"The most difficult thing a person has to do with his life is [to] decide when it's time to move on."
- Bill Walsh
As it is the New Year on the Lunar calendar, I feel it timely to write about my next step, my next chapter in life. Honestly, I didn't think this chapter would be so short and end so abruptly. I intended to fill it with knowledge, experiences, and adventures.
And I did.
I managed to learn, to experience to full potential, and to have adventures in this short span of time, and I don't regret anything that was written down in this chapter.
Back in July [insert link], I came to Sydney in pursuit of a Master's degree in Food Science and Nutrition. Unfortunately, the program fell short of my expectations, and the fact that I am alone in this foreign country just made things a little lonely at times. Despite all of this, throughout the last 7 months I have met some wonderful people and built some wonderful connections. I met people from Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Germany. I became committed to the Mysore shala and built a special relationship with my teacher here, and was given the privilege to teach beginners the Ashtanga method from scratch. I saw them grow with their (almost) daily practice, and felt the joy of being part of something that helped them get in touch with their mind, body, and breath. I was given the opportunity to teach at a beautiful beachside yoga studio (I mean, you can't get better than that!), work with some of the most amicable spirits I have met, and grew so much as a teacher of yoga in my methods and confidence. I had the chance to teach Ashtanga led classes, which helped me both as a student and teacher to learn more about the method. I got involved in a local organic food cooperative, a place where all sorts of people exist in a community for the love of healthy, locally grown and produced food. And last but not least, I was able to experience this lovely city of Sydney, of all its quirky slangs and cultures, its coffee and beer lovers, its cafes--each with unique personalities, its love for good, quality food, its party-goers, and its spontaneity to put up city-wide parties or festivals…just because.
If anyone to ask me if it were a spiritual journey, I would answer yes, despite the initial academic purposes for coming here. My ego faded with each month I spent here teaching and learning from senior teachers about teaching. My body and mind humbled with each passing month still not being able to enter dwi pada sirsasana on my own (but that's another story on its own). I came to respect my body more ever since I started to teach a bit more regularly in Sydney, as I came to realize the toll teaching can take on one's body and mind. I cultivated an even deeper appreciation for all the teachers I've had in the present and in the past, for their unfaltering time and patience with us.
My journey here to Sydney to pursue a higher academic degree also made me realize that this just wasn't the time for me to win d my head around academia. I had already spent the past 18 years or so of my life studying, studying, studying, and doing what the teachers tell us to do. It is time for me to tell me what to do. Taking charge of yourself is never easy, but this is something everyone must learn how to do at some point in his or her life, and I feel right now is the time for me. It is time for me--guided by the greater forces of the Universe, of course--to create a path for myself and find my own dharma, or my lifelong duty, in this universe, in this lifetime.
Each chapter always ends in bittersweet notes--from graduating from a school in Taiwan that I had attended for most of my life, to graduating from college in the U.S., to graduating from my yoga teacher training program, to creating a small pastry business with a friend and teaching a bit on the side in Taiwan, and most recently, to ending my journey in Sydney and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Each chapter has been filled with exquisite and memorable characters who have, in some way or another, impacted the synopsis of my life.
So ends my Sydney chapter, and a new one to come and write itself, and perhaps many more down this road.
Lastly, on an irrelevant note, I leave you with this article from Elephant Journal for all the Ashtangis out there! :-)