Embracing the Storms of Life

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Featured Image - Owner's Note
A year ago this month (on September 12th, to be exact), I woke up to a phone call that would leave Mind Body Flow Yoga faced with one of the biggest challenges it had come up against, since opening in 2012.
I was on maternity leave, from having had my third child, Mateo, who was just a little over a month old at the time. I had gotten maybe a solid 2 – 3 hours of sleep the night prior, when my cell phone rang, shortly before 8:00am, on a Saturday morning. The voice on the other end of the phone, was one of the teachers on the MBFY team, who was subbing for me during my maternity leave. I could tell by the sound of her voice that something was seriously wrong. In her quiet and sweet manner, she said, “Marina, I am so, so sorry to have to call you and bother you with this, but I just arrived at the studio to teach and the studio is flooded.”

I think I replied with, “What?” Somewhere between severe sleep deprivation and raging post-partum hormones, lied shock and complete and utter disbelief. I thanked my team member for letting me know and told her we would jump on this matter right away. I sent my husband over to the studio immediately to look into the situation further. He called me shortly after arriving at the studio and said, “It’s not good, babe. Water is all over the floor. Ceiling tiles have fallen to the ground. It’s a mess in here. I’m going to give the landlord a call right now and will keep you posted.”
My heart sank. I buried my face into my hands and I cried. More like, sobbed, actually. Why this? Why now? Of all the times for such a thing to happen, it has to happen while I’m on maternity leave, operating on E (empty), as my family and I transition into life with the addition of a newborn baby? How are we going to get through this? What will this mean for the studio and the business as a whole? What will this mean for our cherished and beloved community? I had so many questions and “what ifs” running through my mind, and absolutely no answers.
A storm had hit Mind Body Flow Yoga and all I knew was, I didn’t want to be in that storm. I wanted to wake up the next day and have it all be a nightmare that simply wasn’t real, true, or happening.
Storms are a part of life. This is true in nature, and this is true in our lives as well. In nature, there are snowstorms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. In life, there are storms that appear in the form of an accident, an illness, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a divorce, financial strain, or some other tragedy.
Some storms, like tornadoes, come suddenly and unexpectedly. A phone call from the doctor can suddenly change your life. An automobile accident can instantly take the life of a loved one. A declining economy can cost you your job. A change of heart by one person can literally tear an entire family apart. A flood that strikes a business overnight. These and other such storms can be devastating. They often leave us confused and angry. They sometimes cause us to ask questions like, “Where is God?” or “Why is this happening to me?”

We wish we didn’t have to ask such questions. There is something engrained in us that longs for a storm-free, picture-perfect life. We desire a life that is free from illness, death, and heartache. But, life isn’t so. Life has storms. And when the storms of life come, we want so desperately to be able to control the storm. We want to know the who, what, where, and why. We want to know exactly what caused the storm and how long we’ll be in the storm. But, the fact of the matter is, there simply are no answers or explanations for some things in life. Some things simply just happen and we must learn to let go and surrender to not knowing and not being in control.

You will not be the same after the storms of life; You will be stronger, wiser, and more alive than ever before. ~ Bryant McGill

Is there a storm you’re currently in the midst of? A broken heart? A frightening circumstance? An uncertain future? And behind all of that, is the desire for this storm to go away right now?
I’m here to tell you that the storm will pass. But until it does, we must accept the storm and trust that there is a silver lining in it for us. As MBFY instructor, Mary, often says in her classes, “Use this challenge to create ease in the places you’d rather not be.” This statement is so true. It’s by far the hardest thing to do when we find ourselves in the storms of life, but is so essential to our being able to move past the storm. It reminds me of The Serenity Prayer which says, “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” If there is a problem in your life that you can fix, by all means, fix it. But if it’s a problem outside of your control, I encourage you to accept it graciously, for we live in an imperfect world.
The storm that hit Mind Body Flow Yoga almost a year ago this time, taught me this. It was a storm that fell (quite literally) out of the sky and into our 1,200 square foot space one Friday night, and it was completely outside of my control. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to be there, and I wished countless times that it hadn’t happened. But, there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. This storm was my reality at the time and all I could do was let go and accept the process of getting through and past that storm.
This wound up looking like the studio closing for a total of ten consecutive days, so that the floors and space could be restored (among a number of set-backs and hiccups along the way). Like holding high plank, chair pose, or boat pose for a long length of time, there were times that being in this “holding pattern” felt bigger than me, like it would never end, and like I couldn’t go on any longer. I wanted out! But, I eventually came to the realization that I could either add more tension to this storm by resisting it and cursing it with all my might (which ultimately solves nothing and just creates further stress). Or, I could let go, surrender, and create ease where I could, as I weathered this storm.
And so, I did just that. I chose to focus instead on the love, support, and encouragement from our amazing community, to help keep me going. I chose to focus as well on my faith and belief that each passing day was getting us closer to being restored and opening our doors again for classes. And when that day finally came, I was able to look back on the storm not only with gratitude in my heart for our amazing community and their unwavering support and understanding amidst the storm, but also with the knowledge that I was now stronger from having gone through this experience. I had been refined further in my journey as a business owner and was also reminded that each storm comes with a powerful lesson. The lesson in this particular storm for me was, “Let go of what you can’t control and TRUST and have FAITH that you WILL get through this.” And sure enough, I did.
Is there a storm you’re currently in the midst of? Has it left you feeling hopeless, worried, afraid, lost? Has it made you lose faith? Know that you are not alone. Every single one of us has been and ultimately will still go through storms in life. My encouragement to you is to let go of what you can’t control, to trust and have faith that your storm will pass, and to shift your focus on the many blessings that still exist in your life, despite your storm. In other words, keep living your life (which is a gift) to the fullest, even when the storm is raging heavy.
The storm will pass. The sun will rise. And you will discover that there is life on the other side of the storm. So, be encouraged. Before you know it, this storm will pass, and the sun will shine again! Just as it did on our beloved Mind Body Flow Yoga studio.
**Mind Body Flow Yoga will be 4 and a half years old on September 12th, 2016, and I thought this was a fitting story to recount, as we approach this milestone. Together, as a community, we have been a stand for each other in so many beautiful ways. We have weathered storms (literally) and have come out stronger for it. May we continue to forge forward together…being there for each other, as a community, in times of joy and in times of difficulty and sorrow. Like Dancer’s Pose, may we continue to dance together, through the ups and downs of this journey called, life. Thank you for your continued love and support. It not only fuels me daily, but has become one of the biggest blessings of my life.

About the Image:

Marina Mukandala, is featured in this newsletter issue in Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana).  The benefits of Natarajasana are:

  • Releases tension in the ankles and feet, helping to prevent injury
  • Develops a sense of balance and focus
  • Opens the chest and lungs, creating more space for the breath
  • Strengthens spine and entire leg
  • Stretches thighs and shoulders

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