Do you like archetypes and symbols?
I like them so much I long to live their stories as the unfolding of the everyday.
My “new years” begins on the last day of December and ends a month or so later on Chinese New Year.
This extended new years feels more inclusive and diverse, but also more humane. I’ve ample time to reflect and experiment. Time to play around with what really needs to go, stay and welcomed for the first time.
I’m learning that allowing pressure to bridle me doesn’t make me noble. And I’ve more to learn, so the story is far from over.
We approach the end of 2017, the Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster (an astoundingly accurate visual for 2017) and welcome 2018, the new year of the Earth Dog.
I like the way I feel when I imagine “Earth Dog”. Safe, soothed, down to earth, true, just. Probably plenty of work and devotion and growling involved, but less flames and charred feathers.
A summary of what seems to be changing for me….
More than a decade ago I decided to add a digital arm to my totally in-person business. I started with this newsletter.(Some of you were among my very first subscribers and thank you for still being here!)
Then came a website and the digital arm began to grow (somewhat) on it’s own.
I scheduled an allotment of desk hours per week while maintaining the same number of teaching hours I had pre-digital.
Plus, I spent countless hours thinking about the digital arm even when I wasn’t technically “working” because digital is so conceptual.
So, I bet you know where this story goes.
Burnout. Actually, a non-stop cycle of burnout-and-refresh.
At first, having refreshment in the mix meant that I was maintaining “work-life balance”.
Eventually, though, the bouncing between extremes got to me. I wondered if I could find a “middle way” to use a Buddhist term. A way that didn’t swing so wide, that explored a path of balance in every step.
I paid closer attention to my work patterns and was more honest with myself about how these patterns felt. Long story short, I learned:
— I needed to moderate my work time in general without guilt.
— I needed to work away from my desk more often.
— I needed to get more done, whether or not I was at a desk, with way less “do-over”.
The digital snowball of my business was rolling on its own much of the time, yet I was still making myself sit down at the desk if I still had desk hours to complete.
Basically, I needed to work smarter, not harder.
Working hard but not smart involved goofing off a lot during work hours and also having to re-do work not done properly the first time.
Can you relate?
So, I began with an announcement of “dimming my digital lantern” during the 2014 holidays. During that semi-unplugged period, I woke up to (realized) toxic habits I had around time, work and accountability.
I understand now that I didn’t so much need to learn new healthy habits and systems as unlearn the old toxic ones.
I’m now returning to more offline work, working more often with my hands and talking more often to real people. Yay. And I’m always thinking about how I (we) can take these in-person, embodied experiences to newer levels.
For example, I’m pondering travel retreats in magical far away places where we can meet for a week or more. (During the burnout cycle I never wanted to blend work with travel because I so needed a clean break.)
I’m noticing a trend, that more and more people are craving real experiences with real community. Do you see this trend form where you stand?
Would you ever consider going with me on retreat? Where would we go? What would we do? (Hit REPLY and let me know.)
I usually know what I want. My challenge is usually how to best achieve what I want. Or, if I’m undecided about what I want, it’s usually because I have too many choices, too many things I want to do.
Last year I spent quite a bit of time truly not knowing what my choices were. Perhaps I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I had some ideas but felt “meh” about quite a few of them.
So for the most part I abstained from those things.
I wasn’t about to use my time and energy– at a desk or offline– for a mere “meh”. So, I waited. Which felt very uncomfortable. Some days I felt like the guilt I had previously felt at decreasing my work hours had simply shifted over to guilt at not feeling inspired.
At times I wondered if I was ok. And to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure about that either.
One thing that felt very positive was that I was re-gathering myself. Taking my time, energy, power and creativity back to center.
Now, I smile big when I look back at that extended limbo period. Direction and proactivity have returned.
I got back to work right before the 2017 holidays, just when everyone else was taking time off. I very quickly and fairly easily put together a handy Mudra Guide to go along with my cards.
I released the guide a few weeks before Christmas and sold all that I had ordered, which felt dang good. Thanks to all you who bought those books!
Are you wondering if my learning to work less and spend more time offline and to re-gather myself during extended limbo is what helped me get this book done so fast and simply? Me too. Who knows. But I have a hunch the answer is hell yes.
NEW & BIG-ISH
I did take a brief holiday of relaxation and culture in New York. The break was brief, but allowed me the mental space to realize I was ready to FINALLY do a few more things. Special things I have long wanted to do and have been waiting for the “right time”.(Not that I’m sure there’s an absolute “right time” for anything. However, this experience does seem to indicate some times are indeed better than others.)
In my first newsletter of 2018, I more than hinted about opening new special pathways + embarking on a few BIGGIE journeys.
Here are 3 of the new things, one of which is a biggie::
1. I’m so stoked about my next online course which will be announced in my next newsletter. I’m excited to share it with you because first of all — it’s a collaboration with someone very cool who you might already know and who I look SO forward to working with. Second, because the topic is a new offering for me. Stay tuned, next newsletter in a couple of weeks.
2. I will try to become certified in something non-yoga related. This isn’t a biggie because every 5 or so years I go off somewhere and study something other than yoga and meditation. The last was in 2013, a Thai massage certification in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Before that was reiki, and before that marshall arts (mostly Tai Chi.)
This time there’s a welcome difference. Instead of studying and becoming certified in a discipline, I’m unlearning, un-disciplining. More of a rewilding and return to an essential freedom as a way towards wisdom.
I’ll be announcing this new certification and new offerings in a couple of months. If I pass!
Okay, that’s one thing. Now here’s the biggie. Without a drumroll —>
3. I want a book deal. To date, I’ve self-published three books, one of which I actually even designed and formatted myself. I’ve promoted and sold all three DIY and I’m proud. Even of my mistakes.
Now I want the validation of being published by a reputable company. There, I said it.
Yes I know the topic I want to write about and the publishing companies I’m most interested in.
This post is already long enough. I look forward to telling you more about the book in another post.
This is actually my first real written newsletter in 2018. (The other 2 newsletters shared audios, which are here. More audios and a few videos to come.)
Thank you for witnessing my struggles and my wishes.
I am forever honored that some of you share your struggles and wishes with me. Some of you over email. Some of you work with me 1:1 or in my courses and I’m honored to see a little more about who you are + help you be even more of who you are.
Feel free to share with me now what you’re up to.
Your struggles and/ or your wishes. What you’re changing, keeping, bringing in anew. How you work and play and maybe even where you want to go on retreat!!