2016 has almost come to a close, and I’m reminded of the number of times this year that I said, please, just let this year be over. Please, can we just get to 2017 and can everything be normal again? And now I’m here, and I don’t think the old normal will happen again. And maybe that’s OK, maybe that’s what this life is all about. We have to accept change. When my husband and I wrote our wedding vows back in 2005, one of them was that we’d allow each other to change, that we’d continue to grow and not stay static. Those words have been more true this year than ever before. It’s not the change that we wanted, but it’s here, and we’re working through it.
But it’s the end of the year, almost, and I want to take a bit of time to reflect on following through on your dreams. This post is part of what I started back in April, and posted about in August, on how to find the unique you, how to follow through on who you want to be. As I described in that post, my life was flipped, quickly, after I quit my job, and all the planning, all the dreams, all the resources I’d saved were thrown out the window.
And we need to remember – that is how life goes. We can plan all we want, but things don’t work out how we want. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just life. What’s most important is learning to roll with the punches. Not to be a punching bag, no. We must stand up and fight, and keep standing up, and keep showing up. But we also have to learn to go with the flow. Be like water.
One of my teachers here in Fort Worth is Surya Barrow, owner of the beautiful Urban Yoga, and one of her teachers was Shiva Rea. In my trainings with Surya, she often described Shiva’s lessons of being like water. She’d design yoga routines all around the theories of water, encouraging us to go with the flow. I’d try. I’m not very good at that. It’s something I’ve been aware of my whole life: I’m bossy, and I like things to go my way. Hence, all the management jobs, and hence, starting my own company, and hence, teaching yoga. There’s a common theme of control, that clearly I need to pay attention to. So it’s something I’m constantly working on, and I don’t expect to conquer it by any means. Conquering is not the goal. But understanding is. And this year, I’ve had to be like water. Everything I thought would happen did not happen. And so many, many times this year, I’ve channeled Surya: just be like water.
My words this week are here because life does not go as planned. You think you have a path laid out, and shit hits the fan. But here’s where you need to pay attention: still follow that path. Still listen to your dream. Because it is still worth it. Whatever that dream is, go for it. Aside from all of the terror of 2016, I’m so incredibly thankful that I quit my job. That I stepped out on my own and did something I love. I absolutely love what I do. And it’s so, so much work. On top of the work, you’re dealing with accounting and budgets, and learning how to pitch to clients and dealing with our government provided healthcare packages and realizing that you better know what you’re doing and know it well; you have to bring it, each and every day. You can’t slack off. You have to stay on the edge, at all times. And all of those things are so scary. But believe me when I tell you, they are so worth it.
I’ve had a lot of friends say, oh, I wish I had the courage to quit and do what you’re doing, but I have a mortgage or I have kids or I have health bills or I’m the breadwinner. And I can relate to a lot of those things. Do it anyway. Your bills are going to be there no matter what. And here’s what I know in life: when you pay one bill off, you often get another one in its place. I don’t know how that happens or why life has to work that way. But for me, it always has. I had a friend at my last job who I took to lunch one day, and had to finally burst out: I’m planning on quitting soon. She was the first person I told; I needed someone to know, I needed to tell my secret. And she said?
If I were you, I’d pay my house off first.
And that’s good advice.
But don’t listen to it.
A lot of people will give you so much advice. But you have to follow what’s in your heart. You absolutely know who is inside you. You absolutely know what you want in life. You do. You just have to hunt for it. And a lot of us are lucky in that we know just what we want. We’re born driven and we go after that one thing and we succeed. And we’re totally content. I’m not that person. I question everything. It’s annoying as hell. I would love, absolutely love, to shut my eyes and go with the flow, for just a day. But I can’t do it, it’s not me, it’s not my core. And there’s a lot of people just like me out there.
If you are one of those people, and you don’t currently journal, buy a journal. A real one, not a screen. A nice one. Shop around. Spend some money on it, or don’t. But buy the one that is calling your name. You’ll know it when you see it. And buy a really nice pen too. It can be expensive, or cheap, but it needs to fit comfortably in your hand, and it needs to write well. And then create a space where you can write, alone, and know that your words will be locked, your words won’t be judged. Your words can be yours for you and you alone. And start to journal, and start to meditate, daily. For me, I light candles and sit on my meditation cushion and have my stones and oils and incense and matcha tea surrounding me. Put the things around you than inspire you, and write.
And if you’re looking for things to write about, for what questions to seek to find the true you, I’ve included my favorite resources at the end of this post. They worked for me, and I hope they inspire you, too.
And here’s something else: don’t be alone. Go out in your community. This was the hardest for me: I am such an introvert. I feel so awkward in groups. But go out, and talk to people. Be around people you trust. I spent years trying to find my true self, and really I’ll always be looking for her, because that’s just who I am. But I’m closer now than I have ever been. And the resources below, along with my yoga teacher training, got me there. So do your homework, and then get out in your community.
And one great way of going out in your community, if you live in North Texas, is to start the year attending a workshop here in Fort Worth held by Rebecca Butler at The Sanctuary Yoga Room. Rebecca holds this workshop every year, and I went last year for the first time. If you’re looking for a resource here in town to help you, I suggest going and opening a little piece of yourself for one short hour. It’s worth it. It helped me put all of my resources together. It helped me, most importantly, realize that we’re all one big community here. And so we can jump. And we can fall. And we can get back out there, because we’re supported. We are not alone. And I think that’s what most of us need to hear. Our experiences are unique, but we all share pain, and we all share loss, and we all share fears, and we all share the effects of judgement and doubt and ridicule. And by knowing that we’re a part of something bigger, we can take that first step.
So do your homework, and get out there: be among your people. Your community will support you. Believe me, I know they will.
First and foremost, Live Your Legend by Scott Dinsmore. If you do nothing else, watch his Ted talk and learn about his life. This man lived a tragically short life, but he followed his dream, and his words are incredibly powerful.
Chris Guillebeau – read his books, and download his spreadsheets, and read his blog.
Danielle LaPorte – to be honest, she drives me a bit batty. BUT her Desire Map book is good, and I can’t stop buying her annual day planners, because I can’t stop using paper. I looooove paper day planners. And hers is awesome.
Brene Brown – Daring Greatly
Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking
Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic
Susan Cain – Quiet
Chade-Mend Tan – Search Inside Yourself
Timothy Ferris – The Four Hour Workweek
Martha Beck – Finding Your Way in a Wild New World
Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Ken Robinson – Finding Your Element
Those are my faves, out of probably a hundred self help/quit your job/follow your dream type books I read over a 3-year period. I hope you enjoy.
One of my favorite current escapes is watching Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover on Netflix. I have a huge crush on Anthony Bourdain, in theory. Not the meat eating part. But the traveling/eating food/meeting new people/being true to yourself – I love that, and I admire his journey. I’m late to most TV shows but The Layover has an episode where he’s in Singapore, and he mentions that people enjoy the Singapore Peanut Pancake…and, he had me at peanuts. So, I’ve never tasted one of these authentic pancakes, and I’ve sadly never been to Singapore. Don’t say my version is authentic. But, it’s good…really good. And I imagine they taste similarly in Singapore. This. Is. Sooooo. Good. Enjoy!