Updated: Nov 10, 2021
I want to be really honest about something. When I changed my career to be a yoga teacher my income almost halved (literally…like just under half of it gone). I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. To me at least, it was worth it. I believe in what I do.
Quitting my very nicely paying, cushy permanent public service job was not realistic. Telling my parents, I was “throwing away” the last 5 ½ years of university and consequent work as a town planner to become…a yoga teacher…certainly wasn’t ‘realistic’. It wasn’t financially practical, it wasn’t a stable steady income, it didn’t flow on from my design degree. Quite frankly, it just did not make sense to most people. To this day my grandmother just can’t understand why.
Yet I quit my town planner life (and the money with it), and now work as a yoga teacher and retail assistant selling yoga pants. I’m back at the beginning and that is both terrifying and so exciting. Building my yoga business and personal brand identity is something which truly gets me out of bed in the morning. I feel a sense of purpose. I feel like I am living in dharma (true life path). That’s fucking scary exhilarating.
Last month I wrote about the yogic concept of tapas; in essence, dedication to your pursuit. What, however, are we pursuing? Is it our pursuit, or has it sort of happened to us without us really even paying attention? This is: working up the ladder of the company you fell into when you were younger simply because it’s where you’ve been all these years and what you know. This is: sticking in the same industry because you’ve trained yourself in it even though you know it doesn’t fill you with any true sense of meaning. This is: squashing the intuition inside you saying to pick the other option so that you can be comfortable selecting the job which has better job security.
dictionary.com defines warrior as: a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness. It could be harsh, unrealistic even, but I believe if your pursuit doesn’t take courage, then it doesn’t truly mean much to you. (Either that or you’ve meditated so much that you’ve left third dimensional pursuits entirely 😉).
I think there’s a great irony in the human tendency to tear someone down, belittle an idea or unknowingly suggest someone back into the brilliantly safe cardboard box of ‘being realistic’ when that person courageously shares an idea that inspires something great in themselves. Yet, when that person eventually succeeds in their endeavour, we change our tune. We glorify them, celebrate them and call them way-showers and pioneers.
Was Freddie Mercury being ‘realistic’, keeping it safe and following his father’s expectations for a preferred career? I doubt Rosa Parks was thinking about her ‘realistic chances’ on that bus in 1955. We all aspire to be these gamechangers and yet for the most part we straddle the saddle and ride our way through lives we simply don’t really like. We make comfortable choices away from what we truly desire.
Some of us grew up around people who didn’t play it safe. I am not one of those people and for my whole life the vast majority of those around me have advised me to take the tried and tested path. It’s normal. They did it. Their parents probably did it too. Mediocrity is comfortable, doable and totally acceptable. This could be fine for some people…unless your inner guidance tells you it’s not. If you’re still reading I’m betting that it’s not fine for you.
This isn’t another blog article telling you to ditch the negative people in your life because that is something we know already. The purpose of this section is to acknowledge that often it’s almost everyone around us (family, friends and community) pushing mediocrity on us. However, just because they prefer to stay comfortable in the status quo doesn’t mean you have to listen. What if you know you are more than that?
The way I see it, there are two types of people when it comes to ‘being realistic’. The first is those who accept mediocrity, or have done so in the past and are now awake and aware of it. The second are those that do it blindly without knowing they’re doing it at all. The good news is that by noticing the tendency in our own behaviour we are on the pathway to start overcoming it. So, which type are you?
I have focussed heavily on career as examples in this article but we choose soul-destroying realistic in so many ways. Some of us choose convenient relationships because we’ve been in them and they’re working “well enough”. If you’re self-aware then you will already know in what areas you have chosen the utterly safe path because it’s likely the area where a little niggling inner voice knows that each day you walk further down this path it’s not serving you.
Once we are aware, we can take action. It is now that we start listening to the higher voice, the one that sits over the monkey mind and lies somewhere deeper within. Intuition. It doesn’t have to be chucking your job in and choosing a new career (although it could be). As a start, when that next choice arises, I invite you to push past ‘realistic’. Overcome “oh but what if this happens” and instead honour what you truly desire. It requires the bravery to look glaringly into our own BS and truly be honest with our self. Chances are it’s going to be terrifying as all shit and it’s likely the route may not be as easy straight away. That’s where the inner warrior comes in though. Do it anyway.
If you're wondering how to create space between your self and your BS thoughts. Read: How to stop listening to your BS thoughts.
Namaste for now,