You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself - without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat.
Making room for something new nearly almost requires saying goodbye. Whether an old job, relationship, or city, we often must let go of something to create room in our lives for the new. This principle is obvious - and sometimes easier to embrace - when we find ourselves trapped in a dead-end job, toxic relationship, or community at odds with our values or desires, but sometimes we must bid farewell to something good to make room for something better.
Earlier this month I bid farewell to a great job. I said goodbye to colleagues whose company I enjoy, a boss I respect deeply, and work I find interesting. As I prepared for my last day I second-guessed my decision: why on earth would I walk away from an inarguably great situation to enter something not only unfamiliar, but also undefined. My internal rational list-maker insisted this was a very bad idea. Saying goodbye to certainty and an identity I held dear for more than a decade made no sense. But an even louder voice giggled that the uncertainty, the lack of definition was precisely the point: I was creating margin that would enable me to dive more deeply into things that bring me joy.
My one small step brought me one giant leap outside my comfort zone, and the work of becoming comfortable with uncertainty has begun. For the first time in a long time I am operating without a map and rediscovering how to enjoy the journey.
What do you need to let go of to create margin in your life? How can you find room for something great? Let the adventure begin...
The second profile in our Trailblazers series is a woman who is inspiring a new generation of leaders through her work as a pastor, author, speaker, and friend. Heather Zempel has provided counsel and encouragement in the difficult seasons of my life, challenged my perceptions of what it means to follow Christ, and inspired me to embrace life and learning as the gifts they are.
Heather's journey from a theater-loving engineering student to Capitol Hill staffer to pastor shatters the conventional wisdom about linear career paths, and her passion for exploring theology of fun creates endless content for some of the most engaging messages you will ever hear.
Read on for the story of her New Beginning...
While leading a yoga teacher training this weekend, our studio's founder and creative director stopped by to offer a word of encouragement to the teachers in training. She referenced a quote by Marianne Williamson I have used again and again to remind my students - and myself - that we all have been given a gift , and it is our work to uncover that gift and share it.
What part of yourself can you share with the world today? How can you give others permission to shine?
The weather in Washington has been rather erratic so far in 2014 - swinging from sun-filled 50 degree afternoons to frigid, snowy mornings. Such drastic fluctuations can leave even the most grounded among us feeling unsettled. While the weather (and so much of life!) remains beyond our control, we can tap into the power of our breath to help find a sense of stability.
Among the most basic breathing exercises in yoga is the three part breath (dirga pranayama). This straightforward practice is a wonderful way to bring your awareness to the present moment and calm your mind.
To begin, find a comfortable posture in which your spine is straight and your abdomen is not compressed. You can sit upright on the floor or in a straight-backed chair in which your feet comfortably reach the floor. Alternatively, you can lie on your back.
Close your eyes, and relax your face and body. Place one hand below your belly button and the other hand on your ribcage. Take a few deep breaths through your nose and notice what moves (or doesn't move) as you breathe in and out. After a few breaths, you may begin to feel your belly expand on your inhale, and soften as you exhale. If this does not occur naturally, focus on sending the air all the way down to the belly, filling it with air like a balloon. As this becomes comfortable, practice using your inhale to fill up your belly and ribcage. Finally, use your inhale to fill up your belly, ribcage, and chest.
Use your exhale to achieve the opposite effect: breathing out to deflate your chest, ribs, and belly. Continue to repeat this pattern: inhale - filling belly, ribs, and chest; and exhale - emptying chest, ribs, and belly. Breathe at your own pace, allowing the pattern to become seamless, for one to five minutes. If you continue to work with this exercise, you may be able to remove your hands and focus entirely on the breath, but you will reap the benefits either way.
Give it a try next time the weather shifts or you find yourself facing a challenging situation at work or home. Can you transform your experience of a frenetic day by finding a moment of stillness? Share your experience in the comments below.
At the beginning of each new year, a dear friend chooses a “theme” rather than a resolution. Ranging from The Year of Adventure to The Year of Saying No, the theme she chooses sets the tone for the year’s goals and how she wants to grow. Taking her lead, I have determined 2014 will be The Year of Imperfection.
I know I am not alone in finding myself paralyzed by the pursuit of perfection. How often have you labored over a simple email before sending – spending an inordinate amount of time analyzing the tone, context, and grammar of a message that will be digested and discarded within seconds? How many times have you decided not to try a new activity because you were afraid you wouldn't get it right or end up looking downright foolish?
While putting our best foot forward is admirable, we too often allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good – and in the process miss opportunities for growth and joy.
What would it look like to embrace imperfection? How good would it feel to silence the critical voices in our heads that hold us back? The new year provides a great opportunity to try a fresh approach, and I invite you to join me in this grand experiment.
New Beginnings is a work in progress. If you see room for improvement, let me know!
How will you embrace the freedom of imperfection? How can we help?
Each year, the teaching team at our yoga studio comes together to reflect on the past year, brainstorm and share best practices for improvement in the year ahead, and pause to reconnect as friends and colleagues.
In perhaps my favorite part of this annual gathering, each teacher takes a moment to publicly recognize and thank a fellow teacher. The reasons are myriad - one teacher thanked a colleague who brought him meals while he was recovering from an injury, another teacher thanked a colleague for offering a kind word of encouragement right when she needed it - but the results are the same: through each act of public gratitude, the recipient, the giver, and the community are blessed.
In preparing for the gathering, I enjoy thinking through the year and the many great people on our team. I recall conversations, classes, and lessons learned and inevitably end up with a heart full of gratitude for gestures small and large. As we listen to one another, we collectively benefit from each others' kindnesses, and the benefits of even small gestures are multiplied.
If we can find something for which to be grateful - no matter how small - we can brighten our own day. By sharing our thanks with the person responsible, we can improve theirs, as well. What can you be grateful for today? With whom can you share your appreciation?
One of my primary motivations in starting this blog was the desire to share the stories of women and men who have taken bold steps to create the life they love. We learn so much through the example of others, and it can often provide the impetus we need to move forward toward our own goals and dreams. I have been blessed with friends, mentors, and teachers whose lives and actions have inspired me, and I hope they can do the same for you.
I am honored to introduce you to Mary Catherine Starr, who is the subject of the inaugural New Beginnings Trailblazer Profile. Mary Catherine, or M.C. as I came to know her, is an incredibly talented artist, teacher, blogger, and all-around inspiring soul. Read on for the story of her New Beginning...
As we seek to translate our dreams into reality, we must take ownership and action. What are you dreaming about this year? What is your deadline?