[1:01] Hi, and welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, “Conversations from the Heart.” I am sitting here right now in this comfortable chair, looking out at the beautiful sky and the desert outside my window, and just feeling an enormous amount of gratitude right now, so I’d love to start on the note of gratitude. These past couple of days, I’ve been contemplating a lot of the blessings that I have in my life, one of them being very evident for me this week. This week, I feel like, is the first week that everyone is really back at work after the holidays. The holidays are so long [laughs]. It’s like, for me, I long for the Christmas season, and I love New Year’s time, and, you know, I long for that for a long time. But then when you’re in the middle of it, it’s a long time that we have this big space, you know, to spend with family, and to be home from work, and of course it’s wonderful and beautiful, but there’s also something really great about getting back to it. And, uh, this week I think is the week for most people that we’re all really back at work. So most of everyone I know are back at the office, back doing the regular day-to-day things, and for me, I get to stay home, and continue working from the comfort of my own home. And I’ve just been so grateful for that over the past couple of days. Really, really, really grateful for that.
[2:23] It has been an absolutely wonderful holiday season for me. Last week’s episode of this podcast, I had my teacher, Shubhaa, on the show, and we spoke about trauma healing; if you missed that episode, I highly recommend it. But it means I didn’t really get to update you guys on New Year’s and our sacred New Year’s intentions and there’s…I feel like I have so much to share.
[2:47] New Year’s Eve, for me…or actually, these holidays…I’ve had so many epiphanies in 2019. So many big picture realizations have come my way. And after having the year that I had, somewhere mid-December, I made this sort of sweeping declaration to my husband, and I decided “I am not going to host a single party this holiday.” And this, if you know me at all, is a very, very, very strange behaviour for me. I am sort of like a born hostess; I love to host, I love to host parties, I love to feed people, I love to cook, I love to have people at the house. And especially around the holidays, we always have so many gatherings, sort of planned and prepared by me here. So normally we have a huge Christmas party every year where more than 100 people come to our house and just this big, big, big thing that we put on every single year. We call it Swedish Christmas, and we serve Swedish Christmas foods and things like that. And then we always have a couple of celebrations for different parts of the family, so the 24th is the Swedish Christmas, so that’s when I celebrate. The 25th is the Dutch and the Aruban Christmas, so that’s when Dennis celebrates, and then he has his dad’s side of the family visiting, and his mom’s here, and normally my family’s here. And what I realized is at the center of all of this, is me, kind of acting as a glue, pulling all of everybody together, including all of our friends and the community we have at the studio. And this year, I just decided “I’m not…I’m not going to host a single thing.” And Dennis, of course, immediately said “oh, but I think that’s great, good for you, great idea.” But he didn’t really know [laughs] what he was saying “great” to. And, I think, pretty much everyone…everyone in our immediate family sort of takes for granted how much and how often I host and put together these gatherings. So this year, when I chose not to, it was almost like a little bit of a shock, I think, because this is where people normally gather, and I just decided this year “you know what, I want a pressure-free Christmas, I don’t want to have any kind of stress. I don’t want to cook for 20 people, I don’t want to clean up after having 20 people at the house. I just don’t want to do it.”
[4:52] And, it turned into, actually, there was like a weird transitional moment where we had to tell a bunch of our family like, “hey, we can…we can go out and do something. We can go out to eat, you know, you’re super welcome to come to the house, but maybe you want to bring some food….” [laughs] You know, “we’re not going to put this whole thing on.” And at the end of it, it was just me and Dennis and the baby, the three of us, home for Christmas and that’s it. No party, nothing else. I didn’t feel an ounce of stress throughout the whole holidays. And it really took that preparation of several week in advance deciding that “no, I’m not going to do that.” And I realized that even though I love hosting these things, there’s always that added element of “man, I gotta get this right,” you know. “I want all of this food to be done at the same time, and I want everything to be clean. I want everyone to have a good time.” And being in that role means that I actually enjoy myself way less, because I’m kind of on the outside looking in as the host of the party, or the dinner, or whatever, all the time, instead of just being there, enjoying it. Fully immersing myself in conversation, and food, and all of these things. So for me, it was this wonderful experiment just to check like “okay, what if I don’t put on anything, what happens?” And, of course, you know, when you’ve done that for years and years and years, been the person to pull everything together and host the parties, then suddenly everyone else goes “but…but wait. So what about Christmas?” And I had to go “yeah, you can put together Christmas if you want, I’ll come.” [laughs] “You guys can invite me anywhere, like, I’ll go.” [laughs] It’s like, uh, I don’t know…I almost feel like I’m in the midst of a little bit of a personality change right now, and its taking people awhile to catch up.
[6:32] But, that was our holidays. It was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had, really, as an adult. So wonderful. And then I carry that all the way into the New Year with that same decision of “I’m not going to host a big party.” So we didn’t. We just cooked, we had two friends come over casually that we decided sort of on the same day, uh, one of my friends who has a daughter the same age as Lea Luna. And we just cooked, and drank some champagne and, you know, very, very low key, unpretentious, just wonderful evening of just being with each other. And then at 11 o’clock we woke the kids up and Lea Luna bounds out of her crib and she went “gasp fireworks?! Is it firework time?!” [laughs]. I was like yeah, she’s never seen fireworks in her life, she was just excited by the idea of it. And I got to bring her to the beach, and for midnight, you know, her eyes were so big. It was…it was bigger than Santa Claus, it was bigger than Christmas. Just…just being on the beach for 12 o’clock with all the colors, and all the lights, and the celebrations, and the people, and there were so many kids there. And then she spent 2 hours dancing in the sand with a bunch of kids that were there. It was just…honestly I think the best day of her life was…was New Year’s Eve. And because it was the best day of her life, it was, like, the best day for me and Dennis too. It was our best New Year’s…Dennis cried. On…like at the stroke of midnight, we were all sitting on the beach, he’s holding us, we’re looking at the colors, the baby’s awake…and then he…he cried, just of like pure awe of “oh, this is so beautiful.” And I just…it just really struck me, after all of this, like, that’s what New Year’s is about. You know. And New Year’s Eve has always been this time for me where… you know, it’s this highly anticipated thing where you’re supposed to have maximum fun, and it’s just…it’s always overrated because it’s never what you think its going to be. There’s always this high pressure of “what are you doing exactly at midnight?” And I’m just realizing that all the years that I’ve spent trying to attain that, like, epic party, you know, just means that I’ve been missing out on the gentle intimacy of just being with the people that I love.
[8:42] And this might sound like, like this obvious thing, but for me, it’s really…I'm really in the middle of a lot of revelations right now where I’m realizing the beauty of life doesn’t lie in those massive, extravagant things, you know, that maybe from the outside we think we’re gonna remember the most. Like the biggest party, or we were surrounded by the most friends, or, you know, when we had these epic levels of things synchronized, coming together at the same time, and all of this stuff. It’s like “hey.” Literally like, my…[laughs]…my daughter in her pajamas on the beach, like, where we brought, like, plastic glasses to drink some, like, cheap champagne out of, like, you know. And that was the best New Year’s ever, because we were totally there, totally present. Didn’t have any place we had to be. No time to keep, you know, no one to entertain. Like, that’s also a really wonderful part of this. When you’re not hosting anything, there’s no one you have to entertain. So if people end up spending time with you, it’s like, we’re all just spending time together, it’s not me being in this role of entertaining people. Which, again, might sound simple to a lot of people, but for me, this is, like…because that’s how I spent my life. This is a big revelation of “I spent most of my life gathering people together, creating community, but I’m in the role of the Gatherer,” you know? I’m the glue. I’m not in there, mixing, you know, merging…melting together with everybody else. I’m kind of on the outside making sure everyone has everything to drink, and everyone’s happy, and “yeah, the bathroom’s over there” and “let’s clean up over here” and “duh duh duh duh duh duh,” you know. And of course Dennis, like, being Dennis, is on the couch talking to everybody. I never do that, ever. And I think this whole…celebration and, you know, midnight, and New Year’s Eve, leading into this new year, it was just the perfect transition for me, from 2019 and all the fucking challenges that 2019 brought us. All the…I know I’m not alone, I’m saying “us,” but of course I mean myself personally. But I don’t know anyone who had “the Best Year Ever” in 2019. For every single person I know, it’s been challenging in different ways. And, to have that…that transition to include some of the changes that I want to make in the new year, it was almost like I got to act that way I want 2020 to be before it was even 2020, if that makes any sense. So, yeah, just…lots of gratitude for being right here, right now.
[11:17] I would love to just take a moment to ask you, how’re you feeling when it comes to gratitude right now? Just feeling into the body a little bit. If it feels good to close your eyes, you can do that. Let’s take a really deep, full breath in…[inhales]…open the mouth, and let something go…[exhales]. And what are you grateful for right now? When you hear me talking about gratitude in this moment, just touching on the energy of gratitude, what shifts or changes inside of your body? Perhaps you can sense a different quality to this present moment, the moment you tune into the feeling of thankfulness, of gratitude.
[12:05] And noticing right away, where your mind takes you. So what are you grateful for in this moment? Perhaps you are really happy to be back at work, if you’re back at work now. Or maybe you had a really wonderful time being off and you’re grateful for family, friends. Perhaps there’s a quality to your life these days that just feels all around wonderful, and you’re grateful for that. Let’s take a moment to tap into something that you’re grateful for…and I mean truly, really, grateful for. Not just the kind of shrug your shoulders kind of gratitude, but that gratitude that makes your heart beat. That gratitude that can turn a bad day around. Gratitude that just fills you up from your fingertips to your toes, where it makes your whole being go “ah, thank you. Man. Thank you.”
[13:00] And just let yourself dwell and linger in that energy of gratitude a little bit longer. Let’s take another deep, full breath in…[inhales]…open the mouth, and let something go [exhales]. If you had your eyes closed, you can blink them back open. Gratitude…it’s just one of those things, when you start to bring your awareness to gratitude, it changes every thing. It really, really, really does. And I can kind of sense from myself over these past couple of days that I’ve just…since New Years, actually, I’ve been in this vibration of gratitude. A combination of so many things. Having the new year begin, which was, for me, something I’ve been longing for for literally a year [laughs]…all of 2019 I was longing for 2020 to come around. Because 2020, you know, was this…this time off, this space, this time without any groups, without any commitments, no pressure, and I had this vision of just what my life would be in 2020, and how my life would be totally different.
[14:12] And at the same time, I kind of knew that “oh, that’s, like…it’s a mirage,” you know, “it’s…it’s a vision that I have, it’s this dream. It’s kind of unattainable because it’s all the way over there, and no way my life’s going to look like that.” But I’m kind of happy to say that we’re two weeks…are we two weeks? Oh wait, ten days…okay, I’m not going to get that ahead of myself. But yeah, ten days into the new year, and everything I wanted 2020 to be, it’s actually unfolding that way for me now. And I dunno what it is specifically that’s making this different, because every New Years, I have this grand idea of something that I wanna change, or a difference I wanna create in my life of some sort, but it’s really hard to do. Really hard to do. And I think a lot of us, we’re very quick to set goals. We do it from a place of lack, or from a feeling of “I don’t like that so I want something different.” But we don’t actually think those goals through, you know. “Can I actionably make this happen?” You know, “can I arrange my life in a way to cultivate this habit, or to create this change, or to cut this away, or to add this in?” We don’t really break it down into those steps. So I think for me this year, how…or what’s actually different is I started working on this New Year’s intention six months ago. [laughs] You know, it wasn’t like, end of December I started thinking about “hmm, what do I want for next year?” Really, I’ve been working on this intention all year [laughs] last year, knowing that 2020 is gonna be an easy year for me. It’s going to be a year where I choose myself over everything else. A year when I give myself space…space, space, space — space is my word — giving myself space to feel what I want. And then choosing to say “yes” or “no” after what I need, not because I have this pressure to do things, or because I committed to something a year ago, or because I have to for the sake of our business, or for the sake of anybody. That’s the kind of year that I want. And I started putting that into action months ago…you know, months ago. Or I wouldn’t be able to be here right now.
[16:22] It’s kind of…kind of unbelievable, actually, it’s…it’s ten days into the new year, I’m not saying I’ve quit my job, or I’m not working, or anything like that. Um, it kind of hit me that, you know, aside from my retreats and trainings and groups, I have a full-time job that’s a pretty…pretty busy full-time job. And then on top of that, I’ve been doing all these groups, and then maintaining that regular full-time job on the side. So now, not having groups, you know, and that kind of energy to hold every day, it’s…it’s like I get to live a regular life. Which is…weird and I feel like, this is like a weird thing to say, but normally, my whole life is divided into sections of when I have groups and when I don’t. And then I know after this group, “okay, I have ten days before the next group.” And then in those ten days, I try to squeeze in everything possible, like “okay, I really need to get more sleep now to prepare,” you know, “I have to practice more yoga, I have to take better care of myself,” but I also have to squeeze in all the work that I know I won’t be able to do when we have this teacher training, or whatever’s going on. So those days that are supposed to be restful in between, they become overly busy because I have so much to fit in. And then I dive into a group, which is putting everything on hold…everything in my life on hold, you know, immersing myself completely. And then that group is over, and then I have the next section of space, you know, where I have to…it’s just…that’s how I’ve lived my life for years. For years. And it’s been a really hard…it was a really hard lesson to learn that “okay, I’m actually gonna…I’m actually gonna have to take a break, a complete break, from everything.” That’s a really hard thing for me to do because I love the groups. I love, love the groups. I know I’m going to sit here on this podcast in a month, talking about how much I miss them. How much I wanna have another retreat now, I wanna do something, I miss that engagement of…of connection, heart-to-heart with people, the intimacy of that. It’s what I live for. So how do you just switch off that side of yourself where you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing?
[18:22] It’s been a super hard place for me to actually get to that, of, of “no, I gotta take a break.” And, like I said, it wasn’t December when I decided “okay, I’m gonna start putting things into action now so I can slow down next year,” but it’s been…it’s been a year— a year of work of getting to less work, basically. Normally around June, July, we release the dates for the next year on the site, and then we sell that out right away, so then the all of next year is already booked out, you know, a year and half in advance. And not doing that wasn’t an easy thing, you know. Wasn’t an easy thing. I had to really fight to make that happen. I had to fight myself…[laughs]. It was a…it required a massive structural change for our entire business, in terms of our budgeting, and our cash flow, and our, you know, predictions for the year…everything happens in a specific way, and then all of a sudden I hit the brakes and said “no, we’re not doing this anymore.” So it changed a lot of things for a lot of people, it wasn’t just me alone making that decision to not, you know, work in that way any more. And I think because it took that effort, I had to take action, I had to plan, I had to follow through on this decision that I made to take a year off from that…that’s what allowed me to actually enter 2020 already ready to go, you know. Because I prepared for that goal. I put those wheels into motion before 2020 arrived. So that thing that I was worried was maybe going to be just an illusion, the space and the time…I actually have it [laughs]. I…I could cry right now, okay…I’m crying right now, from…from joy [laughs]. It’s…it’s the weirdest fucking thing.
[20:07] But…I’m sitting here with a life that’s suddenly filled with space. I’m spending an enormous amount of just, quality time with my daughter, with my husband. And I mean quality time…not just quality time like I’m being with them, but quality time that…without the knowing of “oh, I have this thing I gotta go to,” which is normally how my life is, is like “okay wait, I have two hours here, and then I have this meeting, I have this interview, I have to get through my inbox, I have all this stuff….” The quality time that comes along with…without that. Without having to rush away, or…or anything. It’s just…I…it’s like I can let my shoulders drop a little bit, and just be there. So then when Lea Luna pulls on my hand and says “hey, let’s go play in the kitchen!” I don’t have to think, you know, “oh, shit, what time is it?” I can actually just go play in the kitchen [laughs]. And then the privilege of that is…you know…I…I’m feeling the privilege of that. Not everybody has the…the privilege to be able to do that. And that was one of the reasons behind making this decision of taking a whole year off from that, is I told Dennis, like, “when will I ever have that chance again? Maybe in a few years, our lives are totally different, and the idea of taking a year off from groups, or from working this intensely…maybe it won’t be possible. But right now, I find myself in this place where it is possible. I can slow down and step back, and we will be okay, you know. We’ll be fine. I have to take this opportunity, like it would be a…a terrible thing if I didn’t choose to take this opportunity for myself.” And…every single day, I…[laughs]…I wake up and I’m…and I’m feeling really happy [laughs].
[21:55] Okay, I’m crying again, but…it’s really…it’s the contrast of how…how pressured I felt last year. How heavy I felt last year. You know, how overwhelmed I felt with the ginormous mountain I felt like I had to climb every day to get through the things I had to get through, not feeling well and all of this. And now, being on the other side of that, and I can…I can sense how worried I was that “what if that isn’t true? I’m going to get to the other side, but then I’m going to create another mountain for myself,” you know. “I won’t know how to slow down. I won’t know how to relax.” But I do. I…I know how to relax. My body is wired to soften. To…to relax, to just be here. It just…it takes time to go from that high intensity, never not working, going, going, going, to get to a place of just “ahh,” you know. And I can see now how it took all of last year to bring me to this place, where now, I’m baking every day [laughs]. Literally. I mean, if you follow me on Instagram, I know you can tell because I post a lot of it there. But literally, I wake up in the morning and I go “huh, what are we going to bake today?” I’m making bread…making cinnamon buns, making cookies, making cakes, making croissants…like, just…just baking, which is one of the most therapeutic things that I know, that I love so much. I’m cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, all meals, you know…without feeling any pressure of “oh, I gotta…I gotta cook healthier,” or “I wish I could cook more,” or “I don’t have time to do it the way I wanna do it,” or, you know, half-assing meals, which I’m really used to doing just for the sake of time. It’s like, this immense joy to just step into my pantry and go “what do I have in here?” [laughs]. Like, that’s been a joy to go through the pantry, organize stuff, like just, “ah, okay, I found a huge bag of yellow splits peas. Okay, what can I make with that? I can make split pea soup. Delicious!” [laughs]
[24:00] It just…I feel like…it’s like, it sounds so small, but I can’t…can’t explain, like, big enough, or well enough, I think, how big this is for me. This space to feel and then choose. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not working, you know, it’s like Lea Luna is at day care every day, she goes 8:00 to 12:00, or 8:00 to12:30, and during that time if I have a meeting, I take the meeting then, you know. Going through my inbox, doing the regular things, creating content, filming stuff, like whatever it is that I’m doing…recording this podcast…I just take the opportunity to do that, then. And then, I have all the space to just be for the rest of the day.
[24:45] For anyone who’s listened to this podcast long enough, who knows how hard it is for me to slow down, I almost feel like I’m in the middle of some sort of miracle right now, actually being able to feel this. I’m reading a lot, I dunno…I mean, I always…I love to read, but I’m reading just for fun in the evenings, Dennis and I are playing Scrabble….Okay, I feel like I’m bragging now. Is there such a thing as bragging about resting too much? [laughs] Because…I feel like I’m…I’m getting to that place.
[25:18] I am just basically, in awe and marveling over life’s simple things. Simple things that I have been overlooking in my day-to-day life, that I haven’t had time and space to actually enjoy. Things that have been chores, like total chores — like cleaning the kitchen has been chore that I despise, I hate. Filling the dishwasher and emptying the dishwasher is like, it’s like a waste of time, and now it’s like…it’s wonderful. Its so wonderful to just…have the time to do that. And to have a clean kitchen, with clear counters, you know, which is like…when you’re rushing from place to place and you feel this pressure to get everything done all the time, some things have to go, and that’s been one of those things where, yeah, we’ve had kind of a messy kitchen for a couple of years, like all the time. And I actually really, really, really hate it. But that’s what its been.
[26:10] So I was sharing on…on Instagram just the other day about…living a smaller life. And dreaming a bigger dream. Which I think is…it’s…it’s…there’s…an epiphany, there’s a golden little formula, there’s a golden nugget in that idea that I’m beginning to unravel, or unwrap, a little more every day. And living a smaller life —I don’t know how you feel about just that as a statement — but living a smaller life, for me, means living more locally. Living a more intimate life. Doesn’t mean that it’s an insignificant life, or that its a life that doesn’t matter…not at all. Living a smaller life, for me, means enjoying those simple things. Like actually, you know, having the time to do the dishes…well [laughs]. Like, playing undisturbed, you know, with your daughter. Having a moment to play Scrabble with your husband, like, little things. The day-to-day bickering of stuff, like, the mundane things…being totally present with that and having that be the center of my universe. Versus this idea of, of a bigger life, which is this idea I’ve had in my head for such a long time where I have to reach every corner of the world, like at the same time, you know. And for…of course this will look differently for everybody, depending on what kind of life, you know, what your life situation looks like, but I think so many of us, we have this idea that success means we have to have this great life. Not great as in good, but great as in big, you know, where we are visible, where people know who we are, or we’re making this huge impact across the world and…and I had this idea of working across time zones, like that’s a really cool thing to do, and having people in different countries on the team, and…and now I’m just realizing that is all…like…it’s great, but it's exhausting to do that. And actually, the more I hone in on what’s actually here in front of me right now — like making that universe a little bit smaller, just so that I can actually be present with it more, and not be so spread thin — there’s something absolutely wonderful about that. There’s something amazing.
[28:28] Anyone listening who’s a stay-at-home mom, man…man oh man oh man. And of course that’s a really hard thing to do, and you know, hardest job in the world. But especially if we have that feeling like “I should be doing something more with my life,” who resonates with that…that idea. I’ve felt that way my whole life. And from the outside, people looking into my life from the outside, they might look…they might think like “this person is doing so much with her life.” I’ve always had this feeling of “I should be doing more. I should be doing greater things with my life.” No matter how great, or big, or vast, my life may have looked like on the outside, I still had that feeling of “I should be doing more.”
[29:09]: And now, I’m…I’m wrapping my head around the idea of…of doing less, and not having doing less mean making less of an impact. But what if doing less actually means that we just make a smarter impact, you know. I think…I…I wrote that on Instagram the other day that…that we think that being busy equals being accomplished. Like, the busier I am, the more I’m accomplishing in my day. So if I’m busy all the time, it means that I’m accomplishing things, and I’m finding, you know, success all the time, and I’m getting closer to success all the time, and I’m doing big things all the time. That’s not…not at all true, Being busy just means you’re busy all the time. It just means that you’re keeping yourself busy with stuff. Doesn’t mean that you’re having the impact that you think you’re having. And I always thought that if I work really hard all the time, everything is going to come together, like that’s the key, just working really hard all the time. And, having that as sort of a backbone of like “yeah, that’s just who I am, that how it goes,” and I’m kind of…you know…wondering…[laughs]… what would life be like, what would the impact — the potential for impact — be like if it came from a place that was a little bit softer. Not saying that that doesn’t mean you’re not working, or that, you know, you’re not aiming to hit all of your goals and to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish, but just the energy of that. The energy of the expanded — which means also spread thin, of course. If you’re expanded, you’re in different places at the same time, trying to have this wide reach, of course you’re going to be spread thin…versus a life that’s more contracted, that’s more connected, that’s more intricate, that’s more put together, you know…that’s more zeroed in in that area where you really wanna do that work. That kind of energy, where you’re in one place.
[31:08] So, eliminating, somehow, the busy feeling, right? Eliminating, somehow, the stress that comes along with that constantly busy feeling. And it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, right, you don’t have to be Yoga Girl with, you know, a bunch of employees in a bunch of countries, doing this specific stuff that’s I’m doing, which looks like this big thing from the outside…any kind of life that you have, if it’s, you know, I’m a stay-at-home mom, we spread ourselves thin as stay-at-home moms…hell yeah. Hell yeah. Trying to keep every base covered all the time. Trying to continuously do better all the time. Making sure that, you know…there’s a hundred categories that come along with that, and we’re trying to be perfect in every single one, and we’re trying to commit to all the things, were trying to say “yes” to all the things. And it’s that kind of energy, that energy of being really spread thin that I’m looking to…to turn around. Totally turn around. Just to see…it’s sort of like an experiment, you know. It’s sort of…it’s…this whole year, for me, I can sense now, is an experiment, because it’s totally different than any other…already now, and my plan for the year is totally different than any other year that I’ve had. But it’s sort of an experiment. And I’m getting the feeling that…that there’s a magic formula out there. Like, I know people who…do seemingly great things, right? Who are super successful in their business, but who don’t feel stressed out. They exist, those people exist, I promise you. People who are fulfilled with their lives, who continue to experience growth in different ways, but they’re not burning out. They’re not exhausted, they’re not overwhelmed, right? A hundred percent there are people who are totally aligned with what they are doing, and I’m looking at what’s different in the way that those people work compared to how I work. And its that inner drive of “do better. Do more. Do bigger things,” versus “here’s where I am right now, let’s do the task at hand, one thing at a time.” And then, not forgetting about how we prioritize what’s actually important in our lives.
[33:25] And now, of course…of course, of course, of course, you know…the fact that I can sit here now, and take a year off, where does that come from? Take a year off from groups, not a year off from all of my work, but where does that come from? Yeah, probably from having spent a decade working really, really, really hard. So I’m obviously, you know, well aware that that’s led me here too. What I’m trying to shift, at least in my own life, is how can I continue to dream the big dreams, right? Continue to wanna make a big impact, continue to do great things…but still live the smaller life. Right? Still live the more connected life, the slowed down life [laughs], the totally present life, the life where…where what I’m doing right now is good enough. I also wanna acknowledge that not everybody feels this way [laughs]. And that, I think is a…is a really obvious thing. Not everybody feels this way, not everybody has that drive to go, go, go, never stop, continue to work. But a lot of us do, and I think it’s really interesting to enquire into where does that come from? And once we’ve recognized that okay, I have this inner voice that continues to push me, continues to tell me I’m not good enough, that I have to do better, do bigger…once we’ve recognized that voice, it’s like, it becomes this interesting…interesting possibility for us, almost.
[34:54] I’m wondering, now, okay, I’ve spent my whole life creating from a place of maximum effort. That’s what I’ve done. From maximum effort, you know, going, going, going, and I’ve created great things, I’ve created amazing things. It’s also how I work, I…for instance, I’ve written two books, both of them I’ve written only because I had a really serious deadline [laughs] and a book contract, a book deal that I had to fulfill, you know. If I didn’t have that deadline, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to finish the book. I thrive with a bit of pressure, that’s how I work. Some people do really well at, you know, if they’re writing a book, they write a little bit every day, without stress, without panic — that’s just not me. But I’m wondering, is there a universe, or is there a version of me that can also create from a place that isn’t so intensely filled with pressure? That can create from a place of softness, that can create from a place of…[inhales]…of sitting down, you know, of taking a breath, maybe, that can create from a place of space. And I think there is. Absolutely think there is. There is, of course, you know, to get ahead, to…to meet our goals, we have to do the work. We have to do the work, we have to take action, obviously. But I think there is a balance to that, right? If we put rest on our To Do list every day, if that was something we knew, okay, we gotta incorporate that to continue to work at this pace for a long time, which ideally we would all want to do. I would have loved to not be burnt out. I would have loved to not be sick almost for a whole year, you know, for my body to feel better, all of these things. But now I’m kind of grateful that all of those things came my way, because it’s making me recognize my patterns and how I’ve worked for most of my life and what actually drives me and how not everybody is like that. I thought that “this is just what life is…” no, no everybody’s like that. I’m like that. And there’s a reason for that.
[36:57] So this whole life that I suddenly have going on…and of course yeah, it’s…we’re ten days into the new year, you know, fingers crossed I get to continue to cultivate this kind of space. And continue to bake, and play Scrabble, and…I started running again…I’m just feeling really good in my body, like, I’m in this very good place right now. Who knows where I’ll be in two weeks, you know, time will tell. But hopefully I’ll get to continue to cultivate that. And I’m feeling this…this potential there, because suddenly, now that I’m quiet, now that I’m still, now that I’m, you know….I’m finding myself several times a day pausing to look around going, “wait…what should I do now?” [laughs] That just makes me laugh out loud because that is so wild. It’s so insane that this is happening to me. Because I’ve never had this my entire life. Anyone listening, like raise your hand, does this ever happen to you? That you find yourself at some point in your day, with nothing to do. Oh, my God, I can just…it’s ridiculous, that whole thought of this is just ridiculous. With nothing to do. It’s happening to me several times a day, like maybe two or three times a day, where I pause, I look around, I’m like “oh wait, the kitchen’s clean, laundry’s done, baby’s asleep, I did my emails, I did the podcast…wait…um…oh maybe I’ll pick up a book?” [laughs] And I’ll just pick up a book…you know, it’s so ridiculous, it’s so insane, because all of my life, my list of things that I have to do, it's so long, it’s never finished. Ever. And I never have to even have to pause and think, I’ve never even had that space to just, pause and think about “wait, what should I do next?” Because there’s always the next thing. And then the next thing. And then the next thing. And then I gotta do the dah dah dah…. And now it’s just [inhales] it’s like, my…my life has opened up in a way that’s just fucking marvelous. And thanks to that, because of that space, because of this quiet that suddenly is here, I’m feeling inspired [laughs]. I’m feeling so inspired. I’m feeling beyond inspired. Inspired to create new things, you know, inspired to…to plan out my life in a different way, inspired to manifest ideas that I kind of had shelved, you know, long ago. I just…I just…so it’s almost like because I have the space, and quiet, and the peace, I’m inspired in a new way and motivated in a new way to also bring energy into the work that I’m dong. But it’s coming from a place that isn’t “man, how am I going to get all of this done,” or “man, work a little harder, do a little better,” you know, "go, go, go.” It’s coming from a place of just, like, “oh, wait…I can sit here and breathe a little bit” and then inspiration strikes. Like I had…I wanna share with you, but I think it’s too early to tell…but I had just, wonderful ideas over the New Year about things I want to create for this community, and pieces of content I really wanna work on, and things that are just exciting, like really, really, really exciting. And not that I’m putting on a list of “okay, I’ll get to that later,” but exciting in a way of “oh, okay, hmm, how should I do that?” Like, “how can I go about that in a way that doesn’t create a mountain of stuff for me to do. That doesn’t create pressure that I have to fulfill this, you know, without any deadline, just ah, this would be fun.” Right? And then from there, I can do it or I can choose not to, like that’s up to me. And I’m getting this inkling, kind of, that there are people out there that constantly manifest things in their life from that place of ease. And that’s my goal. That’s my goal. I just want…ease in my life. I want that kind of ease where it’s not…where it’s not make it or break it. That feeling that I had all of last year is “holy shit.” [laughs] “If I don’t complete all of these things the world’s going to end.” No. The world is not going to end.
[41:04] I just interviewed Gretchen Rubin on the podcast this week, that episode will be out next week. She’s wonderful, she wrote a book called “Happiness Project,” where she dedicated an entire year to being a little happier, or to seeing, like an experiment to see if she could maybe become a little bit happier. And we were talking about this, how we actually have to cultivate habits in our daily life that lead to happiness. Happiness is something that we continuously have to work on every day. And a huge piece of that is order. And a huge piece of order, of course, is peace of mind, right, that we know where everything is, we have things in it’s place, that we have the kind of space in our lives to do the things that bring about happiness. Which, for me, obviously, includes things like playing Scrabble with my husband [laughs]. It includes, strangely enough, cleaning the kitchen [laughs]. It includes undisturbed time to play with my daughter every day. Things that I have not had at the top of my To Do list. You know, I’ve had top of my To Do list these big sort of work-oriented, career goals and of course groups, and commitments that I’ve had, and tours and the big book, and all that stuff. And I’m realizing now that the little things, the things that look little on the outside, the things that make up the smaller life, right, like holding my daughter’s hand as we walk the dogs, and then doing that twice a day, no matter what. not like “Mom…Mommy can’t do it today, Daddy will go.” Like that…that’s our thing, you know, that we do together. Like taking a bath with her every single day, which I never have time to actually just relax and be in the bath, it’s like on the go somewhere. Those little things that haven’t been on the top of my To Do list, or my priority list, they should be there because those things create the space in my life that lead me to ease. That lead me to happiness. And that’s where I’ve sort of been wrong [laughs] in the past. I’ve been at…maybe not, not wrong, but I haven’t…I haven’t seen the importance of all of those things, right, the little pieces that make up happiness. And I don’t think there is such a thing as a truly happy life if we don’t feel ease, if we don’t feel calm. It’s really hard to pair genuine happiness with pressure, and stress.
[43:30] So I would love to…use this as a sort of conversation starter. Or at least for you to contemplate and think about this a little bit more for your own life: is it possible to live a smaller life, and dream a bigger dream? Is there such a way as continuing to set those big goals, to continue to grow in every area of your life, but to have that come from a place of ease? Where you’re still focussed on the things that truly matter and where you can be a hundred percent present with your family, with your friends, with your kids, with your dogs, with your garden, with your home, with all those things that really nourish us from our heart, from the centre of our body. That part. Living the small life and then still dreaming the bigger dream. Still feeling inspired to create, and still doing those things, but just having the energy it takes to create them come from a different place. What would that look like for you in your life? What would you change if you had the chance to change something? And the cool thing about this is that you do. You do have the chance to change something. So perhaps that goal you set for yourself around, you know, around New Year’s Eve, or that New Year’s intention, making sure that you have them broken down into pieces where they can actually manifest for you now. And if you don’t yet, now…like, now, today, is the time for you to start. Right now.
[44:58] I…the reason I can sit here and…and cry from joy [laughs]. Have I ever — you guys are my podcast listeners — have I ever cried, with joy, on this show? I cry a lot [laughs], I don’t think I’ve ever cried because I’ve been so happy, sitting in this chair recording. That just doesn’t happen for me. And it’s thanks to putting those wheels into motion long in advance that now, okay, I can enjoy the goal that I set of having space. I feel…I feel the space present in my life right now, I feel it. Really feel it, like the space, it’s …it’s here. It’s not this idea, intangible thing over there, maybe one day I’ll find it. But no, I feel the space. Right here. You know, I taste it in the morning in the bread that I bake myself. I see that space in my daughter’s eyes spending a whole hour playing with her in her play kitchen without having to rush to go anywhere. I feel it in the meetings I have, in the work that I’m doing, continuing to grow my business, because I’m totally there. Right? I'm not rushing to be anywhere else, or to knock everything off of my list, but I’m just there. It is…wonderful. It’s so wonderful.
[46:17] I, uh, love you for listening. I love you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being here, for working on your own stuff, hopefully inviting similar ways to bring about this kind of space in your own life so we can try to manifest…and it doesn’t mean that, you know, this is going to be true, it’s sort of an experiment, manifesting from a place of ease. What would that look like in your life? What would change? Let’s contemplate and go there, today.
[46:45] Thank you so much for tuning in with me today. The Yoga Girl podcast will be back next week.
[End of Episode]