Four years after quitting my job, I was at a crossroads:
Would I move to a new city again?
Or, would I try to make something of where I already was?
Over four years, “working for myself” had become more like creatively living off of childhood savings and credit card debt. My bank accounts had all but dwindled under overpriced rent for small city apartments, and my unrealistic expectations for first book, Lead Without Followers, never materialized.
When I had quit my job, I was *certain* that, by now, I’d have written a best-selling book and been on a national speaking circuit.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t magically springboarded into a thriving writing and speaking career.
Perhaps worse, the dream that I had been surviving on for years – the one that carried me through depression – had all but evaporated. The one guiding hope that I clung onto when I left my job was to write this book. And it went out with a whimper.
Did I fail it? Did I fail myself? Did I somehow fail the world that I had hoped to help?
Emotionally deflated, empty of purpose, and running out of money to boot. Was this really the life I had dreamed of living?
Wherever I went, I was stuck with myself. And my flawed logic led me to think, “Well, if I haven’t found it yet, then everything that I want must be hiding somewhere else.”
As I pondered moving back to New York City, or to a new place like Austin or Boulder, a sudden realization stopped me cold.
It dared me to make a commitment far bigger, and far tougher, than quitting my job ever proved to be.
Everything is Everything Else
Through my many moves and travels, my local yoga studio had remained a constant source of solace and encouragement. This place was teeming with friendships, opportunity and community — things I had lacked, and longed for, across my travels and years living in big cities.
What I desired, and what I needed most, was presenting itself right before my eyes.
Why would I leave this — just to go seek it somewhere else?
With a small but important perspective shift, “settling” for staying in the small place where I had grown up became a conscious choice, a deliberate commitment, to choose myself once and for all – by staying right where I already was.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
A new 200-hour yoga teacher training was beginning in a few months. I thought that teaching yoga would be as great an excuse as any other to fulfill my values of service and contribution on a weekly basis, while developing new and valuable skills in the process.
My next move was settled: I was staying put.
I committed to making my home exactly where I was.
And, with who I was.
Yoga teacher training — and the budding relationships and community around me — helped me go deeper into my self-work. I discovered debilitating shadows (or patterns of subconscious thought and behavior) that were holding me back in my creative work and business, self-sabotaging my love life, and keeping me in hiding from my dharma.
Within 6 months, I had moved out of my parents’ house, made my new apartment into a creative enclave, had a dozen new and close friendships and deepened into my well-being practices.
- I had become a yoga teacher when the studio that taught me yoga hired me.
- Business was on the up, my next two books were in the works, and I finally was hitting my stride — inside and out.
Changing the circumstances of your life can be necessary, and life-changing. But they usually don’t magically solve everything else that follows. Because “wherever you go, there you are.”
What took me so long to understand in the four years of searching after I quit my job was that being “stuck with myself” was not a curse, but a gift.
It means that the very curriculum that we require on the path to Self-Realization resides within us.
To know yourself, to nurture your True Self, to become more of your Whole and Best Self, is ultimately a choice to find what is already residing within. No one, and no place, out in the world will unearth it for you.
It’s already with you.
It’s following you.
It is you.
The natural question that follows is, “Well, how?”
Where do we begin to unearth this invisible internal stuff?
How do we know it, to use it, to live with purpose and passion?
Here are three recent reader-favorite articles that can help you easily reshape your words, thoughts or environment into stronger alignment to your self-knowledge journey:
- Journal through 1 of these 7 mindfulness prompt in 7 minutes or less. They’re some of the favorites that I’ve shared with hundreds of writers over the years.
- Change your living space, seek community, or start a new daily practice. Your environment, social connections and everyday practices matter. You don’t need to up-end your whole life.
- Add movement to your day today (in 1 of 3 ways). Get out of your head and into your body to listen to your body’s innate, intuitive wisdom.
- Try to not use this one word today. It’s common, and harmless enough, but it may be robbing you of connection, experience and feeling generally stoked for life.
Whether you decide to journal, tweak the layout of your living space, or sit and breathe for 10 minutes, choose it for you.
Evoke a few moments of presence and peace around you. It aggregates. Every ounce adds up.
Every opportunity for what you desire already resides around you — choosing it begins within.
Now is the time to call it forth.