my story

As any young child, I’m sure, I listened to my parents wholeheartedly (unless they were telling me to go to bed…).  They were perfect; my heroes.  Well, they still are.  And I still cling to every word they say and have said.  My dad is exceptionally good at coining phrases that just stick with you – let’s call them ‘dadisms’ because I’m sure there will be more shared in future blogs.  One in particular has governed much of my adult life:

“Happiness is a choice.” he said*

He said this as I cried and screamed over some silly high school drama while intermittently stomping around like a 2 year old.  I don’t exactly remember my exact response, but I’m sure it was something like “Whatever, Dad, I hate my life!!!!!”  But…it wasn’t whatever.  It was a super powerful moment in my life; one that I’ve never actually told him was so powerful, though, I’m sure he’ll read this someday.  At the time, I finished my tantrum and cataloged the phrase not putting much emphasis on it at all.  But suddenly, every time I started to feel a tinge of sadness or ungratefulness, I could hear him saying “Happiness is a choice, Angela.”  And then I graduated high school and my problems became real world problems.

It was no longer about not flying in the ending cheerleading pyramid or fretting about the fact that I didn’t have a prom date (no joke, I didn’t have one until 1 week before prom).  Nope. It was now about deciding what to do with my life and learning how to live in a city without the most important thing in the world to me: my family.  I had all but dismissed my yoga practice and opted for parties over poses, but this phrase still crossed my mind at least once a day and I knew that I was the only thing separating myself from happiness.

After college, I did what most 22 year olds do: I got a job – in a pretty rough market, I might add.  And I was grateful for the opportunity and I worked hard (too hard) and I played hard (too hard) and then, I woke up one day and realized I was no longer choosing happiness.  I was just getting by.  And, so, I chose happiness again.

For me, happiness has always roughly equated with health and fitness.  So, I started there: I went  to the gym every morning and put my health and myself above all else.  And, then, I decided to go back to yoga.  That’s when it clicked.  THIS Is what makes me most happy!  THIS is where I feel the most comfort; the most peace.  THIS is where I find stability and flexibility and strength all at the same time.  THIS is where I feel confident and joyful.

I rededicated myself to my practice and realized there really was one thing left out of whack – my life from 9-5.  I struggled with this fact; feeling quite hopeless that I was destined to do something that stole my happiness for 40+ hours a week for the rest of my adult life.  And then, I heard Dad: “Happiness is a choice, Angela.”  And of course, Mom piped in there too – she always has to have the last word: “You can do whatever you want to do with your life, Angela.  We love and support you no matter what.”  So, I did whatever I wanted and I chose happiness.

I sought out the most comprehensive and classical yoga teacher training in Chicago (one of the best in the country, even) and am now a graduate of Moksha Yoga Center‘s 200hr Teacher Training (completed more than 900hrs!).  I’m now teaching full time around Chicago.

I’ve chosen my happiness; or at the very least, the pursuit of my happiness – have you?  Through my teaching, my mission is to help others unlock happiness.  You already hold the key – you just might need a little prodding and encouragement to find it and use it.