Yoga and Career: When to Stick It Out, When to Jump Ship

06/30/2015 02:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2016

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -- Mary Oliver

In my quest for living the present moment to the best of my ability, I have been choosing to stay with difficult situations longer when in the past I would have left. Many times, this has been the right answer, like when I stayed with my boyfriend (now husband) after I said I love you and he didn't say it back for a while. Or when I chose not to apply for a higher level job that looked good on paper but didn't feel right in my gut.

Yet there are other times, when staying doesn't always end up being the right answer. I stayed with my challenging Ashtanga practice for a long while after my body was telling me it was too much for me. I wanted to discover whether the voice I heard telling me to go was just afraid of going deeper, or whether it was an authentic voice leading me in a different direction. Now that I've left, and dealt with the fear and uncertainty that changing yoga paths brought with it, I am so clear that this was the right move. It feels good in every inch of my body, and I trust that my new teachers and my new practice support me in every way.

In comes career -- when do we stay, when do we go? To what extent do we just show up, be of service, and let everything else be in the background? When do we listen to the voice that tells us that something is not right? Last week, I began to get a sense of the answer. After a challenging few months, it was down to crunch time, and I absolutely lost it. I was crying while trying to meet a 3 p.m. deadline, and my heart kept telling me to just walk out. In this moment I knew that while I can certainly stay here, be present for it, be of service, and do the best I can in each moment, there is a higher calling that I need to listen to, even if it's scary, unconventional, unclear, and in opposition to the views of those I care about.

Ultimately, this is our one and only precious life. And while being in the present moment is the pathway to profound peace, purpose and wellbeing, the present moment will also bring with it information about where we need to go next. At times, we may not want to listen to this wisdom. We may want to hide in the guise of doing spiritual work and not taking the action that is needed to live truly self-actualized lives. But if we remain committed to mindfulness practice, the calling will keep on getting louder until we have no choice but to listen.

At this point, it is best to surrender. Trust that there is a Universal wisdom, a natural flow to life that we can feel held and supported by. Tune in to the whispers of your heart, surround yourself with those who have followed their higher calling and survived to tell the tale, and jump right in.