The last time Tobey and I spoke was October 30th, 2019. I had (now, painfully ironic) sent him a Facebook message asking if he was still alive. Joking, but also slightly concerned. It had been months since we last connected and I know he avoided using a phone or social media.
He had told me that he just finished a yoga teacher training in India, had left New Life, and the world was his. Happy Days, he said.
I found out this morning that he was in Southern Thailand. I had wondered where he was in the world. I had thought many times about reaching out to him again to check on him. I was curious how COVID was affecting him. To see if he was okay and if he had gone back to Australia.
But I didn’t. We had dated for a little while and ended up agreeing that it was better that we went our separate ways. I went back to the U.S. to start a new life and he was happy being a free spirit in Southeast Asia.
Before we parted ways in Thailand, I bought two smokey quartz crystals. I gifted one to him and kept one for myself. I still have mine and keep it on my windowsill. It’s been there since I left Thailand.
Tobey knew so many people. And he had beautiful connections with all different types of people. I was lucky to share a connection with him. And I thought that maybe our connection was insignificant because he was loved by so many.
But he made a big impact on my life and who I am today. He always made me feel safe enough where I could speak my feelings and be vulnerable. In fact, I remember sharing bits and pieces of my story and saying wow I never told anyone that.
I was lucky enough to know his heart. I loved hearing about the stories of his tattoos. His son. That time he spent way too much money in Hong Kong. His car accident. His childhood, how his family home was always filled with people, energy, and voices. The uncomfortable moments of his healing and recovery. How his lucky number was 3. How he fake married a girl he just met on the beach.
Tobey was a beautiful person. And I am not sure if he knew how amazing he was. Or how much people loved and looked up to him. Leaders always have to be strong and I think he felt that burden sometimes.
My favorite part about him was his teeth actually. They were so wild and out of control in his mouth. So imperfect and jagged. I loved the recklessness of them and how sincere they were when they popped out when he smiled.
Tobey was wild and free and I am happy that he was able to live the life he did. Filled with travel, adventure, connection, and community.
I wish that I had listened to my impulse to send him a photo of the smoky quartz, ask him if he still had the other one, and wish him well with words instead of keeping it all inside. It shocks me that I will never have the chance to talk to him again. That all we have left of him now are our memories.
I send my gratitude to his spirit for holding my heart so softly, for bringing joy and adventure into my life, for showing me around Chiang Rai on the back of his bike, for holding my hand in the market, for teaching me what a healthy relationship is, for his smile, for his honesty, for his strength. Thank you. I love you. And I am sorry for all the difficult moments you had to endure in this life. We will forever miss you.
May Tobey Martin rest in peace.
It is just past midnight here right now. I noticed light streaming in through my bedroom and went outside for a spliff and to gaze at the moon.
It was just past a full moon – glowing brightly in the low sky. I started seeing sparkles and illuminated dust in its aura. Was it truly energy flowing out or were my eyes getting dizzy? My feet began feeling heavy as I stood sinking to the earth.
My sensations and feelings don’t make sense to me. I ask myself directly: what do you feel right now? I don’t know. What if I knew?
It doesn’t feel good – scared, insecure, cold, alone, lost, guilty. A heavy, concave feeling in my heart, my throat, my jaw. Uncertainty. Pressure. Anger, shock, the urge to explain myself. But there is nothing to be said or that I am allowed to say. Restricted because I can’t go back to change me or control them.
The hot stone has been thrown to me and I am forced to hold it and let it burn the insides of my hands. I don’t understand. I think about why I’ve been thrown the hot stone rather why I am holding onto it.
Drop it. Let it go. It’s not mine and I don’t have to hold it anymore. I never had to hold it. Release it. And learn to dodge.
I didn’t build a lighthouse on purpose
Don’t start construction inside me
Because I know you won’t
Have the patience to understand
The ecology of my mind
To sit down
To untangle my thoughts
Thread by thread
Dear you might end up dead
It’s cold in here
But only when you’re close
I won’t even let you try
Shut your ears
Close your eyes
Keep on drifting by
It has been exactly one year since I first opened my studio and it is has been nothing but a whirlwind. Emotions that come to mind are stress, exhaustion, freedom, despair, and strength.
The yoga industry is very saturated
Yoga teachers are fighting for work and yoga studios are nothing less than competitive. You have to be unique, different, offer extras, while also being affordable. People have to trust you, know you exist, and want to keep coming back.
It has been time-consuming work to provide social media content, customize the website, advertise, talk with people, post flyers, etc. The hardest part is getting new clients through the door.
The amount of free classes and workshops and TIME that I’ve given away frustrates me. I work so much that when I finally have a day off, I sleep for 12 hours, lay in bed all day, and take another nap. I even find it difficult to make myself a meal or shower or brush my hair. I’ve also had to work 2 other jobs just to survive.
Through my experiences with people, I have found that people are mostly unreliable. Whether they say they are going to come to class and not show or that they want to help and end up causing more stress, I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth too many times to count. Always have people reserve their space in a workshop or class with money not with a verbal promise!Read More
I quickly realized that in order to survive, let alone be successful, as a yoga teacher, I needed to expand my horizons. This meant that only teaching at a studio was not going to cut it. So, I got creative.
I looked into what it would be like to teach Chair Yoga at a Nursing Home. After calling and emailing a number of different places in my local area and offering some free demos, I landed a few gigs.
I had never taught Chair Yoga before. So, I looked up Youtube videos and read articles about what to do. I discovered that it would be easy enough.
Here are 5 things that I noticed about what makes teaching yoga at a nursing home different than any other setting and what I learned:
Not everyone will participate.
Most of the time, I felt like I was an entertainer instead of a yoga teacher because no one really participated. I had one or two people out of twenty who would try and follow along with me, but most of the people in the room were sleeping, telling me to stop, trying to leave the room, or too confused and/or sedated to do anything.
I also volunteer at a non-profit Adult Day Care facility as well and it is a small group of participants (about 8 people) and they all participate. This facility is much more organized and chooses to bring people in the room who actually want to do yoga. Sometimes, it depends where you are teaching at.
Find ways to get them engaged.
Since I was having difficulty getting everyone to participate, I tried adding in fun little extras to get them engaged. I started bringing in my speakers to play music. I tried so many types of music, from relaxing to rock music, and found that if the music was calming yet upbeat, it created a nice energy in the room.
I also utilized my essential oils. This worked the best! I would put a drop of oil in my palms and go to each person and have them take a breath. One time at the beginning and another at the end. They all really seemed to enjoy this.
I also experimented with the lights and closing the door to the rec room, so that it felt more like an experience. Nevertheless, people were always in and out whether it was nurses or visiting family members, it was difficult to avoid a disruption.