Three For Thursday – Dorcas Quynn

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When Dorcas Quynn and I connected for her Three For Thursday, it was Thursday for me and Friday morning, 15 hours later, for her.  That’s because Dorcas lives in New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific, while owning and successfully operating a yoga studio across the world – in Frederick, MD.

During our far-ranging conversation, I learned that Dorcas is a Frederick native who, in the early 2000s, became a real estate agent to help pay off school debt. The market heated up and she soon found herself running at 100 MPH every day, just to keep up. Yoga became her refuge, and was integral to her daily life and sanity. Then one day, the studio where Dorcas practiced yoga closed down. At that time, Frederick did not have a particularly vibrant yoga scene, so Dorcas’ first thought was, “where are we going to do yoga?”

By this time, Dorcas had overcome her fear that her yoga practice would cause her to become a “vegan hippie who spews new age rhetoric and loves everyone.” As you’ve probably surmised, she answered her own question by opening Sol Yoga in 2005, as a place for Frederick yogis to gather. Dorcas got married the same year, and shortly thereafter, she and her husband Adam started their family, which now consists of three children between the ages of five and eleven. About six years ago, Adam accepted a job in New Caledonia. Dorcas jumped into what she thought was going to be an 18-month commitment. Six years later, she’s still living and raising her family in New Caledonia, while ‘commuting’ the 8500 miles back to Frederick multiple times per year. Sol Yoga has grown into a thriving yoga collective and has been named Best Yoga Studio in Frederick five years running.  

Dorcas’ Three For Thursday follow.

Stillness
As a child, I was very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that my mother thought I might have an issue. It turns out that then, as now, I just needed stillness. I did martial arts and eventually took up yoga, because I needed to find an access point to stillness. Meditation now takes me there. My key to finding stillness is clearing the space for the still, small voice inside me to be heard. I feel a strong need to look beyond the clutter and distractions of daily life. I’ve often found that space in church, even in churches of denominations other than my own. For me, out of that place of stillness comes my capacity for connection.

Vulnerability
Vulnerability is something I’ve very much had to learn, and it’s really potent. Allowing myself to take down my personal walls has been an amazing experience. To take that step into the unknown, let go of the ego, and share something I’ve never shared allows me to form the greatest human connections.

I’ve learned that being in a state of vulnerability isn’t as hard as the moment leading up to it. Every aspect of vulnerability was a great revelation to me, as I was taught the exact opposite as a child. Martial arts taught me to guard and protect. I had other childhood lessons that made clear that you hold your feelings privately and don’t share, so showing vulnerability came hard for me.

Something that is really profound is the ability to cry in front of people and to be seen in a state of complete vulnerability. It’s an extraordinary challenge with a reward that is beyond measure.  What’s also incredibly rewarding is to see another person in a state of vulnerability and to not try to fix it, just to be with it.

Listening
If I reflect on what is most nourishing to me, it’s the deep, close relationships I have, which are the result of truly listening when others speak. I consider myself to be a curious listener. The impact of that, in terms of creating close connections, is critical. I look at my kids and their relationships and see them developing listening skills that will nourish them for the rest of their lives.

One for the road. . . Purposeful work
I have a strong need to feel that what I’m doing is useful or purposeful. It could be as simple as making dinner for my family. In a broader sense, Sol Yoga is purposeful in this age of stress and disconnection. Of course, there are fine lines between work addiction, work as distraction, and having your work be your dharma. Even as a kid, I wanted to be working. It was part of my family culture. What is an unhealthy relationship with work versus the amount of work a human needs to feel that sense of meaning and purpose? That is for each of us to determine.

How about you? What are your Three For Thursday? I’m looking for people who are willing to share their life wisdom.  Please email me at bob@epi.coach if you’d like to be interviewed for a future Three For Thursday blog.

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