It is better to do what you were meant to do poorly, then to do something else, well.
Listen to your gut*. Be willing to take risk. The two key ingredients needed not only to fully enjoy life but also to live the most flourishing, purposeful life possible to you.
*Gut- In this context your “gut” can mean many things… your higher power, your inner voice, your intuition… you know… your gut. It is the voice that points us towards our dharma.
Imagine a baby bird approaching the edge of its nest for the first time. Does it experience a fear of the unknown? To the baby bird the nest is comfortable and familiar. Flight may seem impossible, and yet the baby knows intuitively that it was created to fly. Thus, it takes its initial leap out of the nest and is taken into a new world.
In a similar way, we were created to fly. Each one of us was born with an inherent gift, our Dharma… given to us to share with those around us. In Rod Strykers book, The Four Desires, he starts by vividly describing the growth of a sunflower seed. Inside of each tiny seed it knows that it is supposed to grow towards the light and blossom into a beautiful flower. We are born with the same inherent knowledge of what we are supposed to become, however, unlike the sunflower seed, or the bird, we lose our ability to take directions from this inner voice due to outside distractions and our very own egos. We have no idea who we are or what we are really supposed to do. We become motivated by worldly things and disconnected from our gut. We become fearful of stepping outside of our comfort zone, making flight or reaching our true purpose impossible.
The Rat Race. For many of my peers in the western world we chose our path by searching for the answers from the outside world, rather then listening to our gut…
We are pushed down the road of destiny with three motivating factors being 1) desire for financial success 2) prestige and 3) beating out the neighbour…
The world can often seem like a competitive place. At a young age we look to others to see what matters. What we find may not be the best examples. By looking to the media and society at large, partying, high society and money seem to matter most… Our perspectives become totally jaded, blocking a clear view of our internal being. How do we really tune into our gut? How do we become present enough in our selves to hear what it is that we were inherently born to do? You simply get quiet, and listen.
My own life has been an interesting example of the duality between the external and internal motivating factors. As a University student, I picked my major, political science, around the idea of eventually going to law school or becoming a politician. I had visions of being a politician, a lawyer, or some big time diplomat. After graduating I decided to move to China to learn how to speak Chinese so I could infiltrate a multinational company. Around the same time I coincidentally got into yoga, became more aware of my body, mind, and spirit, and as a result, got a different picture of who I was supposed to be. I went to a job fair in Beijing and was offered two very different jobs.
1) CNPC China National Petroleum Company: Consultant, communication and education manager of China’s largest government run energy agency. Working 9-5 in a suit, big title, money…
2) St Paul American School: Art teacher… Working 8-4 creating my own classes and playing with art with international school children…
The job I wanted was working for CNPC. A large part of me was motivated by worldly desires 1) desire for financial success 2) prestige 3) beating out the competition… I wanted the suit, the high heels, the office and the power… or did I? Something inside me didn’t feel right about it. The art teaching job had appeared out of the blue and seemed surprisingly appealing to me. Unknowingly I returned to the recipe for a fulfilling life A) Listen to your gut and B) Take the risk. In my gut I was clearly being pulled in a direction that scared me. My creative spirit was awakened but it went against the world’s primary motivating factors. Risk… Would I be willing to give up a job I had always thought I wanted to do for something far less prestigious that sounded… dare I say… Fun? This was a truly pivotal decision for me. I went with the art teaching job and my life has been the ride of a life time ever since.
By following my gut and taking risks, life feels magical. Often very scary, but I can face it all with faith. I have discovered that unlike the baby bird, we may have many opportunities to take new leaps of faith!
In June of 2011, after 4 years of living and working in China, I faced another monumental decision and left all that was comfortable in order to follow my gut. Together with my fiancé Ross we packed up our life in Beijing and have since been traveling the world living out of suitcases. Nearly 2 full years! I have had the privilege of travelling all over the world… studying yoga, teaching yoga, working with yogis, working on art projects of all sizes, and at the same time, learning priceless information about myself and the world we live in. I have discovered that I get the most fulfilment out of loving others, out of being a healthy happy yogi and sharing these principles with others.
The global adventure is now coming to an end and we face the exciting prospect of “settling down”. Destination unknown. Jobs unknown. Again I am the baby bird, ready to fly, ready to use the unique skills and experience given to me to share. Ready to fully step into my Dharma by flying out of the nest. I am ready to spread my wings… again… 😉 The question is… are you? Are you currently living a life that is most fulfilling to you? What is your purpose here on Earth? What small steps can you take today to help you become more acutely aware of your dharma?
*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***