Find your constant
Starting a business is an ultra marathon. You have to be able to live with uncertainty and push through a crucible of obstacles for years on end. Entrepreneurs who can avoid saying uncle have a better chance of finding their market and outlasting their inevitable mistakes. This trait is known by many names--perseverance, persistence, determination, commitment, resilience--but it's really just old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness
This is from an article I read recently on the 7 traits of successful entrepreneurs and I couldn’t agree more.
I like to read and get in touch with others who’ve essentially gone their own way, especially when inspiration is low, exhaustion sets in and you’re left wondering why on earth you didn’t just get a job in your twenties , put your head down, have someone tell you what to do and reap the big pay check each month.
Honestly, I know the answer, which isn’t more complicated than me simply not being able to easily be told what to do. This has been true since the age of 4 years old, and nothing has really changed.
Not entirely a good character trait necessarily, but one that did result in me needing to do my own thing. I also have and always have had an obsessive desire to do something that matters to me.
But, belief in oneself waivers when life comes in and knocks you upside the head.
My recent separation from my last husband, and the acknowledgement that I was, once again, living through yet another failed marriage, was one such event that knocked me completely off balance. The weird thing about life’s knocks, and here’s something no one ever told me, and it’s something I certainly never read about, was that, when one area of your life fails dismally, it can unravel the other parts of your life that work together to make up who you think you are. When you doubt your judgement with something so fundamental as a partner, the doubt spreads into every other aspect of your life like a fierce and uncontrollable wild fire. When you’ve built your life’s work, your business, and your livelihood on pretty much faith and belief in yourself alone, that can prove disastrous when the fire catches and burns everything to the ground.
That was me 18 months ago. I questioned the Yoga path, the Buddhist path, myself, my own beliefs, my sanity, my relationships, my country, my path, my own ability to take a step. Everything I had been so sure about before, was a shifting process with absolutely no sign of solidifying into anything I could trust ever again.
It was through sheer will and determination to simply get up and take a step that got me to where I am now 18 months later.
I had to keep showing up for others, I had to keep teaching, and what I had to teach, had to be real. And so for a while I went quiet and didn’t say much at all, and then slowly I pieced together the fabric of what I do know to be true, and got very very real about what does actually work after I’ve burned it all to the ground. To look at the phoenix head on and say ok, let’s do this shit again, and let’s get even more real.
I often get asked why I stayed in Germany after my separation from my husband. Why, when I had no home, no stable job I could count on in any meaningful way, no family and no legal right to stay, would I not just pack up and run to the safety (and sunshine) of my home in South Africa.
Looking back now, I didn’t really feel like it was a choice. There was something very deep inside that said I was not ready to give up. That I needed to fight, that if I did give up, then what I gave up in South Africa to be here would’ve been for nothing, and I just couldn’t face that.
I couldn’t face being that wrong. By some miracle, I didn’t give up on that part of me that leads me deeper into the mystery of life. And THAT has been my constant.
I will always choose the hard path, I will always choose what is difficult, I will always choose the fire and I will always choose to face my fears. Other people have religion, family, houses, and job security, I have an unrelenting passion for the edges. And while that may seem extreme, it is my constant.
Once I accepted this, I started gravitating towards more and more constants. Piecing back together my beliefs, my business and my life. And here I am, on the other side of that storm, changed, and yet unchanged in some ways, with a home, with a community , doing what I love, trusting in love again, enjoying diverse friendships and as some of you would’ve seen, legal status J
I am still on the road in search of more constants, and the irony of being in Germany, the land of taxes, and systems and structures and stability, is not lost on me. I can’t think of a better place to bring those lost parts of me into the light.
With my search for more constants comes an acknowledgement of what I know to be true, more than ever before, and that is how the dharmaKaya yoga method was formed and how it continues to grow roots. My book Magnificently Real, while needing a bit of a memoir update, is also a constant I hold in my heart as a sincere and effective path into living bravely and authentically.
It’s not easy, but I would encourage anyone to throw out their beliefs at some point, just to see what sticks. It is my belief that if we don’t question ourselves at some point, life will come along and force it out of us. The wave is coming…. And it seems the more you think you’ll know how to ride it when it comes, the more likely it will envelope you, push you underwater, tumble you around until you have no idea where the surface is, and spit you out, (if you’re lucky) onto the shore. Check that what you’ve found as your constant is something that can survive, and if you’re very skilled, ride the wave when it comes.
For me it wasn’t my marriage, it wasn’t my country,, it wasn’t my job, it wasn’t even my yoga practice, and certainly wasn’t religion.
It was something that in the end feels like it can’t be taken away from me, and that is my unrelenting choice to go deeper, no matter how scary.
Knowing this is a blessing, but I feel even more blessed by those that choose to go on this path with me. I am grateful every single day to the brave souls willing to explore this way of studying the yogic path, getting rigorous with their own psyches in an effort to demystify and harness the power of yoga. Together we keep it relevant and real.
If you are interested in exploring your own edges, through the practices of yoga, through getting Magnificently Real or just having a conversation, then you can email me to set up a private coaching session, join the dharmkaya teacher training or mentorship program, or come on one of the retreats listed below.
See you on the edge, in the middle and out the other side.