I recently saw a video of Asthanga teacher Richard Freeman on how yoga ruins your life. The phrase that stood out for me was that it will ruin your career. Last week, I allowed my mindfulness and yoga practice to do just that. I pulled out of a management interview (I had been selected as one of five from over 100 applicants). My brain was screaming as I did this, and it still is, although less loudly (I did have a dream about it last night though). It's saying: What are you doing? You could do that job! You are smart enough! You can do more! Go go go! Do more! Achieve more! Be the BEST!
For the first time, I am not listening to this loud voice. I am listening to the quiet one. The one I've been cultivating over the past eight years in my yoga and mindfulness practice. The shy one that says your life is already wonderful. You are already doing your best. It is enough to be present in your life, to have space for the things you love, to breathe, to end the chase. Sure you can do more, but what will you be giving up in the process? Is it worth it?
Looking back on my life, striving for more was something that was ingrained upon me from the time I was born. When I brought a drawing of a girl home from school that I thought was BEAUTIFUL, my mom said her arms were too short. When I did a dance performance with my friends for fun that I LOVED, my uncle laughed and said I'll always be a little awkward. When I told my dad that my friend had a better singing voice, secretly hoping he would tell me my voice was beautiful (as I thought it was), he said hers was a different level altogether. I will bet there were also times when people told me I was doing well, but I think most focused on my good grades, my intellect, my efforts to achieve more.
So in learning to constantly push to be the best, I left behind the things I loved most. Singing. Dancing. Spending time with friends. Just enjoying life without an agenda. As I deepen my practice of being present in the moment, I see how beautiful life is just as it is. Without anything added. Suddenly the pull of being more, doing more, feeling insufficient is no longer appealing. While I will continue pursuing my passions, I will live from my heart, sharing what is right and true for me in each moment. I have let go of the grand plan, I no longer believe I need to climb to the next stage just because that is what is done, and I no longer feel that I will be a better person for it.
I am already enough, in this job, in this life, in this body. My only desire is to express this deep love for life and help others realize that they, too, are enough just as they are. So maybe yoga ruined my career. But it was worth it.