In 2001, the week before Thanksgiving, I was scheduled to sign a lease for 10 years on a space, in a prime location in Northern New Jersey, to be my yoga studio. All of our savings - ALL OF IT - was going into the renovations. It had taken months of negotiations, estimates from contractors, and architectural sketches to get us to the point where we finally had a lease with which we were all happy and ready to move forward.
The challenges in getting to that point should've been giant red flags for me that this was not meant to be. But I kept forging forward, believing that THIS WAS THE PLACE. This was where I would create the studio I envisioned.
Less than 48 hours before we were due to sign the lease, our future landlord backed out on us.
You heard me correctly. 48 hours before the lease signing it was all gone. All the months of work leading up to this moment felt like it was for nothing. The time money and energy spent to get to that point and to have it all just fall to pieces. Crumble into nothingness as though it was just a dream, was devastating.
Earlier that same year, at the end of August, with less than 1 weeks notice, I was told that the space where I had been hosting my weekly classes, was closing due to bankruptcy. No advance notice. Nada. It was more like, "By the way, Sunday is your last class.
Then September 11th happened...making it even harder to focus. It was a battle between feeling like nothing else was really important and being ever more clear about how much my work was needed in this world.
I spent late August through November floating from place to place with whatever students I could wrangle up. Serving my clients, making ends meet, teaching well over 15 classes a week, commuting all over the map. I was exhausted. Part of what had kept me going was knowing I would have a space at the end of November. A space to call my own. Having it all fall apart... all the planning, dreaming, spending.. it felt as though my success & happiness was not meant to be.
But just 5 months later, after continuing to float from place to place with my students, traveling back-and-forth to New York City from New Jersey, living paycheck to paycheck and praying I didn't have to teach more than 21 classes a week, I found a little space that could fit 14 people mat to mat. It had potential, it wasn't glamorous. It needed just a few hundred dollars of upgrading. AND it was perfect. 30 days later I open the doors to my studio. That was May of 2002.
In hindsight, the original space falling through turned out to be the very best thing that could've happened to me. But at the time I couldn't see it from my limited perspective. It was God doing for me what I couldn't do for myself. I hadn't realized it up until then how powerful that statement is or how true.
The months leading up to the opening of the original space, all the pre-planning and gearing up, allowed me to have all of the promotional materials I needed ready to go, my logo, my pamphlets, my schedule, my prices.... all of it was ready to go. So in May of 2002, all I needed was to officially open the door and start classes.
In the moments when I lose faith, I remember that moment on the phone, when my future landlady canceled the whole deal and backed out never to be heard from again. I remember that night eating dinner with my neighbors, getting totally wasted and drunk-dialing my salon telling my stylist that I had needed an appointment STAT, because it was time for a radical change and asked him to call me back before I changed my mind. I chopped my hair off the next day. True story. Back then I called it a mini nervous break down.
Today something similar happened. I've been working on something for several weeks now only to have the person I was in agreement with back out. Part of me got really pissed off but part of me remembered, stopped and took a breath. I said to myself: "This is happening because something better is just around the corner and while I can't see it yet, I trust that the universe has my back."
And it's all thanks to a time in my life where everything seemed to fall apart at once.
Have you had a similar experience where something amazing came out of something you felt was devastating at the time? Share yours in the comments below.