Dearest friends, family and cherished ones,

 

If you are receiving this I want to thank you for touching my life in some way, great or small, and I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. The last couple of years have been pretty transformational for many - what an interesting and amazing time to be alive! I, too, have experienced great shifts throughout this pandemic. One of the biggest changes for me occurred in early January of this year. 

 

Many of you know that I taught my first yoga class in February of 2006. At the time I was in my first yoga teacher training program, but I was not a certified yoga teacher yet. However, the studio owner needed help and she trusted me to lead a class. I got “thrown in with the wolves,” so to speak and I was quite nervous. I will never forget that class. At the very end, I thanked the students, told them it was my first time teaching and that I had been very nervous. An especially straightforward client spoke up afterward and said “Well I am glad you told us that, because you were pacing around like a caged animal in heat!” My heart sank, and my initial thought was, I am never going to teach yoga again. However, the practice of yoga had become so sacred to and immensely beneficial for me, that I let that feedback go and persevered. I knew in my heart and soul I was meant to share this beautiful healing path with others. I became a single mom and began teaching full-time in 2007. I really had to bust my ass working in order to support myself and my son, at one point teaching nearly 20 classes a week. It was not easy to hustle so much, but I never once took for granted that I was actually doing something I loved and getting paid for it!

 

In early 2012, I met a young woman who would become a dear friend and sister to me. She was fresh out of yoga teacher training with a huge vision but not a whole lot of yoga business experience. I was working full time at a studio that was becoming increasingly misaligned with my perception of yoga. We both knew the Universe brought us together to co-create a space for deep healing. I taught the very first yoga class  in this new space in February of 2012 (it was initially in one location and we moved to a bigger space in August 2012) and eventually I shifted away completely from the previous studio I was working at. I was not a financial investor but I was to be the head of yoga. I 100% invested my energy, time, body, heart and spirit into helping make this place exceptionally special, and exceptionally special, it became. It was palpable. There was a unique, positive and extraordinary energy cultivated in the space and felt by all, staff and clients alike. It was the only place I had ever personally experienced, witnessed or even heard of, where the people who worked there, once they were done with their shifts; be it a massage therapist, yoga instructor, desk staff and even managers, didn't want to go home. It was that kind of place where everyone just wanted to stay, absorb the uplifting vibrations, connect with like minded folks and just relax in the inviting atmosphere. It was truly a dream come true. 

 

Long story not short, but not as long as it could be - a few years into operations, the original and sole owner of the business acquired a partner and they opened up a retail shop together. It felt like a good match and a nice way for the business to expand and grow. I was excited for everyone involved and optimistic about the future of the business. Not long into the partnership, a year or two at most, the original owner and my dear friend decided it was time to take a break. She went from college to Teach for America, to opening up a brick and mortar healing space and was married to a business yet yearning to see the world. In January of 2016 we co-taught the studios’s first 200-hour yoga teacher training program, and that was basically the last thing she did before she took off. Our students graduated in May and she left that Summer for an adventure of a lifetime. No one knew how long the sabbatical would be, but eventually it became clear that she was not coming back. 

 

I will forever be thankful for and inspired by her; her massive visioning ability and “womanifesting” powers, her purity of heart, her gentle yet firm spirit and the seemingly effortless way she had in bringing people together. I am especially grateful for the collaboration of leading that first yoga teacher training together. I will always cherish that shared experience - one can enroll in a program to become a yoga teacher, but there is no training on how to lead a teacher training. We had a completely full class and it was such a blessing to have a wonderful partner to navigate the inauguration of the program with. Together we shared in the trials and errors, celebrated the successes, held each other through the “oopses” and most importantly, we made profound connections with 14 beautiful sisters, most of whom are all still very much in contact today. I continued leading YTTs on my own and have graduated 10 classes to date. Facilitating YTT has without a doubt become one of the most fulfilling things I have been blessed to do for work. To be honest, the ability to teach a yoga class by the completion of training for my students is quite low on my list of why I love doing it. I know that my purpose here on this Earth is to serve humanity and hold space for others to heal. The program that we originally created, which has greatly evolved over the years, is really about taking a deep dive into oneself - opening up, becoming vulnerable, connecting, allowing oneself to be authentically seen and holding others in their own humanness, playing, healing, growing and stepping into one’s power with humility. In my opinion, the ability to teach an asana class is really just the icing on the cake. 

 

After she left things started shifting in the workplace which is reasonable and likely to be expected with a sole new-ish owner who had their own background, vision, values, opinions and ways of working. Though I led the yoga side of things, there was always an operations manager in the mix. I saw them come and go. Come and go. Come and go. Over time, things progressively deteriorated and my discomfort in the space began to grow. I was often bewildered at some of the business decisions being made and the way that people who worked in the space were being treated by the owner (including myself). I watched the original owner’s beautiful vision and creation gradually decline and essentially disappear. Many close friends and co-workers left due to this person’s abhorrent behavior. I stayed longer than felt right to me because I dearly loved the community I helped to create. I immensely enjoyed facilitating yoga teacher training as well as teaching public yoga classes. I had made so many authentic, deep and lifelong connections in this venue that had become my second home of 10 years.

 

The changing of seasons have often been so important and  transformative for me. I got engaged on the Winter Solstice in 2018. Married on the Summer Solstice of 2019. And on the Winter Solstice of 2021, I was diagnosed with Covid-19. I am a firm believer that everything is working in Divine Alignment - whatever is perceived as good, bad, wrong, right, beautiful, ugly - it is all part of a great plan. There is always something bigger happening and it often cannot  be seen right away. A wise teacher and beloved sister of mine once said “what’s before you is for you.” Simple. Profound. Everything we are facing, navigating and going through each moment is truly an opportunity - for greater understanding, for deeper knowing, for making mistakes and learning from them, for doing better next time, for fully feeling the breadth and depth of being human. It was during this period when I was down for the count with “The Vid” that I came to one of the hardest decisions of my life and that was to say goodbye to a place and people that were profoundly meaningful to me. I’m not sure if I had not contracted Covid that I would have gotten there, then. So many thoughts raced through my head. I had several students signed up to start a new session of yoga teacher training with me beginning in January. I couldn’t possibly do this anywhere else. Who would I be if I didn’t have this space that was so intertwined in my daily life and being? How could I possibly leave behind the community that counted on me, that I had been serving for so long? 

 

But through the Covid initiation I came to the painful decision to leave. I knew with certainty that my morals, ethics, integrity and soul could no longer represent the person who was solely in charge of this space that was once genuinely treasured by so many. And I did it. I found a dance studio to rent space in to lead my training that was beginning in just a couple of weeks. I had no idea if the students would even want to still participate if it wasn’t happening in its original, advertised location, the place where I had been leading these trainings for the past 5 years. I didn’t have personal relationships with most of the students who signed up. But after making a firm decision in myself, I met with each student individually, shared what was going on and gave them the option to be refunded or to move with me into a new space. To my elation, all 12 students that had applied for the program decided they did still want to study with me and gracefully agreed to embark not only on their new journey, but also join me on mine. We will be meeting next weekend for our third session of seven together and I could not be more delighted about this group that is supporting me as much, if not more, than I am them. What a gift! 

 

So where do I go from here? Over the Pandemic I spent a lot of time learning about all sorts of things; I took training after training; Sacred Depths Coaching training, Death Doula training, Sidereal Astrology training, Alchemical Herbalism training, Trauma Informed for Plant Medicine Facilitation training and Somatic Integration for Plant Medicine practitioner training. I have gained so much knowledge and wisdom that has enriched my life and helped me cultivate a deeper understanding of myself as well as given me so many tools in order to better serve others. It has been a season of hibernation for me. Winter is just that. A death of sorts, a time to go inward and rest to be reborn in the Spring. I have spent much time in deep reflection and constant prayer. I have grieved what was lost while remaining wide open to what is to come. I have been learning how to fall in love with the mystery, letting go of the need to know and the desire to control. I certainly went through a mourning period, but the only way out is through. I honored the dark and am now am celebrating the light! I feel fully satisfied with my decision, I am liberated from the constant unpleasantness I was experiencing, and I am really, really excited for what is to come. I wish nothing but great success for everyone still involved in the space I left, some are dear friends. I have been doing lots of private sessions but I tremendously miss teaching regular classes. I miss seeing so many of your faces and I hold dearly the authentic heart connections we have made that can never be lost. I know that I will continue on my own path of healing as well as resume more offerings to hold space for others to connect to their deepest inner wisdom, beauty and expansion. I am more eager than ever for Spring, and she is right around the corner!

 

I am dreaming up a healing space of my own. I don’t know exactly what that is going to look like yet, but I do know a few things. The main pillars of this space will be community, inclusivity and accessibility. I know that it will be led Divinely by Spirit and will operate in the highest integrity with the intention of being a safe space for people to connect, open and heal through many different avenues. It will be a space where I can lead my yoga teacher training and share other offerings; breath work, dance, plants, conversation, song, bodywork, connection to nature or a concoction of it all. It will be a space for aligned individuals to facilitate and share their own passions, gifts and medicine with those whose hearts call them. I also know that I need help in making it happen. Asking for support, especially monetary support, is a huge growth edge for me, but I trust in the wisdom that I have received from all of my allies, both seen and unseen, which is that this capital funding is exactly what I need to move forward with this dream. I am outside typing this and I just looked up to see a beautiful Hawk flying above. For me, she represents vision, clarity, courage and is an acknowledgement of being on the right path. Thank you, beautiful hawk, for your medicine. The signs are everywhere. The magic is happening. I know there is a lot of chaos and darkness in the world right now and it is my highest hope to co-create a space to bring just a bit more light into our little corner, which will no doubt travel outward into the entire Cosmos. Perhaps you wish to participate in the cultivation of this imminent illumination. 

 

If you read all of this, thank you for your patience. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your consideration in donating. If you are unable to donate in a monetary way, please consider sharing the fundraiser and/or offering a prayer. It is truly an honor and a gift to know you and to serve you. 

Many blessings and infinite love,

Brooke

 

P.S. If you are in Charlotte, I will be teaching a special Equinox Class on 3/20 at 11am at MoveStudio, located behind the Common Market on Monroe Rd. Please email if you are interested in joining. brooke@sacredhealingpaths.com Much love!