Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

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It’s Hard to Say Good-bye


It’s Hard to Say Good-bye

By Stephanie Long

(This is a two-part guest post from my other business’ blog,  dharma. The Institute for Awakened Living. The first part is a letter written by Stephanie Long. The second part is a written response from Emily Brown and myself. )

Change is in the air for us at dharma. It’s actually in the air for all of us, all the time. It is – as they say – the only guarantee in life other than like death and taxes.

This particular change centers around my decision to leave the business trio that Jess and Emily and I created about one year ago, but that has really been in development over the past 6 years. I’m being called in a new direction – one that asks me to step back from this endeavor and into my own big D Dharma.

This particular change is really REALLY hard. I LOVE these women. They are not like family; no, they are the most formative and influential members of my intentionally created spiritual family. When I am with them, I’m home. Our years developing and teaching our yoga teacher training program together, the space we have held for one another through difficult times, the growth we have encouraged in each other… Though I will try to find words to express the gratitude I hold for these people – my dear teachers, colleagues, and most of all best friends – I’m afraid my efforts will ultimately fail to capture it in its entirety. I’ve been lucky on a ridiculous, absurd level with this one. Two women who know me. They know me! They sometimes seem to know me better than I know me, which then helps me to know me better. We have created a relationship in which we are so dedicated to the evolution of one another that we do not let each other off the hook when we sense that there is more to learn. It is courageous love. I’m so grateful their support even through this decision that affects the two of them directly.

Over the last summer, we began to pull into our conversations a lot of elements of the Hero’s Journey – the common story arc that Joseph Campbell identifiers in all great myths and stories of transformation and spiritual growth. A hallmark of this journey is leaving home and going it alone. One must – at some point – head into the deep, dark woods, following the path that has not been forged by another. It is frightening. There is resistance. And yet, I know this is my journey at this time. I am called to go.

And so, I ask the parts of me who carry my fear, uncertainty, confusion, FOMO, deep love and gratitude for Emily and Jess and for all the students of present and past YTTs, and all the rest to pack up and come along. We are going on a journey.

I wish you all a blessed journey of your own.

So much love and deep gratitude,


Saying goodbye is hard. It’s confusing and heart wrenching when we are asked to let go of something that has been such a gift, a joy, and a pillar in life. Creating and running the yoga teacher training with Steph, for the last six years, has been just that. Our time together is so much more than just a job. Our work and this yoga teacher training have impacted and shaped the way we live our lives. It has influenced our perspective on community and relationship––how to build it, grow it, maintain and nurture it, and how to stay in it even when it’s uncomfortable and exposing. Then, sometimes, when the time it right, we are asked to let each other fly. To step back, release the hands to which you have been holding together for years, and watch something new be born. The experience it both thrilling and painful.

Steph has been a great gift to our teaching trio. She has brought waves of creativity and inspiration, confidence, and also much needed humor and lightheartedness to our trio. To say our love runs deep would be a gross understatement, but there are many things in life that can’t be expressed in words. It might seem strange from the outside––Steph’s not moving away, there is no big scandal or misunderstandings between us. We will all still hang out and text almost daily. But, something bigger has been whispering to Steph.

Our yoga teacher training focuses on Dharma––finding your soul’s path, living life awake. When any of us begin our journey of awakening, we have found, Dharma usually has something up its sleeve different than what we have planned! Staying comfortable and cozy or living from habit isn’t really Dharma’s thing. And so, just as we teach and encourage others to live from a place of courage and willingness to engage in this journey of life, we ourselves must respond to the call, even though we wonder why and sometimes try to reason (or argue) with this great inner force.

Dharma has called Steph down another path and it is with hearts exploding in gratitude that we bow our heads, kiss her cheek, and wish her all the best on her next wild ride. We love you beyond expression.

And, our yoga teacher training goes on. Jess and Emily will take over the role of primary teachers and we will offer ONE MORE YEAR of the dharma. Integrative Yoga Teacher Training in its original eight-month format based out of Blossom Yoga Studio in Laramie.  Steph will be around to teach some modules and to help us all ease into this transition.

The final year of our signature program begins in August and registration is now open! Buyers beware: big D Dharma will take you on the greatest journey that is your life and down paths that are almost always unexpected!

With ALL our LOVE,

Jess & Emily

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