First, let’s take a deep breath…
Things have been feeling a little bit “churned up” lately. Maybe it’s the buzzing energy and crazy hot temps and lack of routine that summer in New York brings, maybe it’s the astrological things going on that I won’t try to speak intelligently about but I do know this: we had two eclipses in July that were meant to be very emotional, Mercury retrograde has just ended, and it’s the start of Leo Season (yay that’s MY season!) which means FIRE energy - it’s like the volume is up and the stage is open, and here we are with our own unique styles and passions and skills, being asked to dance our hearts out and show the world what we’re made of.
Which, I know, can feel like battle; it can feel like a constant one-step-forward-two-steps-back, like you just keep putting the wheels back on only for them to fall off again. There’s a test around every bend, forcing us to decide between persistence and curling up into a ball in the corner of the room. I posted about this on IG today, inspired by some recent convos I’ve had:
“How bad do you want it? If you’re trying to do something out of the ordinary, you have to realize there’s a reason not everyone is doing that thing - because it’s f*ckin hard. You’ll be constantly tested, given reasons to step back, to give up, to choose an easier path. On the way you’ll have to ask- how bad do you want it? Can you keep pushing? Can you thicken your skin? Is it worth it? If this was easy, everyone would do it. What would you want to do, no matter how hard it got? What do you have to try, just to know you did?”
As a yoga teacher trying to “make it” in NYC, I can say that this is essentially my new normal; a fight that has become a dance, and to stop dancing, well, sounds like no fun at all despite how tired and defeated I feel at times. And since I also have a lot of passionate and creative people around me who are trying to make things happen in their own ways, this topic feels very present in my life in general. I am always reminded of something I read in Liz Gilbert’s “Big Magic” (which I highly recommend). In this passage, Gilbert is referring to the blogger Mark Manson, who asks: What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?
“What Manson means is that every single pursuit—no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem—comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects. As Manson writes with profound wisdom: “Everything sucks, some of the time.” You just have to decide what sort of suckage you’re willing to deal with. So the question is not so much “What are you passionate about?” The question is “What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work?” Manson explains it this way: “If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands, of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the eighty-hour workweeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.” Because if you love and want something enough—whatever it is—then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.”
Gilbert goes on to flip a common idiom on it’s head, asking not “what would you do if you knew you could not fail,” but instead, what would you do knowing you might very well fail? Like, what do you have to try even if the odds are stacked against you, because to not try would be the greatest fail of all? “What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?”
And then I moved on to Brene Brown’s incredible work, and her moving words inspired by Theodore Roosevelt:
“If you’re going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee, and that is: you will get your ass kicked.”
That is simply the deal that we make for wanting to create, for wanting to do something a little bit different - you’ll get your ass kicked. And not in the “being an entrepreneur means working round the clock” kind of way, but in the “constantly tested and rocked to your core” kind of way. And you know what, it’s not for everyone. In so many ways my life was much, much easier when I had a 9-5 job and a steady paycheck and a health plan, and I could see how that’s the right choice for many. But for me, I broke out of that mold and could never fit back in. Perhaps for some it’s not about the work they do, but about some other creative pursuit, or the way they show up in relationships, or the way they want to dress or wear their hair. Perhaps it’s the trip you’ve always wanted to take, the conversation you’ve been afraid to have. We all have our own dances to dance, and we all have to decide for ourselves if it’s worth getting off the chair and stepping out onto the dance floor at all.
“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.” - Brene Brown