There are these sweet moments of honeyed gratitude, when my taste buds awaken to the tangible authenticity of my life. These bites of perception are frequent and satisfying, like a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread topped with real butter only. Let me take you into my virtual kitchen. Here, sit down and I'll pour you a cup of homemade chai. I'd like to seduce you with my casual yet intriguing lifestyle, but brace yourself for the bitterness that sometimes rests at the bottom of a cup enjoyed too greedily.
You see, I’m a yoga teacher, a natural nutritionist, writer, driver of my own business(es) and traveler. I don’t own a home and spend more time in other people’s beds than my own (wait, it’s not what you think). I teach all over the world and lead workshops and retreats too. I also travel for pleasure, solo or with my big love and little 4 year old love. Yes, I wear the Mama hat too. We homeschool (mostly - when she’s not occasionally running around Japanese kindergarten). I take on clients via Skype and use the interwebs as my office. When it’s sunny, I always choose to play by day and toil by night. You know, it’s a pretty sweet deal.Except, when it’s not. Like, when all the balls are hovering in the air, ready to pelt me in the forehead. I look up in bewilderment and refuse to put out my hands. When my girl gets sick and I’m up all night and all day, with deadlines to meet. When I’m by myself for weeks because this super cool, traveling lifestyle means that my partner is on the road for work and there’s no one around to help. It happens, I lose my marbles. I get snappy, cold, quiet and guilt ridden. When I make someone I love cry, because they have to (yet again) stretch themselves to unknown mental limits to accommodate my unyielding desires, it’s like a crushing weight on my chest. I feel like shit. And yet, I quiver in my vulnerability. My ability to create and radiate and make wild, passionate love to my life far surpasses any supposed setbacks. It’s right and good and true. All my relationships, especially the one with myself, thrive because of tenacity and truth. Especially when it hurts. While I possess stamina and grit, I am gentle and light, too. I take care to fan my flames so that my fire can keep blazing. The secret? There are no secrets, only consciously consistent effort -- with an abundance of creative energy. I make up my own rules. I don’t exist in any pre-fabricated framework and think ‘balance’ is a real nice new-age buzzword. I don’t do balance, I follow my inspiration and stamina. That often means I work through most of the night because I love the sweet stillness and mental focus is high. When I have an idea, I run with it as fast as I can. I don’t wait for anything. During the day, I love to linger on my family, I cook and play outside. I do my best to stay in the moment and don’t stress about what i’m not doing. I make sure to stay inspired. I have the best drive and vitality when I’m in a state of luscious awe, so I do my best to get there, often. I read books every day, participate in retreats, take online courses and weekend certifications. I spend time alone, often. I day dream, it’s my professional hobby. I go out of my way to connect with like minded souls. I fight for the privilege. Eating well is my job. I have one body to house this incredible experience and I hum so much more efficiently and joyfully on fresh food and water. Yoga is my religion. When I feel desperate and scared, I cling to it even more. Crawling to my mat is the solace I need, as well as fresh air and sunshine. I can be found recharging curled up on a bench in the sunlight like a cat, petting is optional. I need to be alone everyday, not for an extended period of time and often 10 minutes is enough, but I crave silence and stillness. And you know what else? Love. The real stuff, you guys. Not the one filled with expectation and insecurity, but one that allows you to grow wings and fly, in your perfect imperfections. There are infinite sources, including yourself. I do have bright stars in my constellation that keep me humbled and grateful, one of the strongest being my husband. So, yeah. It’s gritty and a little strong, this cup of chai. You’ll also not find another one like it. I hope you continue to share it with me, as I’ve made much too much for just one. ---
Often referred to as a little firecracker, Mara Panacci is an international yoga teacher and holistic nutrition expert. She is the founder of Yoga Renegade, your rebellious playground, and co-muse at Accidental Renegade, helping yogis navigate the branding and marketing underworld. Nomadic adventurer and wellness devotee, Mara leads programs and workshops all over the world.