On investing in yourself

I met my first yoga teacher in an apartment upstairs from mine.  She was visiting her daughter and I happen to walk upstairs to see my friend, her daughter. It was a universal moment in time, one I will never forget. She was quiet and simple and I was intrigued. Soon after meeting her, I asked if I could attend her yoga class.

I remember the exact day I went to that first class.  Isn’t it so cool how there are moments in our lives that shape us and we remember them.

I was hesitant and excited. As I drove up, my friend was waiting outside of our apartment building. I guess I was a little bit late. I ran inside, changed and we were on our way.

Her studio was in her home. It was bright and clean and there were mats and blocks and blankets and ropes.  I was curious and nervous.

We began in Virasana (bent leg seated pose) and we chanted the Invocation to Pantajali.  We went through pose after pose taking child’s pose in between.

On that day, while resting in Child’s pose, I fell in love with the practice of yoga.

After class, I walked up to her and asked how to sign up. She smiled and graciously offered me a free month of yoga.  That free month of yoga began my journey into myself.

And it was the first time I decided to invest in my own well-being. I invested time and money. I was 20.

Even though I didn’t have extra money to spend on myself, I deeply knew that investing in my own well-being was extremely important.  I went from working 3 days a week to working 5 days a week while studying engineering full time. I worked in a restaurant and on my days off I studied engineering and yoga.

I invested in every single workshop and every single teacher’s training that she offered. 

Over the past 21 years I have continued to invest in myself. I have continued to invest in therapy, workshops, retreats, events, coaching, and trainings. There is not one year that has gone by that I have not put aside and spent money on my own well-being.  It is in my budget, right alongside food and shelter. Instead of buying a fancy ring or nice shoes, I spend money on getting to know myself better.

(Oh I do like nice jeans though, so there is that.)

My point is, it’s an investment and it should be.

Because it helps us commit to doing the work. When we have to pay for something, we commit to it.  If it doesn’t hold value, we don’t take it seriously.

It is like the difference between a ring from a vending machine and a ring from a fancy jewelry store. One we will throw away, the other, we will give to our daughters and to their daughters.

Ultimately the only different is cost. Someone said that diamonds and gold have value and plastic does not. And we believed them.

And so money has value and how much we pay matters.

But when it comes to investing in ourselves, we don’t feel it has value and so we don’t pay for it.

We have been told is important to spend money on things.  More things, bigger things. Media does a really good job of selling us on THINGS.

What we haven’t been told is that true happiness comes from…

  • connecting with ourselves and with others

  • learning communication and compassion and empathy and resilience and trust and gratitude and emotional intelligence and receiving

  • getting to know ourselves and trusting that we belong just as we are

We learn about “true happiness” from people who have spent time studying it. Therapists, spiritual teachers, yoga teachers, healers, energy workers, coaches, elders…. They teach us.

And that means we must invest in their teachings. 

There are people that have little money and I understand that. I was a college student with very little money and I still found a way to invest in myself. It was a lot of money for me at that time but I did it anyway. There is a varying range of cost of well-being practices and practitioners. Any investment is better than none at all.

Find the healers you want to learn from and invest in their teachings, you will be forever grateful. I promise.

I am forever grateful to all my teachers and mentors and I look forward to learning from many more.