I’m going with no.
I’ve been pricked by plenty of roses in my lifetime. And a fair few thorns, without even a rose to make it better.
But in terms of dream lives and meaningful work– if there is one thing I’ve found from the last 6 years as a yoga teacher: it’s that there are no passionate lives without at least one annoying flaw.
Saying it again for the people in the back:
That’s just how the life cookie crumbled.
I rate that. You get to guide people to reconnect to their bodies. AND – you’ll probably be waking up at hectic hours, or going to sleep at weird times – most days of the week. You’ll have to level up on anatomy, physiology, psychology, spirituality, behavioural science, and more.
That’s epic – you can choose your hours, speak your truth, and be free to travel the world. AND – you’ll have to determine to not lose your head while you’re honing your craft, building an audience, figuring out SEO, navigate social media, and creating products that serve.
I do too. AND – you’ll also be your own employee – which means anything that goes wrong will ALWAYS be your fault.
Artist, teacher, photographer, doctor, dentist, accountant, PR agent, food critic, radio host, macrame-maker, candle-dipper, circus performer, interior decorator – it doesn’t matter what you do. A part of it is going to be wonderful. And a part of it is going to suck.
Mark Manson says it bluntly: “Everything sucks, some of the time.”
The question, maybe, isn’t just what are we willing to build towards – but also – along the way, what are we willing to deal with?
Elisabeth Gilbert in her book “Big Magic” (a MUST read for every yoga teacher) agrees. She says: “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?”
What will you accept, as part and parcel of the life of your dreams?
I get it – this sounds very glass-half-full. It’s not very on-brand for an embodiment guide and yoga teacher to be talking about stuff that sucks. But hear me out, okay?
Because accepting this idea of inescapable struggle actually makes way for the most beautiful lives we can imagine.
It takes away the pressure that everything has to be perfect. It quiets down the crushing worry that our life isn’t as #blessed as that beach-loving bikini designer on Instagram. It unravels that knot in our stomachs that happens every time we miss a trick or something goes wrong.
I wish I could explain it half as well as Ms. Gilbert – but she says it best. So read this next part a couple times. Maybe write a part of it somewhere, if it serves you. Remind yourself of it often – because when hard times come – as they inevitably will – you’ll be armed with the knowing that you’re not alone.
“If you want to be an artist of any sort…then handling your frustration is a fundamental aspect of the work. Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.
The fun part (the part where it doesn’t feel like work at all) is when you’re actually creating something wonderful, and everything’s going great, and everyone loves it, and you’re flying high. But such instants are rare. You don’t just get to leap from bright moment to bright moment. How you manage yourself between those bright moments, when things aren’t going great, is a measure of how devoted you are to your vocation.”
But in all your striving and struggles for something great – please believe me – you’re not alone. You’re not alone in your frustration, your disappointment or your struggle. You’re not the only one questioning your whole life every time the alarm goes off. You’re not the only one who feels like they’re sometimes just one spilt coffee away from a nervous breakdown.
You’re not less talented, less intelligent or less lucky than anyone else. You’re not less likely to “catch a break.” You’re not “hopeless” at social media, and you’re not more disorganised than the rest of the world.
The way you go about creating your dream life might be different from the next person. And the yellow brick road to paradise might have some potholes along the way. But you are more than capable of navigating around them. You are more than capable of crafting a business you love, a service you stand by, and a lifestyle that nourishes you – not destroys you. It won’t happen overnight (I’m testament to that) but it can, and will happen.
You are worthy of all your wildest dreams – and the world actually needs you to live out those desires, in the way that only you can.
So let yourself be brave. Let yourself dream wild. Accept the inevitable shit sandwich. And eat the hell out of it all.
For all the yoga teachers out there: check out this link about a few of my shoulda-coulda-woulda thoughts about being a movement and yoga teacher.
I believe in you x