My life has changed so much in 18 months, so has my husband’s. We both quit our corporate jobs to build something new and fulfilling, but things don’t necessarily go according to plan…

I’ve lived in London since I was 18. I rocked up to University halls in North London, fresh faced and sh*tting myself at first. London has been good to me, she’s taken me on a ride of a lifetime — at work and definitely at play. So many city adventures — clubs, shops, markets, bars, restaurants, galleries, museums, parks, festivals friends, love… As I write, I can smell the excitement of my city — my home for the past 16 years.
She’s taken me to my edge too though. I’ve been burgled, mugged, had my drink spiked and been consistently frustrated with public transport and badly coordinated roadworks. I’ve cried at the poverty I’ve seen on the streets, been scared by late night aggression and have burnt-out more times that I want to admit. My burn-outs aren’t London’s fault, I know it’s my own patterning that allows that to happen, but when you’re in ‘the race’, it’s so hard to realise, let alone resist. Somewhere along that path I lost the connection to my free Spirit. The way I was romancing London was suffocating me.

In the eddies

On an accidental search for my Spirit, I found yoga and I made the decision to hop off of the Niagara Falls that was hurtling me down a very lucrative career path and step into the eddies. The eddies are the sometimes safe zones at the sides of a raging river, they often move in the opposite direction to the main current. You can still move with the current, but you get the time to feel your way around, rather than smashing into rocks or getting bashed by debris. That’s where Dom (my husband) and I have been for the past few months — in the eddies.

Keen to have a family someday, and live a life that isn’t dictated by how much mortgage we have to pay each month, we’ve been planning our future…

Plan ‘A’

Our first exit out of London was a potential move to California, that was when we were still in ‘the race‘ — it didn’t pan out (I think because it actually wasn’t the right move for us), but it planted a very important seed. We realised that we weren’t attached to our lifestyle in London! Once I’d done my Forrest Yoga Teacher Training with Ana — I knew that change was afoot. I wasn’t sure how.

Then, we got brave and put our house up for sale. A week later we’d taken it of the market — accepting a great offer. All excited, we started to prepare for our departure. We made plans to move in with my Mum near the Cotswolds. From there we could action our Plan A. To buy a place in Europe, probably France where I can teach yoga and run retreats. Where Dom can draw and paint — where we can live off the land and be close to nature.

Of course we had a time-frame for this:

  • House sale — complete by Feb,
  • Look for properties — April
  • Buy a place — August
  • Renovate and be in by summer 2014
  • Done!…. erm, actually, not done!…

It’s all off

During March I was away for a month, assisting Ana Forrest in Cape Town. The sale hadn’t gone through, but we expected it to happen imminently upon our return to Blighty. For a couple of weeks we lived in our small spare room surrounded by the mess of packing. This in itself took me to my edge! Removals were booked, storage was booked. Then on the day of our exchange (we were due to move the next morning) our solicitor emailed — she’d been contacted by our buyer’s solicitor “haven’t you heard?… it’s all off” they said. After almost 5 months of waiting, our buyers buyer had pulled out — the was chain broken.

Alone in my muddled house that no longer resembled home, if felt like my whole world had come crashing down. I cried and wailed like a banshee. The neighbours must’ve thought I had lost the plot. I didn’t care. I even cried to the storage and removal people as I cancelled their services. This was most unlike the strong ‘hold everything together’ Charlie, but it felt so good to let off that steam. There was, for the first time in my life, a moment where I literally did not know what to do next…. “how were we going to pay the mortgage, how would anyone buy the house in this mess?” “how can we live here like this?”…. I sat and cried at the mess and wailed some more, and then… 30mins later and after various supportive calls from Dom and the family, I knew exactly what we needed to do and sprang into action.

For a reason?

I’ve always been a great believer that everything happens for a reason. Although it didn’t seem like it at first, I knew there was a lesson in this somewhere for me. Turns out there were a few….

Giving myself the time to come to terms with the situation really helped. It felt a little indulgent at first, but I really needed to overcome the feeling that my dream, our dream, had been trampled on. Letting the anger, disappointment and frustration build up inside would not have helped me at all.

After the emotions had calmed I made a list of what else I had learned:

  • Follow your instinct — I had suspected for some time that there was something questionable about the buyer’s buyer.
  • You can’t control everything! It’s true, I know this… I really do know this. This is the Universe’s way of reminding me. Loosening up the control freak element of my life is constant work in progress. In some aspects, it’s not a problem, I totally go with the flow, but in others, I’m not so laid back…. The way this played out was a true reminder. You cannot control everything, nor should you try.

One of my LBY (Life Before Yoga) jobs was planning kick-ass events. You have to be   meticulous, cover every detail, have contingency plans etc. The fact is, even then, there was always something that would come at you out of left field needing to be dealt with. Life is like that too. You can’t control what the weather does, you can’t control what other people think or how they react to situations. Deep down, I know this, but isn’t it just so hard remember?!

  • Sometimes there is a better way. Putting our house back on the market five months later has it’s advantages. Turns out it’s now worth more money, which means we’ll have a little more money to spend when we come to build our dream. That will help a lot.
  •  I realised just how passionate and serious I am about leaving my city behind. The set-back somehow made me appreciate what a big step we’re taking and reaffirmed why we’re doing it. No regrets!

Big Realisation

Taking time to enjoy being in the eddies — in the periphery for a while, is interesting to me. I’m so used to being in the thick of everything at 100miles an hour ALL of the time, that this whole experience is testing my patience! I’m learning to slow down though. I’m learning not to feel guilty about giving myself more time to achieve things. Turns out part of my patterning was to measure my worth by how busy I am. So while I thought I’d been really good about not burning out lately, the tendencies were still there. The way I appreciate myself was totally caught up in the hours I work and how much I can push myself each day. It was the same story on the yoga mat too. When I push myself too hard, I get injured, frustrated and can’t heal.

It’s been over 6 months since that first offer to buy our house. And while it’s felt like six months of limbo, when I look at it, it hasn’t been. I’ve still achieved so much in that time — just not in the way that I had ‘planned’ (ha! there’s that ‘plan’ word again). I’ve learnt a lot about myself while the universe was busy saying no!

Dom and I have a ‘plan A‘ — an intent (in yoga speak), but we’re no longer so attached to it that we’ll get disappointed if it changes. We know that we’d rather not have debt, that I want to teach Forrest Yoga and that we want to live close to nature (preferably by a surfable ocean :)) How we make that happen will unfold once we’ve sold the house, I’m sure. So despite the tears and the frustration, perhaps this is the best transition into… whatever comes next. And, a huge lesson that my Spirit — my sparkle — shines best when I’m not rushed or burnt out to the bone.