This is me: Tej Thompson, female, born sometime in the 60’s
My journey in life has taken me full circle. Except the circle is more like a spiral: back where I started, but a little higher up.
I graduated from college with two degrees: one in Art, one in Human Services. My first job out of school (after a summer as a camp counsellor for 42 kids bussing and backpacking cross-country for eight weeks) was as a social worker in inner city Boston. I didn’t last there very long, it wasn’t a good fit for me.
So I wandered awhile, living in Boston, then Chicago for awhile, and then San Francisco. (Living in San Francisco, for just under five years, was a both a highlight and pivotal experience in my life) before moving east in 1989, to Charleston, SC. *
I started a little jewelry business around that time, called Bead Different. It only lasted a few years. I got as far as setting up at the trade shows in Atlanta and establishing accounts, but found the repetitive work of filling orders wasn’t giving me either the inner fulfillment or the financial incentive to keep going. I had creative blocks, inspirational blocks, and lost all motivation. I told my self I couldn’t compete with China.
So after a few years of doing temp work, I enrolled in massage school. Thought I’d use my hands for a different kind of purpose. Upon graduation, I went away for a month long program to the Satchidananda Yoga Ashram in Virginia, to get certified to teach beginner Hatha Yoga. That was 1998 when I started teaching yoga. (It’s kind of like social work, in a way.) I went back there two more times, for a certification in Cardiac Yoga (a one week program), then a certification to teach Intermediate Hatha Yoga (a two week program). In 2002, I went to Nosara, Costa Rica for an Advanced Yoga certification (a three week program), and then to India in 2004 (for a month long program), to get certified in Kundalini Yoga. During those years I opened a yoga studio in Mt. Pleasant called Studio Bliss Yoga & Massage, complete with a full schedule of classes, ten or so teachers, massage therapists, a newsletter, workshops with guest teachers, and a small retail boutique. When the real estate market started to boom, my landlord decided to raise the rent by 50%, which made it impossible for me to continue. But I kept teaching… for 15 years I worked as a yoga teacher and massage therapist. And still do, private and part time.
In 2010 I decided I wanted to see what using prayer beads in my meditation practice would be like. I remembered I had a box of beads stashed in the back of a closet. Opening that box was like opening Pandora’s box, but in a good way. That was what got me back into the jewelry. I started making prayer beads, and offering workshops teaching people how to make their own prayer beads… and that was just the beginning.
The flood gates had opened. I swear, all those years of doing yoga and meditation… I know it sounds woo-woo, but I really experienced the yoga clearing and balancing my chakras (energy centers), my psyche, and eliminating a lot of toxic baggage.
I had so many ideas coming through! I was dreaming ideas while asleep and while awake. And I just decided to follow my bliss. Trust the process, see where it would take me.
So here I am, with this still strong passion and commitment… the creative flow feels bottomless, and I want to do more. Like work in gold. I want to work at Tiffany’s. Have you ever seen their videos? The one with all the stones… all the stones in the world you could possibly want to make things with… all spread out before you. What a visual! Big dreams.
And that’s just one of many.