How to Live a Life of Purpose Off the (Yoga) Mat

yogaOne of core philosophies of ‘The Practice’ yoga centre, which we have instigated from the day the architect put pen to paper, is this idea that we need to take the principles that we teach on the mat in the classes of the yoga studio, into everything we do.

Principles like:

  • Create a solid foundation
  • Look inwards to see what is really going on
  • Be Non attached to the posture (and not worrying how you look)
  • Be content with where you are at
  • You have to do the work
  • Discomfort is part of the growth process
  • Breathe into where is tight (to bring energy and awareness to what is really going on)

In business meetings with the executive team we call each other out if we are being inauthentic, or stepping back from an uncomfortable conversation, or not being conscious of the consequences of our actions. As a result we are bringing more harmony into something that has had, and will continue to have, numerous challenges along the way. Which I am sure, any of you business owners, can relate to. 😉

So today here are 3 of the lessons I taught at Sunday’s Open Day Presentation about living a life of purpose off the yoga mat. Because let’s face it. It is pretty easy to be all zenned up during and after a yoga class, especially at a venue like ours. But it is what you do ‘off the mat’ that is the real testament to your development as a yogi, and what yoga has taught for 1000’s of years.

 

Off the mat Tip 1: the ‘purpose’ thing

This is one of my core teachings. It is about what it even means to ‘live a life of purpose’. For most people this sounds like self-help mumbo jumbo and primes them up to exit quickly via the emergency door.

But here is what I think it might mean, as a result of my study, experience and work with others. And yes, you have likely heard me say this before. Didn’t someone say that ‘repetition is the mother of skill?’ 😉

I believe the purpose for each of us is…drum roll…dudes be strong…it is…

To fully express our authentic and unique (in 7 billion people) selves in a way that allows for the continued growth and expansion of ourselves, in a way that positively serves others, and positively impacts the greater good.

Here is the abbreviated version:

Be yourself, in a way that is good for you, others, and leaves the world in a better state.

It is best for you (and ultimately others) to own, embrace, love (sorry guys), accept, approve and be ok with being yourself. If you cannot be yourself. If you wear a mask for most of the day in your work, in your relationships, in your friendships, in business conversations, and in social engagements, you might be off course.

When you are on purpose, on course, it feels right.
Are you on purpose, in all the different areas of your life?

 

Off the mat Tip 2: I have some bad news about following the purpose thing

I was trying to decide if I give you the bad news like a freight train or whether I gently lead you to a valuable realisation in a more softly way. In the end I decided to take a page out of my grandfathers book, who was not borderline obnoxious, he was 100% certified tell you exactly what he meant with no sugar coating kind of guy. His nickname was even Bully Massy. Love you granddad, even if you scared the heck out of me and my cousins on numerous occassions. 😉

So here it is granddad style:

ALIGNING AND LIVING YOUR PURPOSE IS GOING TO BE FRIGGING HARD!!!!!

It is not going to be easy. It will at times be painful, frustrating, embarrassing, hard, challenging, nonsensical, confusing, tearful, and doubt inducing. To name just a few exciting experiences.

People think they may not be aligned with their purpose, or calling, or inner gift, or whatever you want to call it, because they mistakenly think “It can’t be this hard can it?” They think it is meant to be all about flow, and bliss and sunny skies and rainbows and fairy floss. Not exactly.

Now that you know what might be a part of this purpose following thing, know this also…

When you are doing what you are meant to be doing you will experience flow moments. You will lose yourself in the joy of what you are doing. You will positively impact people around you. You will be able to smile when there are hassles coming from all directions. You will laugh and cry at the same time. You will have synchronicity happen that is mind boggling. Things will miraculously work out at times when you were full of doubt. You will make the world a better place even if what you are doing is relatively small. You will feel good about yourself. And your heart will sing.

I feel all of those when I write. When I teach others. When I work with a coaching client.

So…

Following the purpose thing is not an easy ride, but it is right ride, and it is one of the best rides you will ever take.

 

Off the mat Tip 3: respect where you are at

This ties in with a Hindu, Buddhist and a yoga teaching which is likely to be reflected in all of the great religions and ancient teachings around the world.

It is the principle of non-attachment.

It is about being ok with where you are at. It is about doing your best and not being attached to whether you are as good as the next person. It is about not being attached to the stories you tell about yourself, or the beliefs that you bought into decades ago. It is not being attach to how you have always done things. It is about not being attached to how you ‘think’ someone ‘should’ respond in any given situation. It is about not being attached to your youthful body (I do all I can to maintain optimum health and vitality, but I know that this aging thing and death are inevitable eventualities). It is about not being attached to whether someone likes you or not (I can assure you I am not everyone’s cup of tea).

So what are you hanging onto too tight?
What are you too attached to, and need to let go?
What stories have you been attached to for years that are not serving you?

The other inevitability is that CHANGE is the essence of life. Mother nature and this universe knows no other way, but to change. There is no other way, but change. Everything is changing all the time. For some things it might be fast, and for others slow (like millions of years). But change is a constant.

So what do you need to change?
What about yourself are you attached to that might be holding you back from greatness?

For the rest of this week, make a conscious choice to be non-attached, or less attached to the things around you and you will get a perspective of how so much of our dis-harmony in life, is because we are fighting against a changing (harmonious) universe.

Note: Non-attachment is also very different from not giving a damn. It is not about giving up and not caring. It is about doing your best, always, but then surrendering to what the end result will be. Because unless you have control of the mouse for the how the universe works program; often the result will be different from what you expected. And many times even better.

 

In closing

How do you think you score or are scoring on the whole doing or living your purpose (or calling, or gift, or element, etc.)?

And know that the expression of your calling is very likely to change over time in the way that it is expressed. I know from my own experience I did not see myself 1-year ago being a part owner in a huge new yoga studio in Bali. However, this opportunity allows me to express more of me, and express more of my acquired skills, in a way that serves me, others and the great community.

Know that following your purpose is not a ticket to an easy life. Often the easy path is the opposite to the purposeful path (what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey). But the feeling of the right path is music to the ears, art to the eyes, and the equivalent of the best massage you have ever had. 😉

What do you need to let go of? Where in your life can you practice this ancient principle of non-attachment?
I know you can do it!

And thus endeth today’s lesson.

As always, please ask questions of me, or share your thoughts in a response email or by putting a post on Facebook.

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