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A New Path

March 5, 2013

yoga 1There is so much poetry in our lives.

For months now, I’ve been practicing detachment. I’ve tried to acknowledge what I can control and what I can’t, and that sometimes, the only thing I can change is my attitude. I stopped shopping for extraneous things. I started writing a novel in November without a plan, and let the plot and characters carry me along. I’ve been going to yoga at least once a week, reading books about spirituality, Buddhism, Christianity. Many nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of riding in buses or losing my car——once, even, that the car was driving me.

I’ve also been deepening my faith by overcoming fear. Under my habit of worrying has always been fear. And fear is the opposite of faith. The more I allow myself to trust, to believe, the less I worry that bad things are about to come. In fact, I feel like I’m finally inviting the good stuff in.

Last Thursday, I lost my job. It came out of the blue, with no warning. My first emotion was shock. But three seconds later, I felt a deep sense of freedom. I had learned so much, truly tested and applied the principles of my faith, and come out stronger. I realized right away that I could take all the energy I had been devoting to an organization and begin applying it to my writing, to the work that brings me the most satisfaction and the most joy.

I was happy to detach. It felt good to let go.

On the train ride home that day, I saw a man from my yoga class. I happened to have a bag with me, my purple yoga mat sticking out awkwardly from the top, and I raised it in the air like a fist to show him. The next day, I went to yoga class, and when the teacher said at the end that she was starting yoga teacher training this month, and that there were still a few spots left for stragglers, I realized that this was the next step for me. It was as if a higher power had laid it out, set it up for me, gently showed me the way.

I’m not angry about losing my job. I feel as though I’ve been given a tremendous gift——the opportunity to be who I really am. I’m going to become a student of yoga, and by next year, a teacher. I’m going to finish the novel I’ve been writing, because if there is any time in my life I’m supposed to write a novel, it’s now. I’m going to be more present for my family, drop off the kids at school and pick them up, focus on what they have to say rather than be stressed and distracted. I’m going to let myself be buoyed by the support from my faith community so I can give back to it. And when all of that’s done, my husband and I are thinking of starting a magazine.

My spirit is strong, and so is my faith.

But back to poetry.

Twelve years ago, my husband (then-boyfriend) gave me a watch. It was small and dainty, something I never would have picked out for myself, even though I quickly fell in love with it. This past December, it stopped working. It wasn’t the battery; the hands had just started to slow down, and they got slower and slower as the days progressed. First, the jeweler tried to save me money by cleaning it. That didn’t work. Then he sent it away to be fixed, only to have it come back still broken.

I considered getting a new watch, or whether to wear a watch at all. But last week, when the jeweler called to say it was finally ready, I picked it up and knew that I had gotten back more than my watch. I had gotten back time. I had gotten back my family. Maybe I had even gotten back myself.


Image: “yoga” by Go Interactive Wellness via Flickr.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey March 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

Wow – this is such an inspiration, this love letter to embracing what truly is, right now, right here. And I have goosebumps, because my husband gave me a watch which just inexplicably stopped working a couple of years ago. So I don’t wear a watch anymore, and haven’t for those years. And I never, ever miss it. xox


peggy ramsey March 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I love all the constructive plans, the quick dispensing with negative emotions, and your sense of gift and purpose. You’re on a roll, Jana…a good one. Truly wonderful.


Maggie Ellen Robin Hess March 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm

It was a delight to read this. You have a beautiful writing style and I love your attitude, which reminds me how aptly you named your blog. Keep writing and keep being a Quaker.



Nina March 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

This is fantastic. It is a gift–time. The last paragraph is perfect. Excited for you on this new path.


Vanessa March 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

WOW! What a positive attitude. I love that you are following the way your spirit is leading you and trusting more. Great things are definitely in your future.


Amanda March 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed to read this. I keep wondering if things going on in my life are a sign, a push…or a failure.

You’ve turned my panic a bit on end, something I hadn’t been able to do.

Thank you.


Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz) March 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I loved reading this because it was like examining what’s happening in my own mind. Only, you phrase it much more succinctly. Following a new path can be very scary, but learning to trust yourself along the way is one of the best lessons. I’m still working on this. You’re much further ahead than I am, so it’s nice to look ahead and see someone succeeding where I keep falling down. Good on you, gurl! Keep it up! :)


Michael March 6, 2013 at 1:49 am

Jana, It’s a wondeful revelation to overcome fear by exhibiting faith… Keep up that practice on a daily basis… you will get stronger. For me, I can now cancel my subscription… and wait for your novel.


Kate March 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

Some jobs you mourn, some are a gift to be freed from. And sometimes it’s just the right time to make a change.

I’m looking forward to your book, your magazine, and if I lived in Philly, I’d have to drop by your yoga classes. Next year I should be ready to sprout my wings again. I feel them budding.


Wilma February 3, 2016 at 4:14 am

I’ve been lonokig for a post like this forever (and a day)


Liz S March 6, 2013 at 10:32 am

I haven’t commented in a while, but certainly haven’t stopped following. Of the many blogs I read, this one consistently hits closest to home with me. Thank you for sharing your life and your feelings with the world. You don’t know how they’ve helped me feel like I’m not alone.

And if there is one thing in life we can count on, it’s change. You’re right about fear being behind the worry, as it is for so many of us. I welcome your approach to bringing in the faith and leaving out the fear. We could all stand to do that. What a gift you’ve been given – to have time. If I’m honest, I’m a little jealous. My family needs a little more time: to be together, to build our relationships, to enjoy life. But the almighty dollar has a hold on our time, for now.

I can’t wait to read your novel. I’m sure it will be great. :)


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri March 6, 2013 at 11:28 am


What you say about worry is what keeps me up at night. The fear behind it. I am trying to resolve my ambivalent relationship with worry and your words are inspiring. It gives me hope.

Best wishes on your new endeavor. I am so excited for you.


Tiffany March 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’m sorry that happened to you…but I love your perspective. I needed this reminder to sign up for yoga today!


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