“When my family knew the end was near, I flew home to be with my mom for her last week before she passed away. It was in those moments at Hospice where I couldn’t do anything but sit and be with her. During this time, I had my first tangible experience with the power of breath. When I saw her take her last breath, it made me realize breath is something we all have but take for granted. Since I’ve grown deeper in my yoga practice, I’ve been able to touch the surface of the power of breath, but I believe you can’t experience it fully until it’s gone.
As I was dealing with the loss of my mom, I had only been practicing for three months. Even though it had only been that short amount of time, when I got back to Houston after her passing, all I knew was that I needed to go to my mat. I remember feeling so broken, that there was going to be something “wrong” with me for the rest of my life. I felt like I was never going to be light-hearted, or just simply the same person ever again. I felt like all possibility of my happiness passed away when she did. Slowly I realized though, the only place I felt like myself was on my mat.
In one yoga class a couple months after I lost my mom, an instructor of mine asked me if I could feel how powerful I was in the Warrior I pose. It was the first time since she passed that I truly felt that power within me, and I had a glimpse of hope that the old Chelsea wasn’t gone forever. I knew I needed to keep going, so I did the the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. I had been grieving for six months before I started, and in those 40 Days, was reassured of everything I needed to hear.
I was reminded that I was still whole and complete, I just had certain barriers and rocks I needed to work through. I learned that it was okay to acknowledge and experience those negative emotions, because I had people to love and encourage me no matter how I showed up. The entire experience changed my life. I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t go back to my mat and push through this program.
The next Spring I decided to go through teacher training, where I not only grew insanely as a practitioner, but met the best friends I’ve ever known. Finally, I had friends who liked to go to bed by 9:30pm like I do, and wake up early to workout, even on the weekends!! The tools I learned in teacher training and the personal power I found access to, helped me further work through every challenge, both past and present. By the end of the training I quit my job as an investment banker, and was so excited to see what was in store for me next. My husband and I moved back to Denver and I started looking for a job.
Rewind, though…I met this girl Amara in teacher training. She posted a picture on Instagram of a planner she had just gotten, and I commented asking if she liked it. She responded saying “No, it sucks”, and I agreed with her that lot of planners are terrible. When I suggested that we make our own, she was entirely on board. We got on Facetime the next day, eventually both quit our jobs, and started our company Meraki Printing, and created our debut product the 2017 Make Shit Happen planner! We wanted to make a planner that incorporated aspects of yoga like self-inquiry and mindfulness, which no other planner on the market was providing. We knew the magnitude of change yoga ignited within ourselves, so through the creation of the planner we wanted to give people access to their vision and goals through self-inquiry work.
Both Amara and I were teaching yoga, working on the planner, and traveling a ton, so it was super fun. Three years later, she’s started another company (Live Alive Adventures) and I’ve gotten started my own M&A consulting business which I’m really enjoying. If you asked me 5 years ago what I’d be doing now, I wouldn’t of had an answer because I didn’t know. This planner adventure wouldn’t have even been on my radar, I never would have pictured myself as a yoga teacher, and I wouldn’t have guessed I’d have the independence of a consultant. Yoga makes dreams possible that you never even knew you had, which is why I’m as excited about my practice now as when I started. I don’t think there’s ever been anything else in my life where I’ve felt so consistently passionate, because I usually get bored so easily!
One of the biggest takeaways I have from yoga, is to just do it. Whatever you’re afraid of, just do it. Yoga’s taught me that if I make a “mistake”, I can always make a different choice. Curiosity and confidence is what leads me through the fear. If I go for it, and end up realizing my decision sucked, or that I’m exhausted, or that I’m overwhelmed, I know I can always take a different direction. The idea that nothing is permanent gives me the power to flourish in that freedom. You just have to trust that everything will work out in the way it needs to work out. It just might look a little different than you expected.
There’s never going to be a perfect time to do anything. Coming full circle, I saw that my mom’s life was changed and then taken away from her so quickly, so I now live with a sense of urgency. If you want to try something new or make a change in your life, you need to do it because you don’t know what your life’s going to look like in a year, or a month, or even a week. Stop waiting for life to begin.” — Chelsea Williams