I've been adding up my numbers. God, this is a hard task. Taking stock of where my income came from in 2018 and where I see my income coming from in 2019. My brow feels like it is going to implode and my shoulders feel like a million ants are crawling inside of them. As all this is happening, I have students who are nearing the month-long mark of furlough due to the government shut down. I know that my story is one among many.
There is a quote I have been keeping near during this time: "If you take care of the moment with integrity, the future will take care of itself." I return to this quote as I stare at the numbers and follow a calling I received in September of 2017.
In the fall of 2017, my intuition said "It's time - you can't keep doing what you are doing and grow." It said: "Go back to school and focus on helping people who struggle to speak. Use your voice and all you have learned up to this point to help others reconnect with their voices."
At the time, this directive relieved me. I was 36 years old and had spent the past seven years of my life teaching yoga and meditation for a living. I was in love with the work, with the students I worked with, and the teachers-in-training I mentored. But, I was constantly worried about earning enough money. Six years in, I was just making enough to cover my bills and my self-employment taxes while my husband covered our larger expenses. My intuition sensed that something needed to change if I ever wanted to earn enough to contribute to our savings, donations, or retirement one day.
I was also becoming more curious about bringing the teachings of yoga and meditation to people with severe needs - those in a medical settings (hospitals, hospice, and nursing-care facilities). In August of 2017, I reunited with a college friend who was studying Speech Language Pathology and working to merge poetry and writing into therapy sessions with stroke survivors. I felt a deep pull in my gut - a pull that said, PAY ATTENTION. FOLLOW THIS THREAD. As I learned more about the field and reflected on my journey, the calling came. In a few clear, crisp images, I clearly saw myself working as a speech-language pathologist who incorporated the teachings of yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation into her therapy sessions with adults who were struggling to speak.
After the relief of finding clarity and inspiration for my next steps, reality set in. I had 12 courses (36 credits)-worth of pre-requisites to complete before I could apply for a Master's program that would entitle me to certification as a Speech-Language Pathologist. And, even more daunting, I was not entitled to federal financial aid/student loans because my pre-requisite courses were not considered a “degree-path program.” My estimated expenses totaled about $12,000 out-of-pocket.
Intuition is a powerful thing for me. This, along with the support of my husband and family, were no doubt what helped the calling stand up to these obstacles. In November of 2017, I began studying for my GRE placement exams and attending open house programs for several SLP programs in the metro-DC area.
As I write this, I am 7 out of 12 prerequisite courses down (with a 3.9 GPA!) and have pending applications in to three Masters Programs in Speech-Language Pathology. Last year, 19% of my income went towards tuition, fees, supplies and applications to graduate school. This semester, I've had to let go of several income-generating yoga classes and training programs to focus on my Speech Pathology studies (this spring semester, I am one credit shy of a full-time student course load by taking three classes and two labs.)
The total estimated costs for my Spring and Summer 2019 semesters including tuition, fees, and textbook rental are $6,933. I am also looking to replace my aging laptop this year. My family and husband have supported me throughout this journey. In writing my story, I am hoping to share my good fortune back with them with contributions from those who follow my teachings and work. If you are among those who believe in the power of yoga and meditation, the efficacy of speech and language therapy, or have benefited from my teachings on Insight Timer, you can help me through this gap period. I am offering several thank you gifts (including original audio files of guided meditations and one-on-one sessions - see full list of gifts and how to claim them below my signature**) for contributions. If it is within your heart and your financial means to donate towards this vision, you can do so through my secure, designated PayPal page.
Whether or not you donate to this cause, I do hope that this month's guided meditation will serve you where you are. The premise of the meditation is to remember that you are never alone. While your life and your circumstances are completely unique, there is someone somewhere who can identify with how you are feeling in this very moment. Your story belongs among many.
With gratitude and love,
**Thank You Gifts for Contributions and How to Claim Them**
1) For contributions of $25-49, I will email you an original mp3 file of "Yoga Nidra to Plant a Seed" so that you can listen to this recording even when you have no access to the Internet. Be sure to provide your email address among your contact information and if you prefer no gift, write that in when you donate.
2) For contributions of $50-99, I will email you an original mp3 file of "Yoga Nidra to Plant a Seed" and ANY other guided meditation of your choice (an account of all guided mediations can be found on this audio blog by looking though the archives) so that you can listen to these recordings even when you have no access to the Internet. Be sure to provide your email address among your contact information and if you prefer no gift, write that in when you donate.
3) For contributions of $100 or more, I will set up a 45-minute session with you and guide you through a personalized practice. During this call, you may also opt to ask questions, share challenges, or request inspiration. Be sure to provide your email address among your contact information and I will email you a schedule of my availability. If you prefer no gift, write that in when you donate.
P.S. If you are being affected by the government shut down and you are also looking for support right now, know that both Sky House Yoga and Blue Heron Wellness are offering you free yoga and meditation classes during this time.
Hannah has been a student of yoga and meditation since 2003 and a practitioner of Ayurveda since 2013. She spent a decade teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings throughout the metro-DC area. In August of 2019, she left full-time teaching to pursue a two-year Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She intends to combine yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda into speech therapy sessions with those struggling to share their voices. While she does not currently teach regular classes, you can study with her online through Insight Timer.