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There are no wrong choices, just different paths

“The culmination of one love, one dream, one self, is the anonymous seed of the next.”

Hi friends, my favorite season of the year is finally here! Even though it’s feeling a little more like summer in Houston, there is something magical about Spring that has nothing to do with the temperature outside – life is blooming, y’all! From the trees in Memorial Park to the stunning Azaleas in River Oaks to the baby possum that have decided to make my backyard a home, there’s a creative energy pulsing all around us that I find really exciting and inspiring.

Just yesterday I noticed that my Hydrangeas were finally starting to open up and show the world a sneak peak at what they’ll look like in a few more weeks. As I stared at the new buds (giddy with delight that I have managed to keep them alive for more than one season) I thought to myself – it’s a good thing plants don’t have the capacity for self-doubt, fear, and jealousy that we humans do, or we’d never, ever get to admire their glorious beauty.

Seriously, though. If they were like us, they’d talk themselves right out of blooming and stay comfortably buried forever. I know this because countless times in my life I have been there, at the very verge of taking a leap of faith and convincing myself at the last minute that I’m not ready, that I’ll fail, or that it’s simply not worth the risk. I also know from talking to so many of you that this experience is one many of us share, so it seemed like fertile ground for this month’s newsletter (fertile ground – see what I did there?)

We all have tremendous potential within us, not only to achieve tangible goals but also to find fulfillment, purpose, and happiness. We have a tendency to self-sabotage, however, and typically we stop ourselves short of greatness for one reason: fear. Fear that we’re not good enough, fear that we’ll fail, fear of change, and fear that our efforts will ultimately not pay off…so why bother.

Today I want to focus on the last one. As a bright and evolved species, it makes sense that before moving forward we would weigh pros and cons, consider risk vs. reward, and ultimately base our decision on the ROI of our effort. Who wants to waste time pursuing dead-ends, right? The thing is, life rarely follows the nice and neat logic of mathematical equations, and when we limit ourselves to pursuing only what makes sense on paper, we limit our potential to truly live.

Why? Because every step forward, every experience, every chance we take regardless of its outcome fuels the next step, the next experience, the next opportunity.

My favorite author to quote in my classes, Mark Nepo, put it beautifully:

“There is very little difference between burying and planting. For often, we need to put dead things to rest, so that new life can grow. And further, the thing put to rest – whether it be a loved one, a dream, or a false way of seeing – becomes the fertilizer for the life about to form. As the well-used thing joins with the earth, the old love fertilizes the new; the broken dream fertilizes the dream yet conceived; the painful way of being that strapped us to the world fertilizes the freer inner stance about to unfold.”

I have shared before that it took me quite a long time to make my dream of opening a yoga studio come true. Most of that time was necessary in terms of saving money and developing a solid business plan, but I confess that throughout my journey I stalled more than once to question if I was spending my energy on the right thing. What if no-one ever read the business plan I was sweating over or took interest in the blog I was spending hours creating? What if I was just spinning my wheels with all this prep work and nothing ever came out of it?

Turns out that every step I took forward towards Yogaleena paid off in more ways than I could have imagined. For instance, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program solely to check the box, to get the certificate I needed to teach. Through that experience, however, I gained valuable insight into the Houston yoga scene, made friends who became Yogaleena teachers, and learned best practices for one day launching my own teacher training program (coming Fall 2017, wink wink!) A few months before signing the lease on our studio space, I paid way too much money to attend a self-development course I hoped would further prepare me for entrepreneurship. It really wasn’t my cup of tea, but my time and money were not wasted. That program is where I met Frances and Alexandra, two souls I have relied on heavily over the last year to get Yogaleena up and running. And on a greater scale, it’s tempting to think I took too long to leave Corporate America spending energy on something I wasn’t passionate about. But the truth is, every one of the 9 years I worked at ExxonMobil prepared me for what I am doing now. The people I met, the places I traveled, the roles I liked, and especially the roles I didn’t like, all fertilized the ground on which my business sits on today.

Yoga, a practice that’s founded on the concept of detachment, can help us get used to this idea of doing something for the sake of the experience, not the end result. Every wobbly standing balancing pose leads to a sturdier one, every face-plant in crow pose re-calibrates your body’s center of gravity, and every breath spent in meditation gets you closer to a clearer, more enlightened mind.

Off the mat, I invite each of you to boldly take the next step in your journey and consider that you are not only working to achieve a specific result that may or may not be worthwhile, but planting the seeds of your future one at a time. And when fear starts creeping in, remember that there are no wrong choices, just different paths towards fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

“For every new way of being, there is a failed attempt mulching beneath the tongue. For every sprig that breaks surface, there is an old stick stirring underground. For every moment of joy sprouting, there is a new moment of struggle taking root.” -Mark Nepo


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