Finding Authenticity

Home YogaOn my way to work this morning, I stopped at the Island Bean Coffee Company. It’s a small coffee shop right around the corner from my house that has become part of my weekday routine. Their coffee is the best I’ve had – with perhaps the one exception of Farm Coffee – and the girls who work there have come to know me already. I pull up, hand them my large Island Bean branded tumbler mug and almost always they know my order from memory and have it to me right away.

Maybe it was the lack of caffeine, or something else, but today I found myself wondering how my life would be different if I worked a job like that, or even that job exactly. Long term, there may not be that sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that a more substantial career has, but day-to-day would it quiet the chaos? Would I feel more like myself if I were allowed to roll out of bed and throw a pair of jeans on, throw my hair up in a bun, and come to work with friends? I’m not actually planning a career change. I’m very happy where I am, but the thought stuck with me.

Authenticity – that’s what I see when I pull through the drive-thru every morning. Those girls are happy and cheery because they’re being themselves. I see that at my workplace, too. My boss is so comfortable with who she is, and what she does. I’m new to this. This being development, grants, academia, Pittsburgh and so many other things. I’m riding multiple learning curves, finding my authentic self in this space. I do feel more like myself here than I ever did in Atlanta, I can say that with confidence. After just two months here I feel more at home in Pittsburgh and at Pitt than I ever did in Atlanta or at Coca-Cola. People here are more accepting of who I am, or maybe I’m just more sure of it now.

I used to feel like the part of me that wanted to meditate at my lunch hour was odd, now I feel like that’s pretty common place, or at least acceptable if it’s important to me. I used to wish there was a better community of people around for me to get involved in yoga with. I went to the same studio for almost a year in Atlanta and never made friends with anyone. I’ve been here for 2 months, haven’t gone to the same studio more than once, but already have friends in the vibrant yoga community. I’m planning more ways to get involved, too.

Music Yoga
This was an incredible live music yoga class downtown. There’s one every month this summer! Click here to register for July’s class!

I’ve decided to start painting bags again, and channeling some of the positive energy here, I plan to make some Pittsburgh Yogi bags. I have a feeling there will be interest over them, given that this group of women has organically connected already. My art could serve in helping me connect to my authentic self, as well as create an outlet for others to connect.

The other decision I’ve made is to attend a yoga retreat in August. Lauren and I decided to go on the retreat together, after loving our experience with a new book club with some of the women. We’ll go up to Ohiopyle, a small cabin just 2 hours from here, and play in the woods, do yoga with like-minded spirits and meditate as often as we need. Between now and then I want to really commit to my practice, and feel comfortable in my skin again. I started off June with perfection – yoga and writing every day just as I set my mind to, but fell off the wagon midway through Bonnaroo at least on the yoga front. I haven’t given up, though. As I continue to find my place in Pittsburgh, I will continue to find and define my spirit, too.

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