Listen to your gut. I’m sure you have all heard this before. You are struggling to make a decision and someone says, “Listen to your gut.” While I believe that it is indeed important to listen to our gut instincts I also strongly believe in listening to what our minds, firmly planted in the realities of all the pros and cons of a situation, have to say about things. Well, I got an important lesson in listening to my gut this week.
I was due to start teaching a chair yoga class at a day treatment center for older adults with chronic mental illnesses and dementia or Alzheimer’s this morning. This is a population I have a fair amount of experience working with and rather enjoy. Prior to accepting the position I had checked to make sure I could easily get to the facility; it would be a bit of a trek, but an easy one. When I went online to double check the directions last night I found myself bombarded with a multitude of variations on the route (none seemed quite correct and some said I couldn’t get there at all). I emailed the director of the program and felt confident-ish with her detailed directions once I got off the train. As I was getting ready for bed last night I found myself filled with dread, not excitement. I could feel actual physical resistance in my body when I thought about the class. Still, I forged on this morning.
En route I received an email from the program director asking me to run the group a half hour later than planned, this was fifteen minutes before said group was supposed to start. Due to other obligations this would not be at all feasible for me. I immediately emailed back. The director had already demonstrated through our earlier communications that she knew nothing of yoga or what this special populations needs in order to safely and comfortably engage in classes and groups. I had pushed all of my doubts and reservations aside convincing myself that having worked under some rough conditions before and learning from those experiences I could easily adapt once there. As the train traveled on I suddenly realized that I had failed to switch trains where they fork and was in the wrong section of where I needed to be. I immediately called the program director. She was very curt with me. She sounded even younger and more immature than I had envisioned her (thanks to a quick Google I knew she was quite young). She was convinced the train would just take me there despite my informing her that it forks at a certain point. She basically yelled, “So you are not going to make it?!” As I began to say that I would be able to come in and do a shortened group she hung up on me. I was hung up on. I immediately sent an email apologizing and clearly stating, for the third time since I was hired, my availability during the program’s group hours.
As I sat on the train ride home I started to feel relieved. It was in that moment that I realized I should have listened to my gut. This gig was not right for me. And then I started to feel angry; angry at myself for botching the directions, angry at the director for hanging up on me. Did I really send an apology email to someone who hung up on me? I don’t think it will come as any shock that I have yet to hear back from her. I, quite frankly, will be shocked if I ever hear from her again. I had let the fear of needing a little more monthly income override what my gut, and my head too, were telling me…this was not for me. While I continued to contemplate it all I checked my email to find a response to a position I had applied for about a month ago. A position teaching yoga at a studio conveniently located near my home. An opportunity that may very well turn out to be for me. I should have listened to my gut.