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.
For a long time, I have felt that people’s biggest problems all stem from the fact that they are moving too fast through life and don’t take a second to breathe, pause, and think about where they are going.
Although a world-wide pandemic that is taking lives, keeping us locked up in our homes, and hurting the economy is, ultimately, not the best situation, let us find something positive from it. Like all tragedies, there is always a blessing that comes from it.
For the first time in a year, I have only had to work one job. Before, I was working three just to survive. And, although I am not making as much money as before, I have more time for myself. More time to rest and think about my future.
Because of COVID-19, I had to close down my yoga studio. Instead, I have adapted and I am now teaching yoga online. This is something that I have always wanted to create, but never had the push.
I have had time to think about where my life is going. Am I doing what I love? I have not been writing or painting as much as I used to. Any free time I have, I use it to sleep or spend time with my boyfriend. I miss having lunch with my family. I miss taking long walks and exploring the woods. I miss having energy.
Am I where I want to be? What pulls at me the most is the fact that, in my heart, I know I am not done traveling. I know that I am not ready to settle yet. I realized how young and full of life I still am.
And, now, I can begin preparing for where I want my life to go. What is going to make me the happiest? What is my truth? And, I am hoping, that people all over the world are starting to realize what their heart is calling them to do. With work, relationships, family, going out, our heart can’t compete with all the outside noise.
I feel that once this is all over, we will be changed. We will evolve and grow and make our lives better. Perhaps some of us will jump back into the grind, but I think a lot of us will be more mindful.
What does your heart call you to do? How do feel about this time of isolation?
I had to pause and stare off into space for a while before putting my fingers on the keyboard to type. I am thinking about where I was one year ago, who I loved, and what I felt.
There were frequent sensations of fog. And I would often feel lost and blocked. I yearned to step into my power and passion, but was blocked by my dead-end relationship & lack of foundations and support.
I think a lot about who I was back in Thailand and I shiver when I picture returning to that phase of my life. Because my heart broke into a million pieces and sometimes I feel like it will never go back to the way it was. Like a vibrant and naive child before war.
When I search deep within my heart, I cannot understand how I was able to love like I did. Open, exposed, ready to carry any burden, and sacrifice anything available to keep the fire burning.
I am still afraid of how enduring that love was. How weak and un-established my self-power was to allow my heart to pour out.
When we make it through intense relationships like this, we check in with ourselves: Do I still love them? // Will I ever love like that again? // How would I react if they walked through the door right now?
I remember my chest burning from anger. Feeling drained after talking in circles, explaining my point of view. Unheard. Dismissed. Ignored. Feeling sad and defeated after a text I sent was read, but not replied.
Today, I am free. Today, I dance around and run through fields of flowers without looking back. I’m weird. I’m honest. And I am so loved.
For the first time, I know what it’s like to be cherished. Enveloped in warmth & care. By some one who would die for me. Who loves me when I am weak, when I am strong, when I am cranky, when I am in pain, when I am fun, and when I am stressed. Who in your life has the strength to lift you? Who has the courage to lean on you? Who is the one who brings you peace?
The solution to finding true love is, sometimes, loving the wrong person, loving too hard, or not enough. We have to suffer so much that we make it a point to create the antidote.
Kill all hope. Stop fighting. The right one won’t let you walk away.
It’s okay to let yourself die. I know it is scary to watch yourself fall, but you will be born again. Born better. Stronger. And the most important thing to remember is that you are the priority, the most precious, the flower. Not the bees.
When I reflect on the amount of people who have walked in and out in my life … I see that I am the one who does most of the walking. Not because I am strong, but because I am in pain. My ego is bruised. “How dare I be treated like this” Because it is easier to hide my hurt feelings in anger. Because I feel them under my skin. Because I dont want to be the one abandoned. Because it is safer to cut them out like a tumor and try to never think about them again.
I am ashamed of the amount of people that i’ve cut off and blocked. I knew that person’s role in my play was over and I disgraced them to the exit without any gratitude or closure.
There are no two ways about the fact that each person i’ve ever had the opportunity to grow close to has been so important and necessary to me, my soul, and my life’s work, even though most of them are no longer around. And that’s okay. Forgive me as I am forgiving myself for any of my actions that are without love. I’m not perfect & I never will be. Thank you x
I have ideas
About the chapters in my book
And sometimes I make plans
But the best storyteller I know
The skilled dream weaver
Artist of life
Veil of secrets
Is the universe
The ultimate creator
That force you feel mixing in the air
Wondering which way
The magic will blow