Defining Success

Article by Bohemian Studios barre instructor  Jean Powell  Don't miss Jean’s Instagram takeover,  follow us here!

Article by Bohemian Studios barre instructor Jean Powell
Don't miss Jean’s Instagram takeover, follow us here!

Hello Dreamers,

Have you ever had the feeling that the thing you were chasing was the thing everyone else wants, but it doesn't actually satisfy your definition of success? 

Everyone else seems to sink right in, but maybe it doesn't feel right in your bones? Maybe you wonder why you’re rebelling in your heart, feeling a bit like a misfit.

I thought my life was supposed to look a certain way.

As a recovering people pleaser, I used to be a master at following the rules. I did precisely what I was told, and got the grades and promotions to validate that conformity was the celebrated path. 

We get caught in the negotiation of what our parents want for us —maybe a bit of their own unfulfilled dreams?— what we see others do around us, and what we are fed by a constant stream of media.

So I chased the thing. I made the money.

I bought so much stuff that a bigger and bigger house was necessary to hold all my endorphin-inducing accumulations. At some point, the pursuit of it was the thing that kept me fulfilled, because it was distracting enough to keep me going. 

This isn't wrong if it left me happy and fulfilled. Or if it didn’t wake me up repeatedly with 3 am insomnia. Or if I wasn’t sacrificing everything and everyone in my life to achieve it.

Even on the surface, I knew all of my acquired things were not enough. 

The truth was, the things I had chased, that I had wanted so badly... Well, I wanted them because I was conditioned to want them. I'd been spoon-fed this story my whole life, and I had always obediently followed the path most-traveled.

I'm supposed to perfectly pursue my career for 40 years, make money to buy all the stuff, keep my opinions (and my voice) quiet, marry a man to create mini-versions of ourselves with, and eventually get that shiny retirement plaque alongside a large sheet cake. 

I woke up at some point to realize I had fallen asleep at the wheel of my entire life.

I decided from there, I had no choice but to walk away from every part of it. Actually, I burned it all down because I needed the exquisite drama of it all to find my way to me again.

I got divorced, quit my cool corporate job, and moved into a teeny tiny studio. I also got new tattoos just for good measure.

I won't pretend I've figured it all out, or that I don't question myself sometimes. What I can say, is in this journey of tearing my life apart, I feel more awake and more alive than I've ever felt. I know that I’m intentionally choosing each part, and I have permission to choose a new piece when one stops serving me.

I’m discovering all these new sides of myself, and leaning into inner desires I may have pushed off because I thought they didn’t fit what I was supposed to be.

Maybe you already feel blissfully on the right path and have everything you want unfolding in front of you. Or maybe like me, you feel like you've been wearing a costume starring in someone else's play this whole time.

Maybe you, too, want to tear up your script and write something new.

I haven't found a formula for defining success, and honestly that's what makes me feel free. I figure if I can't find a consistent answer, this confirms the definition (which is always evolving) really is up to me. In the midst of this two-year sabbatical, I've tried on new versions of myself. I've slept 9+ hours for 4 nights in a row. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I've learned how to re-frame ambiguity as exhilarating possibility.

I've stayed up too late, indulged in impromptu adventures, said yes repeatedly, and maybe fell in love with myself in the process. 

I’m really liking this new brand of success.

Maybe you can join me, and we can write / erase / re-write together, applauding and loving each other all the way. 

Maybe we can inspire each other to continue questioning and thinking differently, to dive into discomfort and uncertainty.

Maybe we can remind each other that the point is to connect and to laugh and to find ways to make ourselves and the world around us better. 

Have the courage to pursue your path, even if it looks off-beat and unconventional. I promise, we're all here rooting for you.

This definition of success is yours to write, and most importantly, yours to live out loud.

— jean

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Meet Jean

After a lifetime of muscling my way up the corporate ladder I found myself a VP only to find my body stagnant and my soul hungry. I dove into a year sabbatical to explore the reality that I felt most alive on the mat. I decided that more than one version of Jean existed, and without a backward glance my path to Bohemian was nothing short of divine.

When a student says to me, “The outside world didn't exist, I sweated hard...and btw, I so love that Drake song," I know I have met my mission. Get down with me for a powerful and dynamic workout, and let's laugh out loud while building a deeper relationship with ourselves. And yes oh yes, do I love a good playlist—I get in a groove when I'm tiny-dipping and not able to tell the difference between the burn or the beat.

No other movement makes me smile the way barre does! Want proof? Once it's over... I want more. Was that dancing or bicep curls?

I'm a geek about anatomy and mobility, we get to have these bodies for a lifetime. More than that, I'm passionate about helping my community feel at home in their skin. Your movement journey is never too late... Join me!

Book a class with Jean! Click here!

The Medicine of Ordinary Time

Article by Bohemian Studios yoga instructor  Tim Sullivan  Don't miss Tim’s Instagram takeover,  follow us here!

Article by Bohemian Studios yoga instructor Tim Sullivan
Don't miss Tim’s Instagram takeover, follow us here!

Hi Friends,

I read a short story recently where the main character has a terrible accident and the next morning, wakes up and the woman he loves is cooking him breakfast as her kid is running around the kitchen. He sits and sips his coffee, watches the scene unfold and she fries up eggs over the stove, the oil sizzling. Then you read the line, “the ordinary can be like medicine.”

In catholicism, there exists this concept of “Ordinary Time.”

It’s the space between the holy days, a time of year where you’re neither feasting nor fasting. In Ordinary Time, there are no great events or celebrations, nothing to mark the passing of the days except the sun rising and setting. It’s the time between.

Right now, I’m relishing every second of Ordinary Time I can get. 

My daughter was born two months ago. She had a rough start —the kind of start I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She wasn’t breathing, couldn’t on her own. We didn’t hear her cry for days. We spent her first week waiting to hear news, results— Sunken faced, nightmares running through our heads, I struggled to even hear the word "congratulations." Having not prepared whatsoever for this new reality, it was the darkest night our souls had known.

We felt some peace picturing her dreaming of sitting with each member of our community in their tears and prayers, flying around the world being held by every one of them. Keeping our daughter in their prayers were Christians across the States, Jews said her name to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Muslims, Buddhists in Thailand, Yogis, scientists, energy workers, and the best damn medical team the world has ever seen. It felt like the whole world was right there with us and the entire universe came to our aide.

100 years ago, doc said, I would’ve probably lost both my ladies.

I’ve never cried reading a Wikipedia page until I read the page for neuroplasticity. God literally programmed miracles into our brains. Somewhere around 24 hours into life, our daughter held my finger with an iron grip, seeming to tell me “Dad, I got this.”

And now?

Two months in and the storm has cleared. Every prayer was seemingly answered. We now exist in the Ordinary Time of new parenthood. We have the same sleepless nights , moonlit diaper blowouts, her refusal to sleep anywhere but in our arms, her quiet gaze out the window as we watch yet another sunrise together, our faithful pup sitting by her side. I remind myself to look up— The cup of coffee that is spilled on the couch, my wife fussing with her hair in the bathroom as I bounce the baby, telling her stories about the family she was born into.

There’s a half eaten apple on the counter. This is the now that all the yogis and monks say we’re supposed to seek and I can’t get enough of it.

Because sooner than I know, my daughter will all grown up, something will break and be repaired, a friend will leave town, the tree will shed its leaves, and you’ll finally finish that book on the shelf. This is the Ordinary Time that instagram doesn’t tell you about. Since our daughter has come home from the NICU, her best medicine has been Ordinary Time, this constantly refreshing now we all get to be a part of.

Life happens in the space between, in those moments we usually reach for our phones, the constant click and scroll chores our brains somehow need to check off. But what if instead we just existed in the brilliant ordinary medicine of now?

It looks like our daughter will (thank friggin’ goodness) be totally fine, but I found myself thumbing through some of my favorite books of poems which provided me some much needed nuggets of wisdom. Here’s one from Marie Howe on her brother’s early passing of AIDS:

The Gate

by Marie Howe

I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.

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Tim Sullivan Bohemian Studios

Meet Tim

After 15 years of teaching yoga, I’m more dedicated than ever to infusing the depth and soul of the practice into my daily life. Yoga has become a way for me to seek and sustain gentleness in thought and movement. 

You’ll rarely stop flowing in my classes. My sequences are seamless and constructed to make somatic sense to your body. Seriously, just come, wherever you are in your practice, it’s gonna feel good. 

Outside of the yoga world, my wife and I travel a helluva lot taking photos, cooing at our newborn daughter, and running retreats all over the globe that explore the wisdom traditions (and food and design and booze) of each country we visit. Check us out at @sullivanandsullivanstudios & @moveablefeastretreats

Book a class with Tim click here!

Adrienne Kimberley Yoga Buddhi