a shift for fall

I realized this spring that in my excitement of my return to health I had taken on too much. I was overworked and burnt out. I had no time for friends, no time for our house, no time for my own creative work. I mapped out what I had been doing and knew that something needed to be dropped: Yoga teaching.

I’ve been teaching yoga for most of the past 13 years, initially starting my teacher training because it was something I felt passionate about doing, and there was something about oboe teaching that was dragging me down. I’ve loved the yoga teaching, but it is physically and sometimes emotionally intense work. I knew I had reached yoga teacher burnout when my own practice became more about class planning than svadyaya (self-study).

My focus this fall will be threefold:

1. I received a grant from the SAB to finish a manuscript of poetry and performance scores themed around anatomy. The manuscript has a few holes that need writing into, and many of the scores are still in draft form. This will be intellectually intense work, but I am looking forward to spending most of my time on this project I started almost ten years ago.

2. I have five private voice students and am running two group Voicing classes this fall. It seems I’ve come into demand as a voice teacher and coach. I have a waiting list for private students and have been receiving inquiries about teaching workshops to groups. The Star Phoenix did an article about my classes in their Spring Wellness insert which has helped things along. Readers interested in the group class can visit the Free Flow Dance Centre website (click on the “training” link on the left) for more info.

3. I will continue on as director of the Mysterium Choir. This choir was founded by Angie Tysseland in the fall of 2009 and focuses on meditative music. I was assistant director until this Spring, when Angie had a recurrence of ovarian cancer. I took on the directorship and Kim de LaForest became assistant director. This was a steep learning curve for me, having never directed a choir before. But staying true to my vision of what the choir was about and what the singers were capable of made it an enjoyable challenge.

The biggest changes I am making in terms of organizing my time are the hiring of an administrative assistant and a return to my own journalling and yoga practices. Arts administration takes an inordinate amount of my time. I had a lovely woman working for me over the summer for two hours a week and it made a huge difference. Unfortunately she is moving overseas so I am looking for a replacement. Journalling and yoga are the ways in which I come back into myself, and into silence. I’ve found that my need for silence has grown in response to my work with sound. I had neglected my journalling and yoga for too long with all my responsibilities last year. Stepping back into those practices has been invaluable. I am also taking a Breakthrough Acting class with Tom Bentley-Fisher. I took a class with him in the spring as a way of keeping up my performance training as I had found I was teaching more than performing and getting a little rusty. I was also unable last year to take enough time off to travel to study with either Richard Armstrong or Enrique Pardo, who I have worked with in the past. Tom’s class was exactly what I needed to get myself back into my own skin.

Other things in the works: I will be presenting my videopoem, susurrations, at the Health and Embodiment conference at McMaster University this November. I’ve also booked a reading at Brock University and there will perhaps be a performance of sorts in Toronto in tandem with the same trip. Check back for updates.