Turn Your Mess Into Your Message

I believe in tiny revolutions. I believe in our ability to change ourselves, and in the process, create high-vibrational ripples in our corners of the world. Whatever our situation, whatever our challenges. And so, as I navigate the challenging day-to-day of single-parenthood, I remind myself the words a wise woman once proclaimed: “turn your mess into your message.”

Single motherhood has been all kinds of messy. While part of me often yearns for the stability that a two-income household seems to provide, I feel like this experience is whipping me into financial shape. It’s bitter medicine, and yet, I feel like it’s healing some deep ancestral wounds. Thing is, even though I’m still month-to-month’ing it, I get to revel in the sweet taste of freedom that comes with resourcefulness and self-sufficiency.

My co-parenting experience also started off as a gigantic mess. Ours was a brief, yet powerful love affair that resulted in the birth of our incredible son. Just as quickly as we fell in love, we fell out of it, and suddenly found ourselves navigating the muddy waters of a breakup a mere three months after the baby was born. Ultimately, what snapped me out of my broken-hearted stupor was the realization that we were given a blank canvas: we were now free to create a healthy co-parenting relationship. I began to focus on the love that exists between my child and his father; I began to fall in love with their love for one another.

There is a scene from the movie Frida (starring Salma Hayek) that rubbed off on my soul: that of the two separate houses, one belonging to her and the other to her husband, connected by a bridge. The bridge was meant to symbolize their love. After our separation, we moved out of the house we were sharing, and magically found a living situation that allows us to live a stone throw’s away from one another (with our love-child being the metaphorical bridge that keeps us connected). In the most radical of ways, we are a living, breathing tiny revolution: we have redefined for ourselves what it means to raise a child in such close proximity while maintaining completely separate lives. Thriving in our separate ways.

And this tiny revolution is continuing to evolve.

Since redefining the relationship, giving room for individual growth, and in essence, creating separate yet intertwined lives, we are now gifting our child with what I believe to be a rare and powerful experience. Our little one is now witnessing us as we pursue what we feel most called to do. He’s watching his dada run kitchens, cater events and cook intentional food; and he’s watching me launch myself into the one thing I’ve devoted a good chunk of my life to: hot yoga.

Backtrack to 2006: I was Japan-bound after graduating from Queens College and receiving a fellowship from Princeton-in-Asia. Things took a turn, though, as they often do. A family friend came back into my life, and invited me to come out to London. Convinced me, actually: “Japan? No, come to Britain!” So I did. Without any agenda other than to keep an open mind, I bought a one-way and took up residence in Fulham.

About two weeks into my new adventure, I sprained my ankle and became bedridden. I kid you not: there I was, with my foot propped up on a mountain of pillows, watching the gorgeous summer days roll by my window, reading Crime and Punishment, wondering if I’d made the right decision to move there, and overall clueless as to what to do next with my life.

It was around this time that I decided to google a local yoga studio, and Hot Yoga Bikram Fulham popped up first on the search list. Their website beckoned: New students! 10 pounds for 10 days! I hobbled my way over, paid the 10 quid, completely unaware that by doing so, my life would take a definitive turn.

I ended up getting my £10’s worth. I showed up every day for 10 days. My ankle healed quickly, and even better, I began to feel like I’ve never felt before. The 10 days turned into a 30-day challenge. By the end of the 30-day challenge, I was hooked, I was curious, I was hungry, and I wanted to know more. So I took the plunge and enrolled in teacher training.

Since then, I’ve been chasing hot yoga around the world, meeting incredible people, and deepening my understanding of the practice. This wild, hot practice has shown me that it’s possible to age with a healthy spine, body, and mind; surrounded by a loving community. And now, having finally found a place to set down roots (and firmly believing in tiny revolutions), I have set into motion the creation of a hot yoga studio in Turners Falls. In all honesty, it feels like I am pregnant all over again.

But if motherhood has taught me anything, it is to love the messes and figure out how to reframe them into my message. A message of power, hope, love, magic and tiny revolutions that I can weave into bedtime stories for my little one.


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.