The Observer

Pittock Mansion

I taught movement for a long, long time. Ten years of dance to students of every ability and every age, followed by a Yoga teacher certification which launched me into another rambunctious nine months promptly after that.

At the end of March I moved across the States to the gorgeousness of Portland, Oregon. I haven’t taught since then, since early Spring.

Sure, a lot of it had to do with that effortless trauma that accompanies any move, or should I say a more uncomfortable word? Uprooting. But I’m not a good liar and I’m certainly not going to lie to you guys. The reality had nothing to do with that.

It was time for me to stop being the teacher. It was time for me to become the student…the observer.

I learned and grew so much from teaching, absolutely. Yet somewhere along the way I lost my own practice, the sweetness that comes with delving into the mind, body, and soul. The energy for myself was pushed aside to give to my incredible students.

I loved every beautiful minute of it—please, don’t get me wrong. But what is a teacher who is not able to pause and observe? Shit, not the teacher that I want to be.

I haven’t talked much about Yoga in the past year, not because writing has been more prominent with my book release but because I have been quietly observing my physical side.

My emotional and physical beings are deeply connected. As are all of yours.

The time has come to take the same approach with writing. To step away and give to myself by observing all that I can and once again become the humble student.

I’m determined to stick my little nose in as many books as I can. I’m beyond excited to dedicate time to reading again, rather than squeezing books into my packed schedule and feeling rushed.

So much of the past few years of my life has been dedicated to my work. I have self-published three novels and kept up a weekly blog which I pour my everlasting love into.

Every novel is the very essence of me. Every blog post is painstakingly created with attention to detail and undying tenderness.

I have three solid ides for my next projects—two novels and one short, a challenge I’m curious to explore. Unlike other times in my life, I’m not setting a timeline for lift-off. I’m gonna write when it’s right.

Now is not that time. Now is about observing the bits and pieces of life, absorbing that damning beauty we are all so fortunate to experience. 

Before I used to teach any of my classes, whether it be dance or Yoga, I used to get so freaking nervous. My heart would race wildly, sweat would decorate my brow and my back, and I’d often consider ditching the class with some mediocre excuse.

Not because I didn’t cherish my students. Because I was terrified that I had nothing to offer…nothing to teach.

Through writing I learn incessantly about every moment, every breath, every heartbeat. I press the pause button on my personal chaos to record eccentricities, emotions, and events…but, what the hell do I know?

I’m only a student. And it’s time for me to observe.

 

 

30 thoughts on “The Observer

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Agreed! Moving was absolutely the start of a new phase, but it was so tough because I was still in the middle of finishing up my work from my previous life phase. I knew that once Nola Fran Evie was released into the world, some clarity would arrive.

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Agree with Carrie ^ It’s great to be in a place where you can re-position your priorities Britt. Your teaching (for example) may have become a bit of a chore. It releases a lot of energy to put something like that aside and to do something different. Certainly changing tack when the time feels right has worked for me.
    (Hope you’re not stopping blogging though 😦 )

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      You’re right on the money, Roy. Teaching was something I did for so long, and though I enjoyed it, my creative energy was divided roughly between writing and movement. I kept thinking I would look for a teaching job when I got settled here but found that the extra time was needed elsewhere.

      Have no fear, I’ll still be blogging! : )

  2. Minuscule Moments says:

    Britt you can rest and be proud of what you have achieved I am in awe of anyone who can finish a novel let alone three. Be proud and yes enjoy the time spent observing, for that is what sparks the writers curiosity and new ideas emerge and grow.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Thanks, Kath. I really appreciate that reminder. I got very caught up the past couple of years and it feels good to step back, and dammit, be proud for once. As you said, inspiration and ideas will surely flourish during my observation period.

  3. Letizia says:

    The moment of clarity after the hustle and bustle – it’s a wonderful time! A period of observing and taking it all in sounds perfect. I hope this doesn’t mean you will stop blogging though…

  4. Browsing the Atlas says:

    I’m starting to emerge from my reading phase into another writing phase (I hope!). You’re absolutely right that sometimes we have to step back and observe before doing/teaching again. You’re a smart woman, Britt!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Good for you, Juliann! The same thing will probably happen to me as well. Before I started writing Beneath the Satin Gloves, I had just returned to some serious reading after many years away due to college text books and some bad television in there somewhere taking over my free time. Aw, shucks…thanks, love. You’re a smart one yourself!

  5. Gallivanta says:

    Someone asked me today if I go to the movies anymore. I said, No. And, then, I wondered why I don’t. I think it’s because I have entered another reading phase in my life. I am totally absorbed in books, just as I was as a child.
    I hope you will share some of your observations on your latest phase in life. 🙂

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      I used to watch WAY more movies than I do today, because I have turned into a diligent reader again. I appreciate a good flick, but there’s a lot of junk out there. I usually only find that foreign films, indie films, and classics satisfy me anymore. I will share observations as they spring up, of course. : )

  6. Zen A. says:

    I remember when you told me that after you release Nola, Fran, Evie you’ll be taking a break from writing to get back to reading! I’m happy for you! Few things give a writer the same joy reading does. 🙂

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Thanks, Zen! It feels great to have that sense of relief. I’m afraid some of the books I was reading during the Nola Fran Evie period did not get the attention they deserved from me.

  7. Kate Johnston says:

    I think this is very wise. We all need to take the opportunity to step back and observe, so that we may teach again in our own way. As a mom, I remind myself daily that as much as I need to be teaching my kids, I can learn a bounty from them, which in turn helps me be a better teacher.

    I do find it difficult, though, to read while I’m writing. At least, to read the same genre as I’m writing. I feel like I’m trying to measure up to that author, and failing miserably. I have had better luck reading a completely different genre (biographies, history, or adult fiction if I’m writing MG), so that I don’t feel like I have to prove I’m just as good of a writer.

    It’s that stupid ol’ writer’s complex we all know and abhor!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      And, that’s what makes you a fabulous mama, Kate! Too often we become complacent as adults, thinking we’ve seen it all. It’s imperative to remain humble, always learning and growing.

      During Beneath the Satin Gloves edits, I couldn’t read at all for the reasons you mentioned. I explored classic films like crazy instead. While writing the first draft of Nola Fran Evie, I was reading Yoga books for my teacher training. Definitely a good tactic to avoid books in your same genre.

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    It’s said that change is the only constant, so I think moving from student to teacher and back is part of that process. I’ve always thought that when we stop learning, we stop living, so I’m all for being a lifelong student. 😉

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Absolutely! I always loved school and felt pretty lost after college ended. That’s why I love writing so much…along with traveling. Both are a great way to keep the student mind active. : )

  9. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    I join Carrie in saying life is a constant ever evolving cycle of of phases, each one bringing a different emphasis, flavor or maybe teaching of its own. I can totally relate as I feel a slight pulling towards exact the same phase in my own life. I had more or less a similar post in my mind that I will write about in due time once I’m settled down in TX. It’s good to change places. It opens up different perspective. I will look forward to reading about your observations during this new phase in your life, Britt.
    Well written!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      I know you’re going through a lot of life changes too, Karin. It’s an unsettling time, yes, but it is can also be very beautiful if we allow the flow to happen, right? Looking forward to hearing all about your journey as well.

  10. Andrea Stephenson says:

    It seems right that after all the work on Nola Fran Evie and the excitement and hard work of the launch, that its time for you to take a little pause to re-charge and decide where to head next. Concentrating on reading and observing sounds like a serene way to do that.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Indeed! I was feeling the need to pause and recharge when I first moved out here but I needed to see the Nola Fran Evie project through. It was challenging once I changed my whole location. Glad I made it to the release. And NOW I can explore a sense of ease.

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