not signing up for my events when I do. Seeing as how I’m able to successfully set up playshops and classes in other cities, it is clear that it isn’t that me or my material that’s lacking, but rather the level of interest in this particular city.

So in five more days I will make an important decision regarding my future of teaching Nia in Seattle. In an effort to keep a promise to myself that I made many years ago, I’m not going to fight an uphill battle to make this work. If it is meant to be, it will be. If not, I’m sure I’ll be happy sharing my talents and passions on road trips with River.

Stay tuned for further developments.

If you would like River and I to pay a visit to your town, please let me know. I can teach Nia classes and playshop as well as a wide ranch of fitness-related workshops. I also do amazing, pain-reducing body work called Body Tuning and give health and fitness consultation as well as private yoga or Nia tutoring. Check out my schedule and see if there’s a place you want to fit in.

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