Zhana & I
I first met Mikenze outside of the guesthouse we were staying at in Bali during our yoga teacher training. "I'm having the roughest day," she said. "All I need right now is a cold shower and to call my mom".
The need for a cold shower was easy to understand. It was +30 that day, and the smoldering weather was threatening to drown us in our own sticky sweat. This girl clearly just came from the airport, and if her taxi did not have air conditioning, I didn't envy her. But to call her mom? We were in the lush rice fields of Bali known for its spiritual retreats, cultural immersions, delicious food and the best market shopping. Why, instead of dropping her suitcases and running off to start her Bali adventures, did she need to call her mom so urgently?
The Fieldtrip of A Lifetime
Little did I know that Mikenze was far outside her comfort zone. Lightyears away, actually. It was her first time on a plane, her first time out of the country, her first time in a teacher training - any of these firsts would have been a lot for anyone to process, but together, they were overwhelming.
Over our 3 weeks together, I watched Mikenze continue stepping out of her comfort zone, first cautiously, then with curiosity, and finally, with excitement. It was a constant battle between doing what was easy, what was comfortable, giving up - and persevering, pushing through, trusting the universe. She would complain about missing Tim Hortons coffee, but still stubbornly taste the Bali coffee over and over again, hoping to get used to it. She would stop her yoga practice midway to avoid injuring her body, but would shake off the frustration and instead of sitting the rest of the session out, make herself available to fellow students for verbal feedback and physical adjustments. She would complain about the unbearable heat during a field trip on a day off, but would bravely admit it was all worth it after she'd had a chance to decompress. By the end of our training, something in Mikenze had changed. It's as if a new seed of self has planted itself in her, promising a new beginning if she continues to water it and expose it to sunlight. I knew that despite her previous life challenges, she had the ability to turn her life around and begin living the one she was always meant to live. The life of breaking barriers and inspiring others. The life of laughing at societal "rules" and "norms", and establishing her own. The life of endless positivity - enough to fill the world around her, and then some.
The Partner Yoga Recreation 1 Year Later
More than a year later, I am so proud to see the incredible woman, teacher, entrepreneur Mikenze has become. During the year of a global pandemic, she has founded not 1, but 2 successful businesses, and she has hustled harder than most people I know to make it happen, working 80-hour weeks, doing what she had to do. She has discovered new talents, and found new ways to use some old ones. She has persevered, she has grown, she has flourished. She now has a clear path to success, and nothing dares stand in her way.
If you haven't met Mikenze yet, you're missing out. You may come to her to learn how to do yoga or for some social media help, but you will stay for her bigger-than-life personality, her infectious laughter, her genuine excitement about life and all it can offer. One thing is certain: she is one of a kind, and anyone would be lucky to have her in their lives: as a teacher, a contractor, or simply as a friend!
Note from Mikenze - Thank you so much Zhana! I'm forever grateful for this trip, the life-changing experiences, and the life-long friends I made there! Namaste my friend! <3