We have no choice, so roll with it!

 
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March 3rd, 2018 was my 32nd birthday. OMG! I’m 32 years old! 

I’ve never liked my birthday. Growing up, I didn’t have millions of friends and parties were always an anxious time. “Will anyone turn up….”  With ambitions to become a famous singer, I also felt every year I didn’t achieve this goal, the more impossible it became. I recall laying in my bed on my 16th birthday eve crying that I was too old to become a singer. LOL!

Every year that has passed by, I always felt like it did just that – it passed me by. I would sit wondering how the year could have been better, what more I could have achieved. I always felt this sense of not doing well enough. A feeling that I was wasting my life, pouring energy into a career that only brought me down (emotionally) and into meaningless relationships. And so with that came a deep sadness that this one life that I have the privilege to lead, is being wasted. That I am not fulfilling my potential. The trouble was, I didn’t know what my ‘potential’ was and as such was at a loss as to how I could correct course.

Whilst it’s nice to be celebrated on your birthday, it always felt a little like – let’s get this one over with. Coming from a family of a gazillion people, it’s easy to feel like birthdays come on a conveyor belt and just take time out of your week to attend. Sounds awful, I know, but it’s the truth. Birthday after birthday get’s expensive and tiring. And I personally don’t want to be a drain on anyone, so whilst everyone puts their best efforts in to come and share a dinner, the reality is we’d probably all rather be in bed. As I write this, in hindsight, this is saying more about me than it is my family. My insecurities and neurosis that come up with birthdays… hmmm… something to ponder. 

So what was different with this birthday? About turning 32? My only family to share it with was Owen and two very dear friends who I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know since moving to Melbourne? 

Well, I think two things happened this year. Firstly, I have become happier with who I am and the direction my life is finally taking. It has taken many years to get to this point, and for the first time I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Yes, I’m getting older. Yes, I have FAR more financial pressure and personal risk than ever before. And yes, I have the back of a 150 year old woman. BUT, I love my life. I love my partner, I love my teachers at the studio, I love our community, I love what we’re creating together. So if I think about it, I’m happy because I feel like I have a sense of purpose. That as a community we are building something truly special and unique. I’ve never felt this before. 

Secondly, whilst I didn’t have my family here to celebrate with, I feel my relationships with my parents and siblings have actually strengthened since I’ve lived away. Sounds odd, but it’s the truth. We have come to respect and value one another more. To appreciate the moments we can spend together when we see one another. My love for my family has deepened and this is so exciting. 

Thirdly, feeling more secure at 32 than I did at 16, I decided for the first time ever to do something special for my birthday. To do something that is important to me and that I ‘d like to share with those I care deeply about who are here to share the day with me. So what did I choose…. Horse riding of course! I use to own horses and miss them terribly. The dream is to have a hobby farm one day with horses, but until that time, riding other people’s horses is perfect.

 
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So if I were to sum up why 32 has been my happiest birthday ever – well:

1) I feel I have a sense of purpose as we create our beautiful yoga community in pursuit of a kinder world

2) My family bonds are stronger than ever before, regardless of distance

3) I did something for me, which was meaningful. Putting myself first does not come easily so this was a big deal.   

As I come to sum up this blog, I feel this nagging voice of – “Jessica, you can’t tell the world how happy you are? No one wants to hear that. You sound up yourself and little miss goodie-two-shoes.” But then my other voice says, “Screw that! You’re allowed to be happy and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.” And so this latter voice is the one I shall choose to keep listening too. 

Through MANY existential crises, I’ve come to accept that love is amazing. To embrace where we are in the moment because they come and go all too quickly. 

Thank you all for the millions of birthday messages and love you sent me.

Sending big, birthday hugs,

Jessica xx

 
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Thank you All For Sticking By Me

 
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This morning, following my classes, I sat in the centre of our empty studio, legs crossed in padmasana (lotus pose) and just smiled. I smiled because I could feel the energy of our students even though I was alone. I smiled because we are, together, creating something profound. Something that is helping others to get through some of the toughest struggles life can throw at us. I smiled because every student who comes to practice brings the most wonderful presence, a presence that makes our studio what it is today.  I began Jessica Dewar Yoga with a dream to make yoga accessible for all in pursuit of a kinder world. Turns out, I’m not the only one with this dream because one year on, here we are – still going and stronger than ever.

Every single day there are new challenges, new hurdles to overcome. I’ve made MANY errors over the past 12 months (and I think you’ve all read about my latest error. Fail is probably the more accurate description…) and still you all stand by me. Let’s just say I’m extremely grateful for having such a forgiving community! Never could I have anticipated the journey ahead when I decided to let go of my career and start my own business. Seriously people – I had NO IDEA! I read so many business books before starting on this journey but the reality is, nothing prepares you for real business. For working with real people. In a business no one has attempted here in Melbourne. Eek!

But upon reflection, I wouldn’t change a thing. As yoga teaches us stern lessons through our practice, business does too. I can absorb only what I am ready to hear, just as I can perform/practice asanas only that I am ready to practice. The learning is constant. The ebbs and flows are relentless. But this is the reality – not just of business or of yoga, but of life. And rather than see this as a negative, I’ve chosen to see every experience as a positive one – even if it’s me sleeping through my own class (I honestly don’t think I’ll ever live that one down).

I know my yoga practice has been fundamental to my growth as a business woman. It’s helped me to breathe through the challenging times, appreciate the little moments, laugh when I stuff up, cry when I should probably be laughing. I’ve been all over the place over the past year – physically and emotionally – and I’ve learned more about myself through this experience than I have in my entire life.

So whilst I receive many thanks from the community for making the studio accessible to all, really it is me who wants to thank all of you. Your ongoing support makes me want to be a better person. You make me want to do bigger and better things in the world because you’ve all welcomed me and my philosophy so warmly. You’ve encouraged me to keep going when times have been tough. Whilst I may be the teacher for many who read this blog today, I am equally your student.

So to all the students, teachers, local businesses who sponsor us, media who have helped to spread the word, suppliers, my partner, mum, my (to be – I hope) parents-in-law, my pooches…. and everyone who has shown support for our studio, from the bottom of my heart – “Thank you.”  For without you, reaching our first birthday would not have been possible.

Here’s to many more happy years ahead.

Love and gratitude to the max!

Jessica xx

Forever young

 
 

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a grown up. I wanted to wear high heels, make-up, have big boobs (they never came!), have my own car, a successful career…. As the baby of eight children, I always felt left out, too little to stay up late at night, too short to go on the rides - you know how it goes. Watching my siblings do everything that big people do, I just always wanted to be big too! Turns out, my childhood disappeared all too quickly (I recall being warned this would happen, but who believes adults when they’re little!) - and with the big 3-0 looming up next week, let’s just say I’ve been doing a heap of reflection about my life. Where have I come from? What have I achieved? Where am I headed? A scary, exciting and eye opening experience to have - one I highly recommend we take time to do more often.

This morning, while walking Tyrone (the Chug), I took some time to sit on the playground as he sniffed around the picnic tables scavenging for leftovers (I swear he would eat himself to death if given the chance). While watching him and being acutely aware that I was sitting in the playground, I started trying to think back to when life became serious. When the fun stopped and why I feel like a huge chunk of my life, the chunk that involved a little girl playing without a care in the world, ended? All too soon I became a grown up. Playgrounds were for kids and God help me if I was going to be a kid. Because of an intense desire to grow up, I lost the young, silly, innocent years all too soon.

I use to hold onto preconceived ideas about how I must look and behave as a grown up - hence the property portfolio, excelling corporate career and ever increasing stress levels (that was my life). I felt pressured to have the Uni degree so as to ensure I would have opportunities to move into prestigious roles and work for someone else to ensure job (or money) security. I needed to prove to the world, to my family more likely, that I too can be a big person who does what big people do (what that is, I still don’t know. Clearly my interpretation of adulthood was warped).

Truth is - this life I thought I should be leading, or that I thought was the life of a grown up, turned out to be mundane, uninspiring and a little soul destroying to be totally frank. Interestingly enough, however, what I’ve come to realise is I’m younger now than I have been for much of my life. And thankfully, however, on the brink of turning 30, after having made huge decisions that have left me with zero job security but the freedom to do what I love every day (yes, that would be yoga), I’ve realised that I spend more time playing, being young, silly, laughing, walking around barefoot with my hair down now than what I ever have - and I’ve never had more fun.

I feel so lucky to be cruising into my thirties with a new lease on life. That I’m choosing my path rather than having it chosen for me. That I’m content with being young and not trying to fit in with the ‘big kids’. To be the author of my life is immensely challenging, but it is real, and I know I’m going to have the time of my life writing this next chapter.

Here’s to being authentic, staying young and enjoying exactly where we are on this crazy adventure called life.

Happy birthday pooch! Happy Valentines Day xx

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Considering I have been awake now for 21 hours, I’m going to focus on telling the story of my day through pictures.

Today is Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be my pooches birthday. My little man turns eight today. I have been terribly upset about not being with him on his special day. But, with pre prepared gifts and birthday cards ready for the wonderful Kevin and Trish to give him, I felt somewhat comforted knowing he would get to unwrap his new toys. To my surprise, at 4.00am this morning, I found emails from Trish with pictures of pooch having birthday party time. I burst into tears to be honest. I was so overjoyed to see Trish and Kevin making such an amazing effort for him (mainly me…). To many people, a dog i just a dog. To me, my pooch is my family and he too deserves to have his life celebrated each year.

In the dark, I then wandered to my shala in preparation for our morning start. I’m so proud of my progress so far. For Sirsasana, I can now bring myself to a position with one leg in the air. The second is a little more challenging but I’m certainly working toward this.  

Following class I powered home to call my Owen to say Happy Valentines Day. Well - it turns out he got in far earlier than me. Walking up the stairs into the reception area, I was greeted by the main receptionist with a bunch of 2 dozen roses, among other colourful flowers. There was also a small card attached. “I love you to India and back - Owen Schebella.” Could the words be any more powerful. After bursting into tears again, with joy of course, I chatted with Owen to show the beautiful flowers he had organised for me. He was thrilled with how smoothly this process went and that I actually received them. (Me too, considering I now know how things are done here).

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Back in the shala, we were granted permission to take photos for the first time. I certainly made the most of it. Attached are some pictures of my philosophy teacher (and Bharath). He is a very wise man.

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My teacher, Bharath, and philosophy professor

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My study desk!

This evening, considering it is our one night out with no risk of 4.00am alarms, myself and Mite went looking for food. Eventually we ended up in Depth n Green - my favourite place. A couple of the guys from class also joined us for dinner.  We had such a good laugh about so many random things, that I actually felt relaxed. I think this is all absolutely necessary. Also - I couldn’t help but enjoy the different lifestyle here. In Adelaide, Saturday night often involves drinking alcohol. In India, you drink chai tea or lemon /ginger tea. There is no reference to alcohol anywhere here. But why would there be when this would be counterproductive to our progress? Our bodies certainly don’t want alcohol - it’s amazing what can happen when you start listening to it!

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For my Owen xx