The cleaning fee

Hello, Penny Barber, you can go online and book in March now.

One of the tougher issues of stepping out to teach yoga..is renting a space. Where to hire involves practical issues like access, space, location, landlords .. and price.

And for some, “ this feels right” aka ambience.

1970s surfer feel, summer musty smell.
“Yep $25/hour and oh there’s a cleaning fee.” Cheery, friendly kind hearted, and beyond the voice, the ocean roared. It felt this was the place to be.

So here I am clicking on email links to book 4 classes for the next fortnight before term ends. Enter in first time slot, Friday.

Look at the cost before paying … $132.
Look again, cleaning cost $80.

Okay must be monthly fee but wow, who knew yogis made that much mess.

“Hi, this Penny. I think there is an error. I’m booking for 2 weeks and cleaning cost seems a bit high at $20 a class. The rent $25 seems fine. I’m not sure about this service fee too…”

“The cleaning fee isn’t $20.”
PHEW! Thank you!

“It is $80 a session.”

“Pro rata over 4 classes”?! (hello ex accountant)

“You haven’t entered in 4 sessions, only 1 session and cleaning is $80/session, $25 for rent, rest is booking fee and tax”.

Having worked in a large organisation, one of the awesome benefits is being trained within an inch on communication, negotiation, scripts.. I settle for honesty.

Head: (@#$&!???)
Voice: “I don’t understand. I’m really confused.”

Did you know Australia has the most yoga teachers per capita than the rest of the planet? Apparently.

I would hazard a guess 80% teach on the east coast in little villages like where I am. One person coming along to a new class..wow..
$132 worth every class?!?!? Here?!?!? In 1970s musty room with a bbq tucked in corner?!?!


“Is it known as a drug lab”? quipped a friend.
“Maybe toss in yoga and become a cleaner” Says another grinning over coffee.

“So you owe for February.”
“February?! I paid February”
“For 3 sessions.. so you owe $1,300”

Head: What $#$@!@?!
Voice: “I don’t understand. I’m really confused.”

Email to all involved several hours later: $1700 = $400 rent + $980 cleaning fees + $320 in service fees and taxes. You can’t be serious surely?

The irony of course, is that I am teaching “Don’t Give An Om – weaving the calm into your day”. As I lie wide awake in the middle of the night, hyperventilating, I attempt any number of the yoga tools I had been sharing to “weave calm”. I wondered that perhaps I should have sold drugs as part of the class because nothing else seems to be working.

I get up, 4am, then lie back down on my mat.
Headphones on.
Heavy duty practice..Yoga Nidra..

Rod’s voice, dogs licking my face, finally the horror movie thoughts of bankruptcy subside.

..
Mind sleep
Body sleep
Awareness remains
..

“Of course we will review it..Some teething problems”

Cheery, friendly kind hearted, and beyond the screen, the ocean roared. This time it doesn’t feel like the place to be. It feels wobbly like balancing on one leg in eagle (garudasana) on the mat.

There it is ….
Life.
It throws things up again and again.
Learn the lesson. It isn’t the circumstances, it is my reaction that is interesting.
The practice is to be the awareness sitting and watching my freak out.
Breathe.
Watch..there is a lesson somewhere in there when I reach a place of silence.
Stillness.
Even if that means lying on my mat at 4am

“We will get back to on Monday..full reconciliation and change in fees, cleaning fee monthly..”

Shut down computer.
I go to class with my teacher and be a student again.

I drink coffee and laugh with friends.
I find a venue down the road. $25/hour flat (I asked 3 times )
Reconsider..what if I teach at home..old school..front room can fit 4 mats..
Dogs look at me in interest.
I could do my own cleaning.

I sleep, get up and go early morning dancing with friends.
Care, love, shaking off the reaction.

“Okay all fixed up. We will waiver the cleaning fee in March as you are disappointed in our processes.”

Ocean roars in the distance.

“Moving forward .. we want the space used so keeping rent $25/hour and cleaning will be $80/month. How is that for you”?

I apologise to the students.

“…Rent of $100/month + $80 cleaning fee ..”
They look around at the room, down at the floor, limbs hug to the mat midline, “What”?!

“…+ booking company’s fee of 15%…”

Eyes widen.

“..+GST 10%..
hire cost = $58/hour and it is too much.”

Student’s voices: I don’t understand. I am so confused.
Eyes survey the room again.

Krishna Das says
“The heart is like a mirror.
When we dust it off, we are able to see ourselves.
The dust is all our stuff – guilt, anger, shame – this stuff is reflected back to us.
Practice removes the dust from the mirror of our hearts”

I lock the gate across the glass door, turning towards the ocean roar. The waves roll into beach. The purple haze of dusk.

The lesson, of course, was found in saying NO.

I am not paying even though I love the students and the 1970s feel. Years of dust layering to say constantly saying yes, find the harmony, the peace, the “being in service of others” even when my body feels wobbly like garudasana on the mat.

Some of the dust shaken off over the last few weeks.
Cleaned away by the practice of sitting on the mat, watching the emotions roar. Trying to empty into silence.

Perhaps the dust is scattered across the concrete floor of the 1970s room.
Still $80 an hour? They can’t be serious. I think the silence did most of the cleaning here.

I walk to my car. Heart shining back the lessons being learned.

Behind me the Ocean roars.

Comments.

  • Denise Martin

    A well crafted and deeply personal view on yoga, coffee, bureaucracy and the breath.
    Loved that I could hear you so clearly. I read with keen interest and a smile while seeing the images you were creating.
    Enjoyable and absorbing.

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