Issue 2 | July 2020
I sat down with Melissa in her downtown San Antonio home that looked straight out of an Urban Outfitters Catalog. It was all things cozy, colorful and effortlessly cool. Melissa is a yoga studio owner, published poet and all around wellness advocate. As you can probably tell, she's a calming and encouraging soul who is easy to want to learn more from.
How has your practice and writing helped you during these times?
My practice has provided structure while the writing has been both conversation of my heart's experience and inquiry into what this is all opening me to (or letting go of). To go in and work through. The practice and poetry coincide deeply as movement and breath liberate me but the writing is the process of arranging pieces and thoughts. My practice is decluttering, relieving, and clearing. It's the space I get to attend to my heart, body and narratives. To re-negotiate what I think I thought and what I really feel. From the mat to paper- it is through the poetry where I have been able to process what happens when the world becomes still. Reflecting back to early March- I was in India and within 24 hours was returning from an incredible experience abroad to shutting down my studios and navigating the transition from in person work to all online while choosing to stay with my husband and daughter in Florida where my husband is located temporarily because of the military. There was so much to process in who I was as a business owner, a mother, wife, friend, an artist. So much identity is in the doing, so when the world stopped and became so virtual- it was a lot for me. But the writing, creating and moving kept me grounded...and still does. The yoga gets me unstuck and the writing allows me to align, clear and articulate the waters I am swimming and the feelings I am feeling. And still today as I continue to pivot and flow with the unfolding of these times, I have found shelter in the moments where I give permission to practice with good music or sit outside with coffee and ink. And both, the biggest treasure for me, since I love community and people- is these both are things I can share with others. In a sense as inward as they are, they have kept me connected, vocal and authentic in the work I share.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust the timing. Stop rushing or worrying. You do not need permission from anyone so stop looking for validation as proof that you are meant to do this. Because it is always the need for validation where we exchange integrity for the approval of another. It will resonate with who it needs to resonate with. You cannot win people through vulnerability or alliance. Only through true resonance. So just do you and trust the timing. Ask. Show up. Do the work. Repeat. I wear my heart on my sleeve so every time I trip up it is because of overcompensating- but even with giving younger Melissa this advice she would have done it her way anyway...and the magic of this is that every mistake and experience has brought me to right now and I am so grateful, thankful and in love with who I am now. I am excited to continue learning about myself and growing.
what has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
When I reflect on this I consider so many things. Everything I dream unfolds, I do not believe in rejection just redirection. I am clear, I have big trust and I work hard for the things I have in my life. There are definitely things that have unfolded and are unfolding that I can't even begin to believe is happening. Obviously opening the first yoga studio on a military base was huge and now being part of strong conversations of soldier readiness and resilience programming- these are things I dreamed. Being a published poet and seeing people share my poetry or share how my poetry has resonated is like the biggest heart opening joy. Owning studios and even through this crazy time taking things as they come, so awesome. I am proud of those. But my strongest accomplishment is even with so many outside non-stop things, that I am able to continue to come home. I give time for snuggles with my daughter, I enjoy coffee with my husband, listen to music, maintain my spiritual hygiene and studies...I think it is an accomplishment in this world to run the race but giving time to drink up the pauses. And that to me is such an accomplishment. To lean into balance. Leaning into my self care is big and setting those boundaries are so important. Everytime I do it, it feels like such a win. And I hope whoever is reading this can be reminded that all the go go go is so much ego, that the art of this life lives in the pauses, the cozy, the meaningful of right now. And to show up for that...is huge.