Changing your work-life to welcome more freedom and fulfillment is a process and a journey. Here, every month, we will share stories of women who are doing it. Real stories, real transformation. This is a virtual treasure chest -- full of the challenges, struggles, lessons and insights of others -- which you can use to enrich your own path.
This month’s featured “woman on purpose” is Julie Moksim, a former financial pricing analyst in Boston, who moved on to pursue her love for yoga by becoming a teacher and creating a yoga co-op in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang in Laos, which has grown into a thriving community of global teachers and students alike. She currently splits her time between Laos, where she runs both the co-op and a burgeoning yoga retreat business, and Myanmar, where she can be found teaching the occasional drop-in class and looking into new business ventures.
Describe the big shift you’ve made in your work-life. What led you to that change?
The shift in my work life was a major shift in life in general. I went from living in Boston for 13 years, working a nine-to-five job (or in my case a 10-to-late job) for a large corporation, to traveling the world for a year and finally moving to a small village, unheard of by many (although it is slowly gaining more notoriety) and working for myself. I went from working “to make a living” to working “to make a life;” from being disconnected to the purpose of my days, to being fully connected to purpose of my life. Some days, I work long hours. Some days are at leisure. But the biggest difference is that I care about what I do and that I’m proud of what I do.
Several factors were responsible for the change. The main one was that I just wasn’t happy anymore in a life that just felt repetitive day by day. I had also grown up my whole life in different countries such as Indonesia, Egypt and India, and after living in Boston for 13 years, I just felt simply disconnected from the global community. This global community beckoned me “home.” Home into a world where tomorrow holds unknown adventures, today always delivers fulfilling interaction and yesterday is full of memories that make you laugh and cry. One can argue that someone living in a suburb with a house and family can say the same about their life and I would say absolutely! But everyone has to find that place or space where this is how they feel about their lives, and for me, it meant reconnecting to the world again and doing something with my life that would also help other people feel that way about their lives.
What were you most fearful of in making that change?
I was more fearful of what would happen if I didn’t make the change than making the change. I had to make the change. It no longer became a choice. If I stayed, I would have lost myself completely. Some days I felt like I was walking in someone else’s body, through someone else’s life. I remember clearly one day, after coming off of a chairlift at a ski resort and looking down at the mountain below and thinking, “I am happy. I am smiling. The sun is shining. I am with my friends. I am happy,” but also thinking, “But why can’t I FEEL it?” In my head I logically went through the motions of being happy, but it was as if I was looking at someone else. And deep down inside, I knew I had to make the change.
How is your experience of life different now?
I really feel like I’m making a difference not only in my life, but also in other people’s lives. I have more time for people. I have the time to connect to people I already know and to strangers alike. I inspire and likewise I am constantly being inspired by people I meet on a daily basis. There’s a constant exchange of positive energy, positive thoughts, ideas, hope, love, a desire for the best for everyone. I am mostly present. My heart is open, my arms are open wide. I see the good in everything. I have hope. I am content.
What’s your biggest concern in this moment?
I try not to worry about things too much as I truly believe that life has a way of sorting itself out. In this moment, as I’m answering this questions, my biggest concern is whether I’ll get my visa to Myanmar next week ;-)
What are you most excited about going forward?
I have met so many inspiring people over the past few years. Together, we will do great things! This I am most excited about!
If you could travel back in time, what’s one piece of advice that your current self wishes that you could tell your former self?
If I could go back in time, I would tell my former self to stop worrying so much.
About Julie Moksim
Julie Moksim is a yoga teacher, adventurer, and creative force behind Luang Prabang Yoga, a yoga co-op that has put Luang Prabang, Laos, on the map as a yoga destination. She runs monthly yoga retreats and immersions in the remote village of Nong Khiaw in the north of Laos. Her approach is holistic as she reaches out to students that are interested in all aspects of yoga from philosophy, to breathing, meditation and the physical postures. She aspires teach yoga to improve the lives others. Her retreat schedule can be found at http://www.LaosYogaRetreats.com. Outside of her retreat schedule, Julie can be found teaching classes in Yangon, Myanmar, or adventuring around the world.