Stranger 84, Day 84 – Meet Chawanis, the “Woman Finding Flexibility”

Stranger 84, Day 84 - Meet Chawanis

I met today’s Stranger before yoga class. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling like meeting someone today after learning I had lost my wallet this afternoon. No clue where it is, sadly. So I was in a rather… unhappy mood. There wasn’t anything else I could do about my now-lost wallet. However, I set myself a challenge to meet 100 Strangers in 100 Days, and today’s Stranger was super friendly and smiling. When you meet someone like her, you find a happy place to keep charging ahead.

Meet Chawanis, 37

She had to think a little bit on her age. We laugh about this.

Who are you?

“I am a wife — 12 years. I’m a mom to two fur babies — two German shepherd mixes. I am a therapist focusing on substance abuse and mental health issues. I have a private practice in Conyers.” Then, she stops. “Actually, you asked me who am I, not what I do.”

“I am a therapist, but that’s what I do. I try to live intentionally and authentically every day. I’m a yoga student here at Infinity at the YTT program. More?” (YTT = yoga teacher in training)

“Yeah, I am, sometimes, introverted — most times introverted. But, I can have a lovely personality, as well. I say that I am a therapist even though that’s my 9-5 job, but really, I counsel people on so many ways throughout my day-to-day contacts in life. So, I think that’s part of me — a gift. You know, that I’ve been given this, so I try to help people in whatever capacity that I can.”

You mention that you try to live your day as authentically as possible. What does that mean for you? How do you do that?

“By being true to myself, my own desires, not hiding behind a mask to prevent people from seeing my imperfections. I’m true to myself. I’m honest about how I feel, and what my thoughts are. I try to consider other people as they are searching for their truths — some knowingly, some unknowingly. So, I try to be sensitive to that. The only way I can be sensitive to that is by being more in tune with who I am. Who I was originally created to be.”

You talk about embracing some of your imperfections. I’m curious what’s an imperfection that you’re proud of?

“An imperfection that I’m proud of…” she sighs and thinks. “That’s a good question, Daryl”.

Chawanis starts, “I guess… I’m structured.” She elongates the word “structured” like she’s unsure of saying it before adding, “If I said rigidity, I wouldn’t be proud of that, so I reframe it as being structured,” she laughs.

“I like things to be done a certain way, and I work hard to get things done, but I’m trying to learn how to be more flexible, and there’s more than one way to get things done. But I’m pretty proud of being structured because it adds value to my life. I just don’t want to be so structured that I am rigid that I miss a lot of opportunities to advance myself or connect with people. You know, make a difference.”

Has there been something recently you’ve been pretty structured before, and then you caught yourself to be more flexible? If so, what was that?

“So, there was an opportunity to make some changes in my practice as far as how I facilitate classes.” She mentions how she facilitates anger management classes.

“There’s a way I did the anger management class, and I wanted it to be done that way. But my facilitator had ideas about how to do it. Initially, I resisted, but then, I said, ‘okay, as long as it still provides structure to what we’re doing, and it’s going to help to advance what we’re doing, then I should be more flexible in that’. So, took a deep sigh, relinquished control, and allowed him to begin to implement that practice, and I think it’s going to work!”

One of the other things you started off saying was that you’re married — 12 years. Congrats! How’d you guys meet?

“In high school. Our senior year in high school. He’s an introvert. One of his friends introduced us in the cafeteria. It was the second semester of high school, so dated for a little while and all through summer. Then, we separated — went to different colleges. Broke up the following summer. Six years later, got back together, and soon after, got married.”

That’s awesome. Is he structured as well?

“No.” She answered that really fast and laughed.

So how do you guys complement each other?

“We have learned how to accept each other for who we are and what we bring to the table. In areas he thinks he needs more structure, I think he’ll ask first. Sometimes, he just is. I think those moments where he resists when maybe I’m being overbearing with my structure. But, he’s taught me a lot about flexibility and being open to change. Because I’ve been open today, it is really has helped me a lot.”

What motivates you to do what you do to try to make the world a better place? (Thanks to Virginia, Stranger 83)

“What motivates me to do what I do to try to make the world a better place…”

“Realizing that everybody is facing something. Everybody has some challenge they have to face. Knowing I can make a small impact by helping someone address that challenge or attack that challenge. That, and knowing that they may be open and receptive to that, then that keeps me going. That helps to make me feel like I’m making a difference.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“Have you done anything today that will bring you closer to your purpose in life?”

… and if so, what was it?

“Yes! And if so, what was it,” she laughs.

After the handshake.

For the several minutes Chawanis shared with me her story, and had that beaming smile, I forgot all about my unfortunate wallet. We talked, and I was interested more about her desire to help others, her relationship with her husband, and how she balanced her structure with flexibility. She was, as I said, super friendly, and was happy to not only share her story, but to learn about the journey I’ve now been on for 84 days. Sure, it’s now been several hours since we met. However, I’m recalling her happiness, and it’s able to remind me that there’s not much I can do about my wallet, but there’s people and things beyond this. (Not that this is that dire.)

Chawanis’ personality and openness to speak brings up a salient point. Especially given her response to Virginia’s (Stranger 83) question, and how Chawanis mentioned that everybody is facing some challenge. Today, I was facing a little dilemma, and her spirit gave me the repreieve and positivity to move on. How applicable and serendipitous, then, was our meeting.

Meet Chawanis. No longer a Stranger.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *